Sometimes I go shopping and I spend a couple of hours walking around frustrating myself. Nothing appeals to me, either because I don’t feel like subscribing to the current trends or the prices bust my budget. I want my style to stand out amongst the crowd and in this day and age of mass production it can be a tad bit difficult. This is how I solved my problem.
One evening, I was sitting in my parent’s room chatting to my mother while she re-organised her wardrobe. She fished out some dresses and started telling me the stories behind each one. The red one she wore out to dinner for my parents wedding anniversary the year after I was born. The navy blue and white polka dot dress after my brother was born. And the sassy halter neck one piece when she first got married. Dresses from her “Hey Days!” I’ve seen photographs of her wearing the dresses and I must say my mumma has style. I’m also a sucker for sentimentality and that’s precisely why mum held onto them so long.
I’m also obsessed with everything vintage so I decided to try the dresses on, for the fun of it. There were 6 dresses in total. My favourite was the red dress, that mum wore for her anniversary. Its cut just above the knee in a soft flowing fabric, with a scooped neck line and mother of pearl buttons all the way down the front. The best feature of all is the dramatic back that plunges bare to the waist and is interspersed with ribbed straps. I thought it was gorgeous.
I fell in love with all the dresses and mum let me have them after a bit of begging and pleading. The dresses were all a little too big for me, so I decided to have them altered. I took them to a good tailor my aunt recommended and four days later I added six “new” pieces to my wardrobe for R350. That’s R58.33 each; beyond a bargain I would say. Guaranteed originality; plus props for inventiveness.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when raiding mum, gran or aunts wardrobe for treasures. Keep your eyes open for classic and timeless styles that you know you can pull off. Make sure the clothes are in relatively good condition, they shouldn’t be falling apart at the seams. If the clothes are a bit faded or you just want to change the colour you can dye them. If it’s too long – shorten it. Find your local haberdashery or scope out the flea markets for cool buttons to re-invent the pieces. Make them your own. Add a lace trim for a really feminine feel. Have it altered to fit perfectly. Also rummage for accessories, hats, earrings, necklaces, even sunglasses. You’ll be surprised how stylish your old peeps were. Just don’t clean out their wardrobe completely.
If you’re not allowed to raid mum’s wardrobe for “Hey Day!” treasures, then scope out second hand stores, you never know what you may stumble upon. Always wash the clothes before you wear them, dust particles that settle in the fabric can irritate the skin. If you are not a particularly gifted seamstress then get a professional to do the alterations. Your local tailor should not be too pricey for a little nip and tuck (of fabric that is).
This doesn’t only apply to girls. Guys you could score yourself a kick ass leather jacket or a designer belt.
Get creative with your style, it doesn’t necessarily have to look vintage, it just depends on how you rock it.