As anyone who’s a regular reader will know, I love vintage clothes. I’ve always enjoyed finding something amazing that I won’t see anyone else wearing, and have often admired the sturdy seams and the obvious love and care of previous owners which have ensured the garment has survived to be worn again by me. I adored the recent Channel 4 series This Old Thing and am 100% with Dawn O’Porter in her mission to convert as many people as possible to the joys of pre-loved clothing. However, this year has seen a change for me. When I got my summer wardrobe out of hibernation in the spring, I discovered some wonderful vintage frocks I’d forgotten I had… mostly because I didn’t wear them last year because, to be honest, they’re now a bit tight. My expanding waistline has meant that some of my existing vintage collection no longer fits, and it’s making it harder to find garments to replace them so I thought my vintage days were numbered.
Then I visited a number of lovely vintage shops when I was on holiday in Portland and made a bee-line for the accessories every time because, well, they’ll always fit. I now own a wonderful printed silk and viscose scarf that was made to celebrate the Seattle World Fair in 1962, and have looked at a lot of beautiful handbags and items of costume jewellery. When I got home, I realised that I already own a few 1960s scarves, a couple of pairs of vintage gloves, some gorgeous 1980s shoes and even some 1950s jewellery. I own an awful lot of accessories and hadn’t really thought about specifically looking for vintage examples, until now. You may have read my review of Style Me Vintage: Clothes a couple of years ago and, if so, you might be able to imagine my delight when I discovered that there was a new book in the series… on accessories! Written by the author of Style Me Vintage: Clothes Naomi Thompson and the fashion historian Liz Tregenza, Style Me Vintage: Accessories is a guide to correctly identifying, sourcing and wearing vintage jewellery, sunglasses, hats, gloves, scarves, bags and shoes. After reading Retro Chick’s review last month, I hopped straight over to Amazon and pre-ordered a copy for myself.
Rather than focussing on particular eras in a chronological format, the book is divided into themed chapters on each of the different types of accessories covered. Each one begins with an overview and some history, to help give you some background knowledge, before looking at particular brands/designers and offering some collecting and styling tips. There is information on dating items, era guides to help you know what you’re looking for if you need something to complete a particular vintage look, lists of recommended sellers and repro brands, plus plenty of gorgeous photos and lots of nice little extras like tips on how to correctly identify genuine bakelite and how to clean your vintage gloves. Naomi and Liz have both collected vintage clothing and accessories for years, and many of the photos show items from their collections. Far from being alienating to non collectors though, the captions tell us lovely things like the story behind the 1950s daschund printed scarf on page 133, which was originally owned by Liz’s Great Grandma.
This book has a very broad appeal – from people who love vintage accessories but wouldn’t know where to start when collecting them, to those with some/plenty of vintage knowledge, and even folk who just like looking at gorgeous photos of pretty things – I think anyone with even a passing interest in vintage clothing for women would find this book is a great addition to their shelves. I wonder if there’s going to be a menswear title next in the series?