“What should I wear?!?” is by far the biggest question we’re hearing as we countdown to the exciting Ballarat Heritage Weekend.
While some vintage stalwarts and BHW regulars have had their looks ready since last year, we can all benefit from some style guidance and suggestions for the perfectly primped looks to pair with the wide range of events.
Plus, there’s no specific era or niche for this event, which makes it such a delight to both dress for and people watch! You can take your cues from all manner of vintage and create a look and style that’s entirely your own.
Since dressing up is one of my favorite pastimes — and our mission for our Vintage Current Fashion Fair — I want to share my personal recommendations and style/event pairings to inspire your ensembles.
Enjoy these vintage styling tips and templates, as well as our new #VCFF vintage styling contest (details below). I can’t wait to see you rocking your own classic concoctions around this wonderful heritage weekend!
Daytime Style Tips
Vintage Current Fashion Fair + Fashion Parades = The Serious Shopper
Your dresses or tops should be button up or zip up, nothing should go on over the head. This gives you the ability to change quickly without worrying about messing up your hair or makeup (or the garments).
To handle cold mornings and nights but beautiful clear days, use simple layers. Opaque tights are one of my “go anywhere” secrets; they can be easily changed out for sheer stockings during the day and stashed away in your handbag.
With your accessories, keep it simple: scarves, bangles, etc., not loads of fiddly jewelry. And if you’re trying on outfits, you can also tie the scarf over your hair and face to protect the garment from makeup, as well as your vintage hairdo.
Hats add a classic style and interest while dealing with any wind or chill in the air. And of course, shoes that are suitable for walking, standing and browsing are a must. Even though there’s a City Circle tram to help you get from place to place, you’ll have a full day on your feet (perhaps two full days)!
Keep in mind the seasonal trends that will also inspire your look: tweed, velvet, boho embroidery, perhaps a dash of this year’s weekend theme … steampunk?
All of these tips, plus the examples in the style board below, will prep you for the Vintage Current Fashion Fair, where you can augment your collection and refine your look, and from there it’s a short hop to check out the beautiful fashion parades hosted by Charlotte Smith in the Mechanics Institute.
Tweed Ride + Carriage Rides = A Casual Afternoon Affair
If a leisurely bike ride, tea and scones or a late afternoon beer is on your agenda, a simply put together, casual look is in order. The Tweed Ride is a popular annual tradition, so a most excellent pair of trousers, and stylish sunglasses, are a must.
In the style board below, I’ve paired these wonderful slub tweed trousers with a 1950’s beaded and embellished cardigan, a camel wool suit coat and a brilliant pair of reproduction lace up boots. Classy, comfortable, practical and cozy, each of these elements makes the ideal blueprint for a head-turning autumn wardrobe.
Whether you’re traveling by penny farthing, horse-drawn carriage, double decker bus or the Circle Tram, you’ll look sharp and feel fine while taking in the historic downtown sights and events!
Dinner Date Style Tips
Fine Dining + Cocktails = The Smoldering Standout
Dressing for dinner is an art I’m very keen to revive. With so many stunning heritage venues to stage your dinner time debut, Ballarat is ready made to spotlight your wardrobe.
Be brave, be daring, be impressive. After dark, it’s time to add more luxury, capes, longer hemlines and statement vintage jewelry.
Make sure to book your dinner engagement in advance for time to enjoy a proper old fashioned cocktail and give everyone the chance to truly appreciate your upscale ensemble.
If you’re seeking recommendations, check out the style board below, and for dining ideas around Ballarat, consider the fantastic dining options we prepared earlier. As for cocktails, keep an eye out for our forthcoming post …
Evening Wind Down
Fireplace + Cozy Room = The Sleepy Beauty
After a big day of shopping, sightseeing and catching up with pals, having the right wind down look ready is quite a treat. I like to pack my favourite tea, a good book and a deliciously warm wrap or knit for these autumn evenings.
For an overnight stay, make sure to bring (or acquire) luxurious pajamas, a velvet robe, slippers and sleeping socks.
Other vital elements to consider include:
- Wide legs pants in cashmere, jersey or even a well cut fleece.
