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How to wear vintage outfits from the ?60s and ?70s?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Chatter - Anything and everything' started by blue-eyedcalico, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. How to wear vintage outfits from the ‘60s and ‘70s?

    I have next to me at my computer a book I checked out from the library. It is called “Tomorrow’s Heirlooms – Fashions of the 60s & 70s”. It was written by Trina Robbins and published in 1997. In her introduction to the book she answers the question: “How to wear vintage outfits from the ‘60s and ‘70s?”

    She comments that “slim young women in their 20s can get away with almost anything.” At her local supermarket she saw “a young woman who was wearing an entire ‘60s outfit: mini dress, vintage tote bag, lace tights and white vinyl go-go boots, and she looked great”. She continues, “if you’re 40 or over, though, watch out – you don’t want to look like a bag lady who is still wearing her original 30 year old wardrobe!”. Then she goes on to recommend wearing “one fabulous vintage item mixed with contemporary accessories”. She concludes by stating that “your final decision when buying a garment from the ‘60s and ‘70s, or from any other period, should be based on how much you love it., Then, wear and enjoy!”

    Well, I’m in the over 40 category, but I think I could get away with wearing a complete 60’s era outfit without looking too much like I was wearing a costume, provided the style was flattering to me. Even though I have silver tinted hair, carrying around a baby makes me look younger than I really am. And I am on the slim side. But the thought of putting together a complete period ensemble is daunting to say the least. I feel completely overwhelmed thinking about it. I prefer to wear a vintage sweater or blouse with jeans and last year’s ballet style flats from Naturalizer. So I guess no one will mistake me for a bag lady…

    Anybody else have thoughts regarding this?
  2. Yes, over 40 here as well! As much as I love the clothes from the 60s and 70s and completely enjoy selling them... I definately would be mistaken for the crazy bag lady!! lol Besides, when I wear vintage I go for the 40s & 50s stuff. Maybe because they were from before my time!!

    But, I absolutely adore the 60s/70s stuff! It makes me feel young again to have it in my inventory. I love looking at it and remembering when...

    Thanks for sharing!!

  3. ourbabyroo

    ourbabyroo Registered Guest

    Well, I am in the almost 40 category (37!) and love stuff from the 60's and 70's!

    I tend to mix and match....a funky 60's top with my jeans...a wool 70's skirt with a modern sweater. The jewelry from these eras are great for accessorizing a modern wardrobe!
  4. Carol, I remember seeing a picture of you in a shift dress, and it looked very flattering on you. you have the build for it, and can pull it off like a charm. You could wear just about anything from that era with those silhouettes in public without looking like an anachronism as long as you paid attention to color. (and also, you are mentioning styles ballet flats, etc, that have become classic and to wear head to toe vintage all you would need to do is get a vintage pair, and maybe a vintage skirt and that's it. Or you already have the look if not everything is head to toe, so close enough.)

    I think the key is, (when picking an item or a whole head to toe look)as long as one stays true to their natural attributes and beauty, they can prevent themselves from looking like a bag lady. The bag name usually comes from people who still are actually wearing the clothes they wore 30 years ago versus going for the look they wore 30 years ago despite the fact that they have changed. The desires in your life change, and of course, your rear end changes LOL. Just like you say Carol, although you are still slender, you have some silver in your hair and you are chasing a baby around. You can still wear the cuts you wore, but the colors that looked best on you would change because of the silver in your hair. colors that might have worked at 18 might look harsh on you now, or unnatural. And if you wore vinyl stilettos you would break your leg picking up the baby toys. Some of the people that are accused of the bag lady thing are just not wearing something that suits them.

    The biggest thing I would say about the mod girl versus the 40 year old....if that 40 year old had the legs of a chorus girl, and wore an aprorpriate hairdo why not wear a mini skirt and carry a vinyl purse? Not saying she needs a 60s hairdo, but a smart bob, or
    something modern or just a very structered 'do if she were going head to toe.

    When we talk about "head to toe vintage" i think a lot of people are more talking about people who look like they just stepped out of the March 1949 issue of Vogue, or pick your year, walking down the street in hat, gloves, etc, and really look like they are in costume,
    when in fact, there are a lot of people who wear head to toe vintage and you would not even realize it because they just look "good". Even if they do have the shoes, the purse, the gloves, etc...Because whatever they are wearing sure does suit them. I have worn plenty of 40s suits/jackets to offices where everything is period except my hair and underthings and no one says "You are wearing vintage" they just say "nice suit" because it suits me.
  5. and i will admit i am a particular hoarder over 60s handbags.

