My favourite vintage era

Today sees the launch of a new series of blogs from some of my fellow friends and colleagues within the vintage business. The topic of conversation is  “My favourite vintage era“.

Today we have Louise from Catwalk Creative Vintage sharing with us why she loves the late 60s/early 70s.

Hi Louise, Can you let our readers know a little more about you and what you do?

My name is Louise Sleigh and I’m the owner of Catwalk Creative Vintage, an exclusively online business based in South Manchester. My range includes predominantly ladies vintage and designer clothing, accessories, costume jewellery and a small range of retro homewares. I began selling online in 2003 and then went on to develop my own website in 2006.

Louise styling a photo shoot

I personally source all the merchandise, clean and refurbish it, photograph it then write about it. I’m editor of the vintage fashion blog, Catwalk Threads, and am an active member of the Vintage Fashion Guild and The Best In Vintage. You’d be right in thinking that “vintage” is my full-time career!

So, you are clearly very experienced in the world of vintage. Which is your favourite era and why?

As my business entails dealing with vintage clothing, it’s quite difficult choosing one era since every decade has something unique to offer. My personal collection includes everything from a late 1930s day dress to a Nicole Farhi dress from the 1980s.

Louise in the 1980s: she says she thought she would always have a flat top hairstyle….just showing how things change through the decades

However, I’d say that the mid 1960s to mid 1970s was a fascinating time for fashion, especially in Britain. New easy-care fabrics were being developed in bright and bold colours, which provided crease-resistant, permanently pleated material, with little or no ironing required and in perfect time for the sexual revolution! Women were rejecting the corseted waist and opting for a fresh, young outlook.

Is there a certain fashion piece or style that you have and love?

There was such a wide range of styles available during this time. Everything from the mini dress to luxurious flowing maxi gowns and streamlined, well cut trouser suits. I think this fashion era, especially the 1970s, is often overlooked. However, I love the versatility of styles around at this time. I have several pieces in my collection from this period including a classic black crepe dress by Jean Lanvin  c. 1965. I love the sheer simplicity of the design, with interest in the form of the crystal buttons at the front. It’s a real collectors piece which I can pass onto my daughter once she’s old enough to appreciate it.

Truly stunning and I so want!

Then  moving onto something completely different; a blue midi-dress with faux cape dating c. 1973. The lines of this dress are so flattering and I love the fabric patterned with large exotic flowers. It’s a really fun piece to wear. I’ve actually worn this to a night club and received lots of compliments. It makes a refreshing change from all the boring sleeveless cocktail dresses that I see everywhere. Dare to be different!

Dare to be different!

And what about homewares? Do you like interiors from this period too?

Like fashion, home interiors were changing radically at this time. I love British studio pottery or basically anything with a fun bold design. My favourite piece is my Aztec coffee set, given to me by my mum a few years ago. It’s by J&G Meakin Studios and was designed c. 1965/66. I’ve added some dinner plates to the collection but only have 3 so far. If anyone knows where I can get my hands on more, I’m all ears! Once I have all the plates, including side plates, I’ll definitely be using them. I love to entertain friends and family and these will look wonderful on the dining table. However, for now they are stored carefully in my kitchen display unit.

How would you describe the role of women from this era?

There were significant cultural and social changes during the 1960s/70s. Women’s roles changed forever with the availability of the contraceptive pill and life was never going to be the same again. Moral codes that had prevailed in previous decades began to break down and there were many changes in our legal system concerning everything from divorce to the legislations of abortions. Measures were also taken during this time to improve the position of women, so I think it must have been an incredible time to be around as a young person.

However, these radical changes in society must have been quite confusing too. Women certainly had more choice and freedom but then had to learn to balance family life with a career- has this much changed I wonder? I guess if you could find a man in the sixties, who was willing to do his share of household chores, then you’d be laughing. It probably took men quite a bit longer to catch up to this new way of thinking! Some are still catching up!

And finally, is there something we could learn today from those in the late 60s/early 70s?

Society went through a lot of change, but despite this, I think generally there was still much more respect to be found. By that I mean respect for the police, for teachers and the elderly- to name but three. It’s a difficult one to answer really but if there was one value I would bring back, it would be probably be that one.

Thanks Louise, it’s great to hear about this time as so often us vintage folk focus on the 1950s. For me, what I love about the late 60s was the great optimism for the future. Yes, we had more freedom with new jobs, better education and healthcare but we also had space travel….people probably felt they could achieve absolutely anything! Biba brought us fast fashion at affordable prices for the first time,  meaning that young women could experiment with the new fabrics and colours you spoke of. Habitat was showing us that we could experiment with our homes too. And with the package holidays booming, young people could escape their parents and Britain for the first time. It must have been so fun to be a teenager back then!