- Knit tops that reflect your style.
- A wrap, shawl or pashmina.
- Infinity scarf to avoid bulking up the look.
There’s no good reason that your off duty look needs to forgo the vintage influence, so I’ve taken some familiar motifs and worked them into the easy, comfortable pieces in the style board below. These outfits and concepts will send you off for a restful night, ready to meet the morning refreshed and ready for another day of vintage style.
For the Gentlemen
Beard Competition + Craft Beer = The Classic Chap
Gents come into their own at this year’s Ballarat Heritage Weekend, with the Beard and Moustache competition providing the perfect stage to show off their commitment to serious facial grooming, and the Hop Temple BBQ and craft beer events.
Dressing the part need not be painful (growing a handlebar moustache is not required). With a few choice accessories to reflect his personality and taste for the finer things, polishing up a winning look is a snap. Here are some ideas in the style board below to get him going down the right road …
For One Lucky Winner … YOU?
Social Media + Your #VCFF Style = Personal Styling Session
Now, if you’re taking all this in and worrying that your wardrobe is not up to the task, we’re adding a new twist to the Vintage Current Fashion Fair …
While you can find and buy gorgeous fashions like these from our wonderful VCFF vendors, I want to ensure that your hair and makeup styling are just as on point as your wardrobe.
We’ve added a #VCFF Personal Styling Session Competition to the mix!
Entering is easy — just three quick steps:
- Snap a photo of your Ballarat Heritage Weekend outfit (what you’re planning to wear, your dream look, or what you’re wearing throughout the weekend)
- Share it on Instagram or Facebook and tag @VintageCurrent (be sure to follow us!)
- Include three hashtags: #VCFF #CDVStyling #BallaratHeritage
We’ll select our lucky winner at random and notify them on Monday, May 9th, with all the details on how to redeem your session. Entries are open to anyone in Australia who ticks all three boxes above. Enter as often as you wish!
This special contest starts NOW and closes at midnight on Sunday, May 8, 2016. Good luck and we can’t wait to see you online and/or in person at Vintage Current Fashion Fair 2016!
Corporate vintage looks are one of the most polished and put together choices in your vintage playbook.
These looks are an instant way to boost your credibility, authority and have your style noticed for the right reasons.
How you pull your look together is all a matter of personal preference, but having these guidelines in place, you’re far less likely to experience buyers remorse.
Today we’re looking at the staples you’ll need to pull off a vintage look in a corporate job.
Pick your colour palette for the season and layer your pieces accordingly. You’ll be able to mix and match these into other looks, but for the office, creating an ensemble with a harmonious colour balance is a cornerstone to the vintage look.
Keep your patterns simple, and when in doubt go for textural variation rather than polka dots, plaids or paisley.
Your natural waist is a beautiful thing, and knowing where it is will make a huge difference to getting this look right. Your natural waistline is the smallest part of your waist, often in line with your belly button.
You want to choose pieces that sit either on or just above your natural waistline, not below.
Keep it defined with matching belts or simply by tucking in your blouse.
Length – Hemline is everything
Below the knee is a must for corporate environments. We’re talking just under the kneecap, not mid calf or ankle length. Hemlines that end mid calf are problematic for all but the most shapely legs and finding something flattering off the rack is extremely difficult.
Ankle length is suitable only for evening wear, so if you’re in any doubt, have your skirts hemmed to your own measurements.
Vertiginous heels have no place in vintage style corporate wear – can I get a collective sigh of relief?
Lower heeled pumps, kitten heels and structured flats are both practical and business like.
When you’re searching online for the right kind of shoes trying these terms: Kitten heels, Low heel pumps, court shoes.
For separates try: Blouses, pussy bow, midi skirt, knee length skirt, pencil skirt
Coats – Black is Boring
Overcoats play a large part in vintage dressing. The huge variety of colour and shape is something sorely missing from our business districts, certainly in Melbourne where basic black has become boring black.
You don’t need a huge wardrobe of coats but choosing a colour and silhouette that works for that season and your main colour palette, will add that ‘next level’ touch to your vintage game.