    But maybe the point of the author was that the decades that are not quite considered antique or vintage from one's perspective go through a period of being "dated" or "out of style" before they come back in again. Just like where we live, there are people who have not stopped wearing clothes from the past two decades. i know during a move back in 97, a lot of the stuff i had that was from the 80s i could not wait to get rid of, and there are a few items that i am now kicking myself about.

    in the perspective if 1997...and the book was probably worked on a few years before searching to get published...so lets say 94/1995....79/1980 would only have been 15 years ago. so the 70s really would not have at all been considered vintage. of course "marketing" seems to decide what is back in again...but 7-10 years ago makes a big difference.
  6. elsewhere

    elsewhere Guest

    I actually quite enjoy the people I see that are dressed head to toe in vintage attire. I saw a lovely gal yesterday dressed in her 50's finery, complete with hairdo. Awhile back at the vintage fashion show I saw a incredibly cute gal wearing the most darling pink suit from the early 60's-- with appropriate shoes, hat, gloves & purse.
    One of my best friends has an entire 40's wardrobe... from her outerwear coats & stoles to her silky unmentionables. She wouldn't dream of leaving the house without garters & hose. Coincidentally, her whole house is 40's in decor.
    No.. it's not for everyone.. and I admit that most people misunderstand these brave souls and think it's too costumy... but I find an attractive charm in it. To me it says "I don't care what you think. I'm going to do as I like".
    I wish I had that gumption! Of course... I only rarely fit into vintage clothing myself.. and when I do, it's 60's & 70's, which isn't my preference.

    If I could fit into 40's & 50's clothes... I might BE one of those people ;-)

  7. Oh yeah, I think that looks great when people do head to toe...but when people are doing it and the cut/style/decade look doesn't really suit them physically/personality wise and looks forced it looks like they are wearing old clothes versus looking very confident, pulled together and wearing vintage. I think everyone should enjoy vintage, but i think that is the image that gives that author a bag lady impression...not being aware of your body, etc, and looking quite like a sore thumb.

    I know obviously every body type existed every decade so how can i say some decades don't work for all people (lets put the fact that items didn't survive because of wear and tear for a minute)....but i recall when i was young teen and then a teen in the 80s trying to find a pair of pants, the lady in the juniors department sent me into the misses department because i was too curvy, misses sent me to petites because i was too short , and the lady in the petites department wanted to send me back to childrens and be done with me as the looks/cuts were too mature and i was still too short and still too small waisted. I ended up wearing elastic waisted shorts and stretch stirrup pants for years along with my cousin's hand me down jackets from the 70s because i was absolutely off or under the sizing charts.

    I really truly could not find clothes new that fit well enough to get excited about until the 90s got into swing.

    Now in retrospect, there are a small, very small number of things from the 80s i could probably now wear but only because my body has changed a tiny bit from when i was 16.
  8. fuzzylizzie

    fuzzylizzie Alumni

    Interesting topic!

    I'll be 50 in March, and I still wear a version of the Mod look. The boots are black and knee length, the colorful and patterned hose are now replaced with opaque black Donna Karan tights, and the turtleneck is usually cashmere. I have a few great 1960s A-line jumpers and skirts that I wear with the above. And I have a nice collection of chain belts that work nicely! I don't think anyone even realizes that I'm wearing vintage until I tell them.

    But I don't do 60s style make up, and my hair is the bob with bangs that is so popular with women my age. And I'm pretty short and small, so I think that helps me carry it off. And I know I don't look like a bag lady because the toughest critics in the world - my class of 5th graders - regularly comment positively on my attire.

    But the 60s is the only era that I go for the look of the era. I just feel costumey wearing more than one piece of any other time. I love my 40s jackets, but paired with modern skirts or jeans. I have a few cute full skirted 50s dresses, but I'm real careful to pair them with modern sandals and accessories. And I really do NOT even consider wearing 70s stuff.

  9. polyesterchesters

    polyesterchesters Registered Guest

    This is so funny, my husband and I were out last night, and I had on a 50's beaded sweater and MOD 60's handbag.... someone called me a yuppie! I asked why he came to that conclusion, he said... Is that sweater and bag vintage? I said yes, he said Is that an SUV you are driving? I said yes.... he said "then you are a yuppie"...... I'm not sure if I am insulted or not yet....
  10. premierludwig

    premierludwig Registered Guest

    I can't help but do the head-to-toe vintage thing. I get one thing out of my wardrobe, or do my hair in a certain way and then everything else has to match as though I've stepped out of a time warp. I've had friends complain that I dress as though I'm on a film set and telling me there's no continuity girl waiting outside the door ready to pounce on me if my make-up, shoes, hair and accessories aren't perfect for what I'm wearing.

    But I love it, it's like choosing a new character every time I get dressed. Shall I be an 80s party girl, a wild dressing 70s rock star girlfriend, a trippy hippy, a modette, a 50s glamour girl, and sometimes I'm a modern day rock-chick but only occasionally and when I'm attending gigs... I just pick an era to enhance my mood and dress accordingly, and if it's 60s I have to match it right down to the season.

