Fashion Friday!

One of the big trends for Spring/Summer 2012 is the Peplum.

What’s a peplum I hear you cry! Well the dictionary describes it as: a short full flounce or an extension of a garment below the waist, covering the hips.

The peplum is great! It nips in the waist making you appear slimmer and then the extra material covers your hips, hiding a few sins.

Celine and Dior added peplums to sharp suits to give extra detail as well as some femininity to a sometimes masculine look.

It was Alexandra McQueen’s look that I love the most. The peplums were so pretty in lace creating a whimsical feel, again to classic bold shapes such as a pencil skirt.

Jason Wu’s peplum had a real vintage feel with a plain black top and white/black polka dot skirt with matching peplum.

As always, this trend is perfect for us vintage gals as there are loads of peplums out there waiting to adorn our waists. They were first seen in the 1800s and early examples were seen in a very early fashion book called Gody’s “Lady’s Book”. They sat perfectly over a hoop and emphasised their tiny corseted waists. They were not part of the jacket but added on as a fashion accessory!

They had a comeback in the late 40s as women realised they could get an instant hourglass figure from a simple frill! One of my favourite dresses in my collection dates from the 1950s. It was featured in a blog called “Welcome to my Wardrobe”

The peplum classically sits on a jacket. This one dates from the 1980s and would be perfect for work or teamed with jeans.

Or how about on a blouse? These again are 1980s peplums. The lurex thread one is so cute and would be great over a little black dress to add the key look.

Or maybe  this bright red one for this seasons bold colour blocking trend. The peplum sticks out less but still gives you the effect in a slightly more masculine way.

This 1960s/70s dress is a sexy version of the peplum as its so fitted.

 And finally, how about a maxi dress? This pastel aqua blue dress will look amazing on your with flipflops for a casual evening out or glam up with stilettos!


Fashion Friday: Spring trends the vintage way

The best thing about the new year is promise of better weather, spring flowers and more importantly NEW CLOTHES! Well, not exactly new of course…..NEW VINTAGE CLOTHES! There are some great new trends coming our way which suit the vintage wearer down to the ground. Over the next few weeks we will take you though them trend by trend. We will also throw in some great vintage alternatives too!

So let’s start with a classic summer trend that us vintage gals just love!

Florals were everywhere on the catwalk. From pretty pastels roses to bright garish sunflowers, you need to be covered in blooms this Spring/Summer.

Christopher Kane applied flower stickers underneath organza to give a hazy effect. Alexander Wang, Dries Van Noten and Velentino all went for bright blooms.

(photo from

The look was everywhere: printed on silk, beaded, appliqued and  within lace.

We can do this trend easy peasy at Your Vintage Life.  Here are some of our favourites all available now. (If you like the look of any just get in touch as much isn’t yet online!)

For anyone that just wants a touch of floral, why not try a vintage brooch? Go bold like the 1960s enamel one or pretty like the bone china one.

Or a handbag. This deep red one is a classic 50s shape with embossed detail on the leather.

Or a raffia one, perfect teamed up with a summer dress.

Choose a vintage floral shirt or blouse…teamed up with capri pants you will get that American vintage vibe (another key trend).

Go girly with our customised floaty, flirty skirts. This concertina pleated one is sooo pretty with its washed out floral feel.

Or just simply go for the full floral look with a vintage 60s maxi dress. This is bright and bold…reminds me of Hawaii but is in fact by Blanes in England.

I love this 1960s shift dress in pastel hues. It has a real Pan Am feel to it…wear with white gloves and open toe shoes.

With Mad Men about to return to our screens, maybe the floral tone should be 50s (think series one!) Here are some of our favourites.

And finally…if you dare, wear a 1950s flower hat. This is covered in white and pink feathers making blooms all over.

Who needs the high street when vintage can be so on trend? Check out more Bloom fashion here

90s: a fashion decade?

I commented recently that the 90s look is back. At the Clothes Show Live I noticed an abundance  of youngsters wearing the key looks from the decade. I commented on Facebook and Twitter and most of you shouted…..NO!!!! But some were actually questioning whether there were any major fashion moments at all.

Of course there were! So here goes…here is a round up of the 90s look (with a few photos of me thrown in for good measure).