Bags- No schlepping allowed
Matching your bag to your shoes and the rest of your ensemble is a sure fire way to amp up the vintage factor in your look. Changing out your handbag to match whichever colour you’re wearing that day is also an excellent incentive to keep the contents of your bag streamlined and organised.
A structured bag that is large enough to hold your work essentials without becoming overstuffed is a good guideline. And never, ever, schelp along a nasty reusable shopping bag with your lunch!
You don’t have to spend a packet to find a great bag. Here’s what to look for in quality instead of just brand name: Metal feet, metal zippers, real leather (it can be cleaned and fed to last), solid stitching not glue.
Brooches & Other Bling
Keep it simple.
Brooches are an ideal way to add a little more individuality to your look but be careful not to go overboard.
For corporate looks stay away from heavily jewelled or sparkly pieces. Instead opt for pieces with distinctive structure or understated novelty.
This is the perfect style addition to allow a stronger influence from your favourite era.
While it may be harder to find these sorts of office appropriate pieces from times when women weren’t in the office (think 1920s), the best solution is to source from a later era that referenced the original. For example 1980s brooches can often be seen to take on a more Art Deco look.
Building a wardrobe of vintage style staples requires a game plan.
You need to have a handle on your lifestyle and what it actually demands as opposed to the “dream life” you’d like to dress for. It’s by falling into this trap that we find ourselves with closets overstuffed with things we never wear. Trust me, I’m still fighting with mine.
Dressing within the confines of a certain era is not for everyone, and this is by no means the only way to wear vintage or vintage style fashion. The choices are endless, and unless you have the time and budget to experiment with anything that takes your fancy, there are certain guidelines that can help you find a shortcut to your perfect style.
BONUS: Download this style guide as a handy PDF!
Putting together fresh outfits for Spring is so much fun and its even better when there are super cute new things hitting the shelves.
I popped over to WildKitty, one of my new go to local stores for retro girly sweetness, to check out their new seasons range and just fell in love with their range. I’m pre-planning my outfits for this year’s Camperdown Cruise in October, as well as finding pretty pieces for date days when he sun comes out again.
There’s a lot to love with these easy to wear and easy to impress outfits!
Lip service brooch, Black and floral Lady Vintage dress, Raspberry pink vintage inspired handbag
Pastel pink cardigan with faux fur collar, Cupcake dress, Freshen up mirror and lipstick brooch, kitty shoes
Cosmetic bag brooch, Pink Polka dot 1940s style dress,gumball pink makeup bag, Woodland fax iPhone 5 case
This weekend looks set to be the perfect opportunity to clear out some space from the winter wardrobe and make room for some new pretties. It’s time to dust off the cobwebs and put some more shine into our days!
It has been a long time since I was last excited by the thought of an impending winter. Over the last few years I have been travelling through the most of those months and have missed out on those deep grey and rainy days.
Since being in Philly and getting a rough idea of what winter is like here (to say nothing of Chicago), I feel for you my American readers. The early spring days were cold enough for me, colder even than most of the Melbourne winters I’ve ever seen. The stories of snow so thick you have to stay indoors for days, that towns almost shut down as people struggle to go about their business. Rugged up in my thick winter puffer coat, furry collar and gloves, I was still so chilled by the wind that it gave me a headache. Putting winter into perspective has given me a whole new wave of inspiration and, as I think about all the lovely things I have in storage, I’ve started planning what I’d like to wear in these coming months.
With only a few days before I’m back on a plane to Australia, my friends at home tell me I had better be prepared for the cold grey days. And I remember, that being prepared, having a plan for go to outfits on those “freezing” days when you simply don’t want to get dressed, is the best way to get through those grey days with a smile on my face.
Oddly, I find that each season has a certain era to it in my mind. Spring and Summer are all 1950’s and 60’s, Autumn is more 1930’s, and Winter seems very 1940’s to me. I imagine that this is because there are certain iconic pieces from each era that work so well for those seasons. The 50s floral day dresses and 60s shifts, 1930s wide leg pants and jaunty knit tops, and those stunning 1940s waisted suits.
