At the end of last year I met a lovely group of Minneapolis-based, vintage-loving ladies on Facebook. Many of these fabulous women are WAY MORE INTO VINTAGE than I am – they’ve got the hair, the makeup, the mid-century modern houses and stereos and record collections. While I have a pretty hefty collection of vintage clothing and am daily improving my vintage accessories game, I am a total fail at the vintage lifestyle. I still have all my music on two iPods and 2000 CDs in the basement. I have exactly one makeup look (“natural”) and one sort-of-fancy hairstyle (curly). I haven’t had my eyebrows waxed in years and usually forget to wear even lipbalm on a daily basis.
Now that I’m connected to these gorgeous creatures on all the social medias, I’ve definitely been considering my own style and trying to hone it in even tighter.
Through the vintage group I was invited to join a June outfit-a-day challenge. The group that “sponsors” it is a really fun mix of people, not all vintage wearers, and a good span of tastes/influences/body types/fashion priorities. I went into the challenge thinking I would try to bring out my favorite vintage every day, but today is day seven, and I’ve maybe managed 50/50. Each morning I go to my closet and pick out whatever makes me feel great, and that isn’t always vintage, which was a surprising revelation to me.
See, even if I could do the perfect 40s hairstyle, I probably wouldn’t do it on a daily basis. Ditto the perfect cat-eye eyeliner, though I do aspire to nail it this year. I don’t find vintage shoes to be very comfortable, and even though I have been buying a lot of vintage hats lately, I have no idea what to do with them. Sometimes I just want to wear jeans, or something from Banana Republic. Often, lately, I’ve been wearing Stitch Fix items.
I get a lot of attention and acknowledgement from the vintage I wear, which is fun. It also puts pressure on me to only wear vintage – that pressure is all in my head, btw, none of my vintage-loving friends have ever made me feel lame for wearing modern. As I unpacked my vintage summer dresses this year I realized I had collected a lot of things I wasn’t in love with, that I had just bought because they were cute, fit, and were from the 50s. I’ve decided this is the year I take a hard look, Marie Kondo style, and only keep the things that make me feel like a knockout.
The June outfit-a-day challenge is helping me figure that out! If you’re interested in seeing what makes the cut, I’m cross-posting most of my daily picture collages to Instagram. In the meantime, I’m still getting a monthly Stitch Fix shipment, but I’m being much harder on which items I keep. But don’t I always say that?
April was another month where I only kept a couple of pieces. My very favorite thing in the box fit right into my existing wardrobe, modern but vintage-inspired.
Looking at the Eight Sixty collection online, I cannot fathom where this adorable Ariana picnic-print skirt came from. Almost everything else is incredibly cheesy and kind of cheap looking, and nothing I would ever wear EVER.
Even though I am madly in love with the print and color on this skirt, I almost didn’t keep it. They sent a size large, which is about two inches too big in the waist, but likely an easy fix if I get around to learning to sew this summer. It also had a built-in slip that was: a) too tight in the hips, b) very short, and c) made out of the cheapest, creepiest, grossest fabric. The slip I cut out. The waist I belted. And look how cute! I’m so pleased with it.
I specifically asked my stylist to send a pencil skirt and shirts I could tuck into skirts. Bless her, she delivered, but neither of these items worked for me.
Again, they sent a large in the Papermoon Taluca skirt. I think this is because I had stressed in some feedback that I’m curvy and had sent back a bunch of tunics that were too tight in the hips. The problem with a large is that it will never fit in the waist, especially if it’s straight up and down and fits in the hips. The jersey fabric here was also entirely too thin and, again, kind of cheap feeling. I couldn’t get it off fast enough.
I couldn’t really photograph what I didn’t like about this Loveapella Kellyton top. First off, it was really long, which created way too much bulk whenever it was tucked in. The fabric was so thin you could see every stitch in my bra. And see how it’s cut at the armpit? So low and wide and just…weird. I hated the way I looked in it.
I would never have picked this up in a store, and was pretty sure I would hate it before I put it on. Turns out, I was wrong, and this in a nutshell is why I still get Stitch Fix – it pushes me to try things I wouldn’t have otherwise, and sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. This top fits great, loose but not baggy, and is made out of an incredibly soft poly rayon fabric that feels dreamy and never wrinkles. It’s perfect to wear under a cardigan. It can be tucked into a skirt. The print is “earthy” but not too “boho.” It’s a winner.
The stack of bangles on my wrist are all Bakelite. It’s very popular in the 50s-loving vintage world, and I am late to the party on it. Recently it’s gotten VERY POPULAR, which means the good stuff is harder to find and the prices have gone up. Normally I would walk the other way on something this trendy, but I can’t help myself with Bakelite. It’s like candy. I want it.
My jeans are the slim boyfriend jeans from J. Jill. Have I talked about these yet? I’m too lazy to go check. But, listen. I’m turning 40 in August and have spent my entire 30s NOT going into places like J. Jill because I didn’t want to dress like a middle-aged woman. I’ve walked by and admired certain things in the window, and haven’t gone in to try them on because I didn’t want to buy anything from J. Jill.
When I was home for my cousin’s funeral, my mom and I had some time to kill and went to the mall. She was looking for tunic-length tops to wear with leggings, and I suggested J. Jill because my mom is in her 60s and it’s okay for her to shop there. I saw these bright colored jeans at the front of the store. As it so happens, I had been looking for bright-colored jeans, but every pair I tried on (J. Crew, Gap, Ann Taylor/Loft, Target, etc) were too low cut and/or tight in the thighs. I asked the salesperson at J. Jill how theirs fit, and she said, “like they were made for actual women and not teenagers.” I loved her immediately. I tried them on. Her statement was true. I bought two pair.
My red flats are Tieks. I thoughts for years about splurging on them, and when I got a very substantial discount at a conference a couple of years ago, I bit the bullet. I have a love-hate relationship with them. Red flats are a must-have in any woman’s wardrobe, and the teal soles on these are super fun. But they’re a little too small, despite my following the brand’s directions for sizing. I’m an 8 or 8.5, and they said to size down because the leather would stretch. The 8’s, especially at the end of the day HURT, even after two years. I will say that, when the stitching came undone on one of the shoes after wearing them only a handful of times, Tieks paid for shipping both ways and repaired my shoes at no cost, no questions asked. And they sent a giftcard when they returned them. That’s customer service! My advice to you, though, especially if you have wider feet, is to size UP not DOWN.
Phew. That’s much ado about this one outfit, yeah?
It’s a good thing I don’t have much to say about this 41Hawthorn Breyson blouse. Like pretty much everything from that line, the fit was all wrong here – slightly tight in the shoulders, super baggy in the middle, fitted over the hips. Plus, the color was a little too Grape Ape for my taste.
My May Stitch Fix was really good, but I’ve only gotten around to photographing part of it. I was so excited about the pieces that I just wanted to wear them in the wild and not style a photoshoot, which has…not exactly worked out. I need to get on that!