So lets start with this one. It’s about 1992 and I’m sporting a bakerboy patchwork hat. Hats were big in the early 90s…I had loads. I’m also wearing a long chiffon blouse…another key look. What you can’t see is probably a pair of cut off shorts over footless tights and my trusty doc martin boots. The boy next to me sums up the early 90s look…bright colours, logo T’s and a woolly hat. This is Craigy B. Not known simply as Craig, but as Craigy B. This again is how people referred to each other in the 90s!

(I sold sooooo many cut off shorts this month.)

So the decade started with the biggest look of the whole 10 years: Grunge. Jodi Kidd meandered slowly down the catwalk looking gaunt and the term Heroin Chic evolved. Grunge was cool from then on in. However the catwalk was only responding to the music scene straight out of Seattle. The king was of course Kurt Cobain although he was simply following the likes of REM and Sonic Youth. Loose light denim, logo T’s, plaid shirts and sneakers……not trainers but sneakers.

The look became mainstream. Doc martins or dirty converse were worn by all.

His love, Courtney, brought us the bleached, tousled hair. It was normal to blow dry your hair upside down then. She also introduced underwear as outerwear: sheer, lacy pretty negligee dresses, always teamed with leather.

This look continued throughout the decade with Baby Spice making it mainstream in 96.

The indie music scene in the UK also impacted what we wore. We had the baggies from Madchester in 91….actually just think what my friend Craigy B is wearing and you will get the picture.

Then there was the Britpop look of the mid to late 90s. The foppish hair of Brett Anderson, the mod look of Daman Alburn, the 70s suit of Jarvis Cocker.

The union jack was owned by the Brit Pop boys, but it was Gerri who took it one step further.

The 70s hippy vibe was back with the rise of Ibiza clubbing. Long sheer maxi skirts over hotpants was a key look.

Jewellery was handmade, perfect for this 70s feel. We all wore crystals…I had a long crystal necklace tied on string which I wore for years. Check me out here in 1992…ear buns, liquid eyeliner, my Grandmas vintage dress….have you noticed the handmade wooden piece around my neck (as well as the nose ring). I would have been wearing Red or Dead shoes…….now this is what we all wanted. We trudged up to Neal Street to pay, a then, fortune on the wackiest shoes we could find. I remember platforms from them  in purple and black patent…very early 70s. I think they cost £80 and for a student this was alot of money but I didn’t care…

We also wore chunky knits from Nepal….a look we have all been selling well this winter. I had a bright blue one bought from Camden Market.

You had to have a flat stomach in the 90s because the crop top was HUGE. Britney wore heres with low slung trackies. All Saints wore theres with low slung combats and Timberland boots.

Natalie Imbruglia wasnt always so she is in her Torn video with combats and a hoody. I don’t believe we wore hoodies before the 90s.

We all had a Rachel hair cut. Flicking out with blonde highlights.

If we chose not to befriend her look then it was probably Louise from Sleepers hair we had.

My main memories of the 90s are of very, very short dresses usually worn with hotpants to protect my modesty (remember that Gerri picture) and of the skate look. High top trainers, Vision Street Wear hoodies and baggy pants. Oh and leggings, DMs, and undone shirts over T shirts.

Here I am in 1990…I look so young and happy (well it was 20 years ago).

And for some more memories…..some of the great tunes of this decade: Baby D, Grace, Courtney Love in Hole and Natalie Imbruglia

Home at last!

Well we have now been back from the Clothes Show for two days and still I havent blogged! To be honest I have spent the last 2 days pretty much sleeping! We met some great new people, customers and other stall holders and sold tonnes of vintage clothing!

So whats it like I hear you ask? Well, here are my observations of the whole event:

The crowd is young….very young! and also tiny! I sold all my size 8 vintage on the first day…never before have I heard people complaining that my stock is too large. But with this youth comes the mother, standing 2 steps behind with her wallet open. I didn’t factor in the mother so rushed home after day 1 to pull together my MUM rail.

My neighbours I think were expecting this rail to be full of boring clothes but as a mummy myself, I filled the rail with pretty dresses, coats and sparkly party outfits. The mums loved it and shopped for themselves as well as their daughters!

It’s so so busy! Thousands literally shopping the vintage area meant we didn’t stop the whole 6 days. Thank the lord for the free Haagen Dazs and mini diet cokes which kept us going throughout. Shattered is an under statement! We turned over loads of stock especially my Levi cut offs of which we have the stock level of ZERO now!