Check out Catwalk Creative Vintage’s website, blog and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

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Beat the Monday Blues

Beat the Monday blues by checking out something or someone we love. Here at Your Vintage Life, we feel it is important to share great finds with you all as well as support local business.

So this Monday I introduce someone local, here in Bedford.

Sarah Dunn is our locally sourced vintage hair stylist. She runs the company Sarah’s Doo-Wop Dos where she styles hair for the vintage crowd in the town’s vintage shop, Rose-tinted Vintage. This isn’t all though; she also styles hair for photo shoots…think pin up photography, 50s styling, sassy and of course vintage.

I have lived in Bedford on and off for my whole life and can genuinely say that the vintage scene has never been so strong. Yes we all wore vintage dresses back in the 80s and 90s……..but we never did our hair in a vintage style. I don’t get to go out often these days (kids huh?) but I have noticed a real move to the beauty and glamour of vintage styling. The hairstyle  is really the finishing touch and Sarah genuinely lives and breathes it.

I caught up with Sarah this week to discuss what she does, how she got into it as well as why she loves it!

You seem to be so busy, can you describe what you actually do?

I’m a vintage hair stylist amongst other things, so I spend a lot of my time on shoots. I’ve been collaborating with photographer Jez Brown for well over a year now and we specialise in pin-up and vintage style shoots. I often have a pop up vintage hair parlour at vintage fairs and events and I also run a mini hair parlour at a local vintage shop in Bedford, Rose-tinted Vintage. You can always pop in and get me to style you up for an event or party.

At Rose Tinted Vintage

So how did you get into hair styling the vintage way?

I’ve always been into vintage clothing. I used to go to Camden as a teenager on the hunt for bright 1960s dresses and did art and fashion at College and University. I guess my love of vintage hair really took over about 10 years ago when I was living in Brighton. We used to go to 1940s & 50s themed nights and when I moved back to Bedford, I found it too had a whole host of vintage loving people and events too! Then I met Emily, event organiser for Bedford Burlesque at one of her events and she introduced me to Jez (Jez Brown Photography), Kat (owner of Rose-tinted Vintage) and Lizzie (Lil Mischief corsets and accessories) and things went from there really…

Jez Brown Photography, pin-up zombies shoot

What does vintage mean to you?

I love vintage clothing & hair, I’m especially fond of the 1940s & 50s looks as they seem to suit me best and are so very elegant but recently I’ve been experimenting with other eras such as the 1930s & 1960s too.

Jez Brown Photography, Gemma Renata pin-up shoot

Whats an average day for you?

Good question as everyday is so different! If I’m in the shop for the day there’s a bit of a routine,so once I’ve had a cuppa (very important) I get set up and then I’ll be seeing customers all day. On a typical day it might be a few 1940s style victory rolls or Veronica Lake style waves, then a glam beehive and maybe a Marilyn Monroe style makeover. However, if I’m on a shoot with Jez Brown Photography I can be in the studio or out on location. I usually have to do a fair bit of planning for the look beforehand but shoots are always great fun, we’ve used a 1940s airfield before and a classic car garage so it just depends on what look we’re after that day.

Jez Brown Photography, Betty Havok shoot

Can you describe your look?

Monday to Sunday I can go from a demure 1940s tailored suit and victory rolls, to 1950s style rolled up jeans and a headscarf through to a bright 1960s dresses and a beehive, it completely depends on what mood I’m in that day!

What’s the best thing about what you do?

I’m very lucky to get to do what I do and to have such lovely customers, so the best thing is really all the lovely feedback and thank you messages. I love it when people get transformed and are really thrilled with it, I have a lot of fun doing what I do.

Jez Brown Photography, Abyss pin-up shoot

What do you want to be doing in 3 years time?

I’d love to still be doing this really

Whats the best thing about living in Bedford?

There’s loads going on here, there always seems to be fairs and events happening. The people are really friendly which has really helped when looking to collaborate on projects. Plus you can nip round for a cuppa so easily and after living in much bigger places I appreciate this really helps when planning things!

How can we contact you?

Email: curiosityshop4@hotmail.co.uk

Sarah’s Doo-Wop Dos mobile: 07532444394 or just pop in and see me as at Rose-tinted Vintage in Bedford on Fridays 2pm – 5pm & Saturdays 10am – 5pm.

Finally,describe yourself in 3 words

Artistic, friendly and well-dressed

Sarah has offered to do my hair which I will definitely take her up on. I need to wait for a big night out…then I will share it with you all! Oh, and don’t worry, I won’t paint my body green!!

Find Sarah on Facebook and on her blog.

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 Vogue.com)

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

Read all about us!

We at Your Vintage Life are very proud to have been interviewed by Louise Sleigh on her fantastic blog: Catwalk Threads. Why not have a read and find out a little more about us! Now, I do like to talk so make sure you get a cup of tea/glass of wine as it may take some time to read it all!!