Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Joy of Vintage Clothes

This post has been inspired by Phyllis, aka Mendofleur whose wonderful blog posts explore so many fascinating areas; most recently, the merits and beauty of vintage clothes over modern. She was curious to hear what sort of vintage clothes I was drawn to. Funnily enough, although my business is buying and selling antique textiles, I don't deal in clothes, but I do buy them to wear when I see interesting pieces.

I have worn vintage all my life, and love the unique pieces that mix & match so well with each other, and more modern items.
I have always loved masculine tailoring, plain and dapper, but like to mix them with long, floaty skirts, or over-sized, tatty Levis. Another love is military jackets, I usually have a few tucked away, they always add instant smartness to my other-wise casual (some would say scruffy) look!

Here are some of my current favourites, and a couple of old photos of me in from the mid 1980s, firstly in an oversized man's tweed overcoat with 70s spanish boots - I always wear this style - and secondly, in a rather splendid Victorian officers Mess jacket, this was lent to me for a party, and began my love affair with such pieces.

The patchwork silk & lace skirt was one of my first independant buys after leaving home for the second time in 1981, I still wear it sometimes teamed with a long linen shirt. I love Levis, the pair here is about 10 years old, and while not strictly vintage, are perfect to team with vintage shirts, jackets & waistcoats. I am not very good at being really dressy, so I tend to dress down evening gowns with waistcoats and jackets, this one here is an ice-blue satin bias-cut night-gown from the 1930s, very glam.
The grey military frockcoat is a reproduction of an American Confererate General's frockcoat made in the 1950s and bought from France, I love this, it is so well made, it looks great with jeans & boots.

I think the main advantage of choosing vintage is the uniqueness of each piece, rather than following the trends where everyone tends to look alike. Lastly, here are 2 photos of Patti Smith, singer, songwriter, poetess, artist, whose unique sense of nonchalent style has always inspired me.


  1. Wearing vintage makes even a pair of tattered jeans more interesting! You've got a great style...I thought the first photo was from a fashion magazine, and I love the patchwork skirt! You could design your own fashion collection, using your fabulous collection of antique textiles:)
    Have a nice weekend!
    Stella xxx

  2. Fab post Lois! You knew that I would be drawn to it! Very jealous of several items there... Lizzie x

  3. Thanks Stella! Have a great weekend! xx

  4. Hi Lizzie, I hope you are well, will you be at Ardingly next time? I missed you at the January one, it was quite empty, apart form the snow... x

  5. Oh,my dear Lois! You have touched my heart and inspired my dreams and longings!! What a beautiful and magical post.

    I thought the same thing that Stella did, that the first photo was surely from a fashion magazine. I love the second one too!! You have immense style. It takes this sense to pull these things off and I am so very impressed. I think I need to take the next plane out so you can give me some lessons on how to really wear vintage with imagination and incredible panache. Now I am really rethinking this whole concept for myself. I am far too staid. I want the "Lois Look". That skirt is fabulous! I also love the way you pair the masculine with a touch of the feminine like the dark blue striped jacket with the white blouse and eyelet collar. Perfect combination. The jackets/coats are amazing and for you to wear them is very impressive. Oh please show us more!! Thank you so very much for sharing these wonderful pieces with us and those great photos of you. I also agree with Stella that you could create your own fashion collection with your gorgeous antique textiles. I am going to send you a photo of a wonderful jacket that I cut out of a French magazine awhile back. Great post. Such fun to read this. Thank you, Lois.

  6. Thanks Phyllis! I think I have always had great fun with clothes, a combination of being very poor (only being able to buy from thrift shops & jumble sales) and and living in the mid 70s and early 80s in the UK, we were influenced by the subversive, eclectic styles of Punk Rock, Vivian Westwood, Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger, Stevie Nicks, Robert Plant of Led Zepplin, and so much more.
    You have such a great figure & prescence, you could wear anything you wanted and look fantstically stylish, I am sure! I do think that for women over 40, the combination of clean, tailored lines; pinstripes, plains & checks combined with Victorian or other lacy blouses and skirts is always a winner, practical, but pretty too! I shall look forward to sorting out some more pieces to post about soon. All best wishes, Lois x

  7. Lovely post,lovely clothes, lovely photos especially of you. Am having a moment of being sick with jealously that you look so stylish in vintage clothes while I struggle to find anything, apart from fur coats that fit! Although back in the day...

  8. You are so sweet, thank you, but please bear in mind both pics were taken about 25 years ago... Gravity and hard living have taken their toll! Thats why I go for the tailored look, it still cunningly gives the impression of a figure, and clean, casual lines help avoid that 'mutton' look, if you know what I mean!!
    I saw on your post about bras (incidentally I tried to comment, but it didn't work, will try again later)that you have a stand at Frock Me in Chelsea. Do you come to the fair at Brighton as well? I share a stall there a few times a year and will be there Feb 28th, if so, we should meet up! x

  9. I just had to come back over and peek again at your clothes. I cannot stop thinking about the photos you shared, and I can hardly wait to see more. Thank you so much for doing this post, Lois. I love your incredible style.