The music made my ears bleed! Now don’t get me wrong I love music particularly loud music, but we were beside a catwalk which had the same show every 2 hours. This meant we heard the same music over and over again…if I hear Maroon 5’s Moves like Jagger again I may head for the hills and join a silent monastery. However, being next to the show meant for loads more excited girls for us to meet so all was good!

Our neighbours were fab particularly Ease the Squeeze and Vintage Life Magazine. I urge you to check out the shirts from the former…..if you are a man or even know a man, they will make the perfect Christmas presents. In the quiet times they cheered me up, in the busy times they kept me sane, and in the tired times (of which there were loads) they kept me smiling!

Thanks guys!

  • Young girls LOVE Hollyoaks and TOWIE men..they literally ran after them all around the NEC. One other trader thought these fans were doing the conga, when in fact they were hysterically charging after some celeb. I did feel a tad old when I didn’t recognise any of these boys……
  • Apart from the kids and their mums there were loads of highly glamorous ladies. We all sold so many beaded and sequined pieces…the whole of Birmingham will be sparkling this New Year’s eve.

All in all it was a great event. It was a challenge fitting all the stock into a tiny space but thankfully we went home every night so could replenish every day.

I’m so glad to be home now though as I can start to think about Christmas. A few Mummy Christmas dresses to add on Monday to the eBay shop and then I’m hanging up my hat until the New Year. Time to make cards, crackers, truffles and buy some presents!

A century of fashion

I love my books. I have so many that some I havent even looked through for years. Last weekend I stumbled across an amazing book of Vogue covers dating back to 1909.

My grandma bought this book for my mum, probably over 25 years ago. It is called The Art of Vogue Covers by William Packer and has some of the best images of vintage fashion I have ever seen. I can’t quite believe this has been on my book shelves for this long without me discovering its beauty.

The 1920s and 30s were an amazing time for fashion especially for women. They cut their hair short, wore slinky clothes, shortened their hems, enjoyed a new found freedom of partying, dancing and drinking. It was a time of boom, and colour, and without a doubt, style.

Here are some of my favourite covers.

New year edition from 1927. A huge fur-lined floral coat with polka dot skull cap hat. Drawn by George Plank and is described as his simplest cover. Totally stunning.

Great autumnal look from 1928. She stands proud in her charcoal grey fur lined coat and blue clutch bag in front of the most amazing car. I love her hat, of course matching her coat.

Great art deco styling from 1929. The images are so strong with vibrant bright colours. Both images are by Benito, the right hand side is a swimming cap, the left is an autumnal hat clearly mirroring the look.

A summer look now from August 1926. Her hat is wide instead of the usual skull caps, with a band that matched her dress. She stares straight at us drinking her large pink drink.

Midsummer fashions from 1928. Her consertina pleated sleeves are totally on trend today and remind me of the blouse worn on our front page of our eBay shop and ASOS boutique. Her wide brim hat, gloves and long pearls complete the look.

When you think of 1920s fashion you think of the fringed dress. Here, in 1926 this lady rocks it, with piano shawl, high arm cuff and pearls. Probably on a cruise, the Vogue lettering is made up from the stars. Gorgeous.

2 party looks from 1925. The red striped on the left is very burlesque with her large feather fan. Her nude coloured dress is stunning with her large shadow behind giving her great presence.

From 1938 the cover has a tall lady wearing an unusual quilted dress with nipped in waist. Interestingly by the late 30s the hem lengths have dropped. With her large brimmed straw hat she stares out to sea. The cover on the left is for the coronation of George VI.

I’m sure you will agree they are magnificent. There are so many more…..

Credit of course goes to William Packer and Octupus book for writing and revealing these amazing covers. Credit should also go to the artists, some known, some not, who captured the beauty and style of the period so well.

Spotlight on Blouses

Todays spotlight is on the blouse. A wardrobe classic, it is the perfect garment to wear with this winters 1940s look. Elegant and simple it looks perfect with a pencil skirt, wide leg trousers and even with your jeans.

And you don’t have to actually find a 1940s version..there are loads of great vintage blouses out there from all eras to help you create the look.

One of the 1940s looks was utility: crisp white blouses were worn with trousers or skirts creating a functional look. They were quite masculine in style often with breast pockets and uncovered buttons.

For a more feminine look, women wore light weight blouses with rounded Peter Pan collars. Buttons were often concealed with fine belts added to highlight their curves. Some styles were collarless with a small bow at the neckline.

