Viva vintage style in Kent

Tunbridge Wells fashionista Paula Fry on why vintage style is so very 'now'

Viva vintage style in Kent         

Tunbridge Wells fashionista Paula Fry on why vintage style is so very ‘now’

Having style and being fashionable are two very different qualities. It’s pretty easy to be fashionable, the high street stores see to that, but it’s harder to wear your purchases with style.

True style comes with confidence in what you are wearing, not how much it cost or what the label says. And, for me, it’s all about individuality. 

In the past years, vintage has become ‘the’ buzz word for all those connected with the fashion industry. Many women have worn it for decades, however wearing vintage has now hit the mainstream and become a very acceptable and much-admired way of wearing clothes. 

Fashion designers and stylists have always looked to the past for inspiration

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In times of austerity, wearing second-hand garments is not only great for the wallet but also rather friendly to the environment. Women have become bored of wearing the same clothes as their peers, the high street fashion stores dominating our wardrobe choices. 

I have to admit, I used to find it irritating if I bought something new to wear, only to have a friend recite how much it cost and where it was from as they had already seen it. Think of how many times you have been caught out at a wedding or social event in the same outfit as another lady!  Wearing vintage makes individuality a whole lot easier: your item is a one off and will be much harder to replicate. 

To get the most out of wearing vintage, mixing and matching is the way forward. It’s not about head to toe costume or looking like an extra from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. You have to be incredibly creative and stupendously brave to get away with that on a daily basis. It’s all about adding small pieces to your existing wardrobe and is the ideal way for the ‘Vintage Virgin’ to start her collection.

What about pinning a classic 1940’s brooch to your jacket, coat or dress? A beaded silk 1980’s jacket would look classy over a plain tee and jeans. Think about buying a beautiful 1950’s skin bag (croc, lizard or eel are fabulous) and use it day or evening to add instant glamour to your outfit. 

I can’t tell you the amount of times I have been stopped to discuss the provenance of my handbags… but they are stories for another time.

The vintage revolution isn’t a new phenomenon, fashion designers and stylists have always looked to the past for inspiration but there is a clear resurgence on the catwalks of times gone by. 

Just recently, we channelled the 1950’s look, courtesy of the Mad Men series, and for S/S 2011 we see the 1970s return with a maxi-skirted, bell-bottomed bang – think Charlie’s Angels rather than Margo Leadbetter.

The internet has made buying vintage more accessible, but if you are new to wearing it, I recommend going to a specialist fair or store if  possible. Trying on, touching the fabrics and discussing its history are all part of the vintage experience.

To wear it successfully, try my recipe. Take a large pinch of high street, sprinkle with some vintage, whisk (with advice) at a vintage shop or fair until confident and wear with a knowing smile.

Et voila! Audrey eat your heart out.


Love Is Boutique

Romary House

26 Church Road

Tunbridge Wells TN1 1JP

01892 549665

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