    Luckily I fit into the category in that book, but I'm sure I'll always dress like I've stepped out of a time warp. I know which styles from the past suit me and flatter me and work for me in so many different ways, and when I wear modern clothes I look dreadful in comparison. I can't find things to flatter me like the vintage clothing does, modern women must just be a completely different shape.

    And I hate lycra, no-one looks good in lycra, and it seems to be in *everything* these days. I miss the little loops on off the shoulder vintage wear that stops your bra-straps showing... I miss the way trousers were designed for women who actually have hips and a bottom... I miss skirts that emphasize your hips, make your legs look pretty and clothes that generally just enhance the good bits and hide the bad bits.... I like the way that vintage clothing has a shape that you wear, rather then the clothes adjusting themselves to become your shape because often that's just not flattering. Modern clothing just cannot compare.

    And despite all the rules I impose on myself with my vintage wear, I see wearing vintage fashion as a kind of freedom. You don't have to wear the current in-thing when it doesn't do a thing for you. Instead you can look through any era, style or designer from the whole history of costume design, and choose something that looks fabulous on you and that suits who you really are.

    love, moons and starrs,
  11. emmapeelpants

    emmapeelpants Alumni

    Senti, you're an inspiration!!

    I try to wear vintage as much as possible, and with sales as they are - the only clothes I'll have to wear will be my unsold stock ;), but I find it hard to get hold of the more every day items. I have a fair few vintage coats and boots though, so - for the most part - what people see me in is usually vintage in some way. 60s and 70s is very wearable. I have a passion for blouses of that era, flared jeans suit me and so do knee high boots. I also will not leave the house without a thick flick of liquid eyeliner :)
  12. I know this may sound silly, but i went shopping last week...at my own mall store! i had a few things i have never listed but fit perfect and had a minor teensy tiny flaw...so Merry Christmas to me. I got a really nice wool tweed blazer with princess seams and sort of a tiny chevron weave from the 70s and a pair of moc croc driving loafers. Could never find as good as a fit at a regular store ;)
  13. I love hearing how people wear vintage. Like Lizzie, I prefer to wear things that people don't recognize as vintage. I just look better in classic lines and understated fabrics. If I were to wear an acid green psychedelic 60's dress, well... let's just say that the dress would wear me - I would just get lost in it. I know I need to leave the more dramatic outfits to those who can carry them off.

    And I hate lycra too...

  14. I am careful not to stick my nose up about any fabric...because in the wrong hands, it can be a horror story and give the fabric a bad name, but in the right hands, or a blend, it can be quite beneficial.

    Lycra is great for different parts of or in blends for bathing suits. I did believe it or not have a denim bathing suit as a pre teen. What a misguided idea that was. And also when you take a fabric of ill repute and blend it with something else, the best qualities shine. Take for example a heavier knit polyester and cotton. Put them together you have a great opportunity for prints, but with the colorfastness of polyester.

    With just a touch of lycra...lets say 5%-but no more than 10 and add that to denim, you get a pair of jeans where you don't have the issues of a gap in the back of the waistline and the jeans are smoother in the hip/stomach area while still allowing the qualities of denim and boot cut styling, etc to be possible. Women don't have to cut off circulation or offend the fashion police when they just want a pair of jeans that don't look all bagged out.

  15. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    I know what the writer means though... it is dangerous to wear vintage that A) you could have worn yourself during that time period, so if you are 50 now and wearing a dress that you would have worn or did wear in the mid 1970s its probably not a good thing. It might make you look frumpy or frugal, or that you never changed your style and have worn the exact same stuff for the past 30 years. I remember my grandmother wearing beaded sweaters from the 1950s into the 70s and they were in fact her sweaters from the 50s and just made her look like she didn't care about fashion at all, which, lets face it, at 80 years of age, you don't really care that much anymore. And B) I think it can be dangerous to wear vintage that is too young for you. A 40 year old in a prom dress from the 50s can look downright weird. Age appropriate wear should be considered (I think) when donning vintage. A cocktail dress from the 50s can look smart but a poodle skirt will make the older wearer look like a reject from the cast of Grease.
  16. fuzzylizzie

    fuzzylizzie Alumni

    Yes, I tend to agree with you, Jonathan. I'm just a shade too young to have worn the mod look in the 60s - I was 11 in 1966 and still wearing what people think of as early 60s. By the time I was picking out my own clothes, mod was out and we all became hippies overnight! I'd feel like I was 15 if I were to do a hippie look.

  17. I like things from when i was a little kid rather than a teen. Give me a smart 70s fitted wool tweed blazer over Valley-Girl-Is-Dead-But -Grunge-is Not-really-in-Yet anyday!

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