Sunday, September 4, 2011

5 Ways to Add a Vintage Touch to Modern Basics

I'm about to start stage managing again in 2 weeks and I got thinking about how busy I get and how this effects my wardrobe choices.
As I've said before, stage managing is a varied job and is not partial to fluffy frocks, so I often end up going to work in some version of jeans and a tee shirt. Never fear readers! This doesn't stop me from adding a vintage touch to my get-up.

Sooo...I thought I would show you all 5 easy ways to add a vintage touch to modern basics. These are great ideas for someone who is new to vintage and might want to experiment with some accessories to give their style a vintage feel, or for someone who might not be ready to prance around with victory rolls and a circle skirt. Slow and steady girls!

Here's what we're starting with: a white cotton, scooped neck tee shirt (mine is from Joe Fresh, $5) and black skinny jeans (Forever 21, $12.50).

Keep in mind these basics could easily be switched out for other pieces suitable for other workplaces not as casual as mine, such as black trousers and a crisp, white blouse. Or how about switch out the trousers for a pencil skirt? A-line or full skirt? The choices are limitless...

But I digress...

Look #1:

Large Vintage Square Floral Scarf: Free, I've had it for ages. I think it was my Grandmothers. 
Vintage Raspberry Red Wicker Purse: Thrifted, $4. 
80's Yellow Plastic Bangle: Thrifted, $2. 
70's Leather Coral Shoes: Thrifted, $7. 

Total Outfit Cost (including tee and jeans):  $30.50
This outfit is a great example of how you can use vintage to interpret a modern look. I've never worn this scarf in this way myself, but I really like how it looks in the picture. I may be looking for more large scarves to wear like this going forward!

Look #2:

60's Emerald Boiled Wool Blazer: Ragpickers, bought as a suit set, $20
40's Mult-Coloured Floral Embroidered Clutch: Thrifted, $7
Vintage Grosgrain Ribbon Belt: Free, was given to me by The Boy's Aunt Mary
50's/60's Glass "Pearl" Necklace: Thrifted, $6
40's Black Suede Peep Toe Shoes: Vintage Glory, $80

Total Outfit Cost (including tee and jeans): $130.50

Unlike the last, this outfit has a definite vintage vibe to it. It's very lady-like. Very much my style. As you can see, it also cost me a little more. The shoes and the suit were investment pieces. I've bought many vintage suits in the past and rarely wear them as a set. In fact, I have never worn the skirt that matches this blazer because it is miles too small for me, but the jacket fits just right! Sometimes you just have to drop a little cash for what makes your heart sing!

The blazer in this outfit could easily be swapped out for a vintage cardigan or leather motorcycle jacket (how cute would that be with the pearls and the girly shoes?) The key here is the vintage topper added to the modern basics. Again, the possibilities are endless...

Look #3:

Vintage Fur Collar: Thrifted, $2
30's/40's Beaded Clutch: Free, gift from my Mom's friend who was emptying her closet.
Vintage Faux Rhinestone and Ribbon Belt: Free, gift from The Boy's Aunt Mary
Black Ribbon Mary Janes: Winners, $40.

Total Outfit Cost (including tee and jeans): $59.50

Another lady-like outfit.I love pairing decadent pieces such as this fur collar with the mundane, like a cotton tee shirt. 
As you can see, there is value in purchasing new items which have a vintage vibe to them, like these shoes. They reminded me of dancing shoes from the 20's/30's and I had to have them. 

Look #4:

Assorted Vintage Floral Brooches: Thrifted, total cost $18
30's/40's Metal Butterfly Pin: Ragpickers, $7
Mexican Silver Bracelets: Gift from The Boy's Mom
Green Skinny Belt: Joe Fresh: $8
80's Leather Magdesians Wedges: $5
50's Green Leather Clutch with Sliding Handle: Ragpickers, $20

Total Outfit Cost (including tee and jeans): $75.5

This outfit shows the power of accessories. It may not embody a particular era, but using vintage accessories  will ensure that there will be no one else with your outfit. 

Like the last outfit, this one can be interpreted in a number of ways. Sparkly brooches your thing? Load them up on the tee instead! Bakelite bracelets? Pile as many on your arm as possible for maximum impact. Keep everything else simple so you highlight your vintage collection. 

Look #5:

60's Soft Faux Croc and Velvet Hat: Ragpickers, $5
Leopard Print Scarf: Ricki's Sample Sale, $1
Vintage Grosgrain Ribbon Belt: Free, used again for this outfit. 
60's Brown Plastic Purse: Thrifted, $4
Black Knee High Boots: Le Chateau, $80

Total Outfit Cost (including tee and jeans): 107.5

This outfit shows us the power of a great vintage hat. I rarely wear my vintage hats with clothes from the same era. I feel like it can look a bit like a costume. I much prefer to wear them with modern clothes or clothes from a different era (ex. 60's hat worn with 40's dress). 

There is nothing like a vintage hat to put the wow into an outfit. 

So as you can see it doesn't take much to add a little vintage flavour to an outfit. This is how I started to wear vintage, a little bit at a time. And I still love to wear it like this.
I've also included prices in this post to show you how inexpensive wearing vintage can be! You don't have to rock vintage Chanel to get it right. Well made choices at your local thrift or vintage store can put you on the right track.
Just buy what you love and don't look back! When you get that first compliment from a stranger and they ask you where you got that purse/necklace/hat just smile wide, say "thank you!" and "It's vintage!"



  1. the turquoise blazer is beautiful. The color is fantastic.

  2. Hey that's brilliant!!!!! I'll have to try some of these!!! (I just popped over from Penny Dreadful! I liked the look of this post title!)

  3. Love your remixes! Its a great way to extend your vintage looks without putting too much wear and tear on those fragile dresses and blouses! That's been my biggest issue lately -- trying to wear my vintage dresses all the time only to discover that they are getting too delicate to handle the abuse. But mixing vintage accessories with modern basics is a great solution! Thanks so much!

  4. Just discovered your lovely blog! I've just tuned in to vintage - at a ripe old age as well. I've bought myself a modern short sleeved sweater and round necked long sleeved cardigan to give a fifties look. Just finished sewing onto the cardigan two appliques to give a beaded look.

    Off out later, will wear this with a tweed pencil skirt and red polka dot scarf and red lippy!


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