While I love, and have quite a collection of those suits, they really aren’t the most comfortable or practical option for someone who spends most of their time working from home. I also draw a very big line at working in my pyjamas or anything resembling a tracksuit, yet the appeal of soft warmth on those days is quite intoxicating. It has given me an idea.
What if, just maybe, I could find a way to work some nifty pants in a soft, track pant like fabric (gasp!) into my 30s and 40s inspired wardrobe?
I have so many patterns, I have my sewing machines and I have a very creative way of piecing things together. Why not? I know I won’t wear leggings or yoga pant styles, and as much as I loved jodhpurs, my hips don’t. What if I can find just the right kind of fabric in navy, black and chocolate brown, then perhaps I may be able to make something so versatile and comfortable it could be the vintage lovers alternative to the jegging?
Perhaps I have gone completely mad, but my instincts tell me I may be onto something.
So I’ve been poking around to find the right inspiration for patterns and ensembles. Looks that are appropriately polished enough, yet will still work with these sort of stealth slacks.
Of course the success to this idea (other than the construction) will be all in how they are styled. Here’s what I’m imagining.
Toasty chocolates and camel wools. Tan leathers and knitted berets, all ready for adventure.
Rich berries, tone on tone with soft and cozy wide leg pants. A belted vintage blazer with a strong shoulder line to dress it up.
A simple boucle knit with the same wide leg pants makes lounging around a pleasure. Add a fabulous cape, turban and these incredible gloves to head out for a spectacular evening.
I’d love to hear from my fellow sewers as to what you think of this idea. I’ve worked in all kinds of fabric, including fleece for blankets, but I’ve never tried to create something more structured from this fabric. Have you done anything like this? Have I gone completely mad?
It snuck up behind us when we weren’t looking and became Autumn ever so quickly.
Before you could even remember to write 2015 on everything, the shops have changed their stock, chocolates line the shelves and long sleeved fashions are upon us.
Before you go out and hit up the stores looking for the new, the improved and the utterly fabulous; take a breath and learn to mix and match what you have into some great transitional combinations.
Learn to layer, to be prepared (remember that umbrella), and add piece by piece to your look to take your summer dresses into more flexible territory.
A light weight maxi dress becomes fit for a casual dinner date, with the addition of a kimono style cardigan, elegant flats and Egyptian inspired jewellery. Remember your large statement tote so if the weather does warm up, you needn’t be carrying around this knit over your arm all day.
Your favourite floral ensemble carries you through afternoon and into the evening by adding both a cropped bolero to ensure that waist is still a feature, and an incredibly warm pashmina. Carrying your flats in your satchel means any dashes for a cab in the rain aren’t a health hazard, and there will be no shoddy old brollys for you.
Weekends are fun and colourful in Kelly green. A Navy cloche protects you do from the wind while your retro 90’s scarf can serve all manner of purposes, from keeping a chill at bay to hanging jauntily from the handle of your bag. Paired with some leopard print flats and a pair of OTT lions head gold earrings, you’re ready to handle almost any social occasion the weekend can throw at you.
The standard black, office shift dress is one of the most versatile trans-seasonal items in your wardrobe. Add a mid weight pair of stockings, a sophisticated booty, a long glove and you’re ready for anything. Pairing it with this quilted backpack helps to anchor the look into the ever so slightly more practical and keeps your hands free to hold the hood of your cape in close to your rosy cheeks.
Hands down, Valentines Day is the most under rated holiday in Australia. All the ‘bah humbug’ types like to see it as yet another opportunity for commercialism. I, on the other hand, see it as the perfect opportunity for dressing up, decadence and deliciousness.
Your Valentine doesn’t always need to be the romantic kind, sometimes the very best are the ones that just remind you how much you are loved and appreciated. Friends, school mates, family, anyone who makes your days brighter and never fails to put a smile on your face; these are the ones I like to celebrate.
No matter what your day will hold, be it a sweet dinner with friends, a glamorous evening out, or a “quiet” night in, I have a special collection of outfit inspirations to help bring out the Valentine Vixen in all of you.
A Little Tied Up
Time to break out your A game ladies and get into the Valentines Vixen spirit!