They were worn at work, in the fields, baking, going out….the blouse was an everyday item long before the introduction of the basic T.

Pretty patterns were seen but nothing too bright. Polka dots and small flowers were on blouses as well as dresses.

These images come from 1940s Woman’s Own magazines.

We have some lovely ones in stock in our eBay shop at the moment and a lot more coming this week. Whether it has a pussy bow neckline, gentle padding at the shoulders, is belted, has ballooned sleeves or patterned…one thing is for sure this autumn. We all should be wearing a blouse.

Patterns in Vogue

We recently bought an amazing pattern book which was produced by Vogue. You do see vintage patterns for sale quite a lot…..but this one is from October-November 1937. The magazine is full of beautiful pictures of stylish ladies to inspire you  to also look the same. You then went to a stockist and bought the relivent paper pattern, took it home, made your own dress and hey presto….you are now also a stylish lady!

The stockists also would provide you with a free fashion folder for you to store your precious patterns in.

The book opens with this season’s “Vital Statistics”, introducing you to the key looks for the winter ahead. This is really no different from a fashion mag today! It starts with the words:

“Talk swirls about the Paris Collections, and one is caught in an eddy of furs and sequins and lame and a return of the opulence and elegance of the pre war period. But through the sound and smoke some things rise above others to appear as the practical, applicable and vital statistics of the 1937-38 fashion story.  Let your head stay in the clouds with the fabulous charm of the story-these few fundamentals will help keep your feet very much on the ground”

It lists the following as the style to have:

  • Sleeves are “different, smoother, softer. Your shoulders are, for the most part, very much your own”.


  • Silhouettes are slender and elegant, thinning down the figure in 4 different ways
  • The waist “assumes great importance. You definatately have one, and it’s very small”!
  • Hemlines on a day dress are quite short…”13 or 14″ from the floor”! An afternoon dress is 12″ from the floor. Evening dresses are still ankle length.

So in summary: tiny waists, long skirts, soft shoulders…very sophisticated and feminine.

The first feature is called “Your coat” which according to Vogue is winter’s “major clothes problem”!

We are shown stunning shapes with fur collars, belted waists and checks….worn with gloves and matching clutch bag. This reminds me of this winter’s ladylike look:  sophisticated and demure.

Next are “Autumn Indispensables”, including a casual and afternoon ensemble as well as a 3 piece for all day. “Daytime frocks borrow Autumn Landscape colours”….greens and rusty reds in tailored shapes. I love the fitted skinny belts, pill box hats, light pleats and I am so going to rock the the double skinny belt look.

There are 7 pages on Vogue Couturiers: evening looks also in autumnal colours.

Floor length gowns, diamand rouching between the bust and wide sash belts are the key looks.

I love these gowns, we so dont wear floor length dresses anymore..they need a comeback!

There are 2 pages for the “not so slender” with 3/4 length sleeves, collarless necklines, shirts with soft tie sides that rouch over the tummy.

 Also pages called “Make the most of an imperfect figure”….how to add curves for the slim (“vertical lines directly above and below the midriff and a wide draped girdle to introduce curves”), how to slim your shoulders (wear pointed top raglan sleeves to minimise them), how to slim down a “plethora of a bosom”!!! (“a  smooth line of surplice front offers the cure”). The best line has to be: “Do you need bosom emphasis and nice coverage of a bony chest?” (a deep, narrrow neckline and bodice shirring will do it”)

I love the 2 pages full of “classics for girls and for little girls”. 

Having my own little girl and loving vintage fashion these are the pages for me! Princess frocks, girls with hoops, bloomers included, frilled necks in pastel colours are worn by innocent, pretty little girls.

In 1937, money (or lack of it) was important, just as it is today. “But I cant spend too much” is 2 pages of ideas to cut back. Wear an odd jacket with another skirt (ie. mix and match), a blouse that can be worn in the day through to the evening….remember these ladies wore 3 outfits a day!!

I love the “problem page” idea of patterns that will solve your problems. “I want a maternity dress that is smart as well as practical”,

“I want a business dress that hasnt the occupational look” and the best “My neck is frankly quite long, my figure minus curves”.

This has given us hours of pleasure and we hope you now have some ideas for what to wear this autumn/winter (especially if you have a bony chest, long neck or a plethora of a bosom!)