Retro style on the red carpet – our favourite awards season outfits

bafta grammys vintageWith awards season in full swing, it seems there isn’t a weekend that goes by without the world’s rich and famous donning their best frocks to quaff champagne, practice their modest expressions and celebrate success in the worlds of film, tv and music.

While we love seeing who wins – and who’s speech is the gushiest – our favourite thing about these ceremonies is of course the outfits. Retro style has been out in force on the red carpet, and none more so than at last weekend’s BAFTA and Grammy events. Boasting looks that are easy to recreate with a good rummage at our own vintage fairs or kilos, we’re talking faux fur, bold colour and a homage to all things yesteryear. Here are some of our favourites!

Jane Fonda
Despite being 77 years old, American Actress Jane Fonda looked better than ever in this Grammy’s catsuit, topped off with a dripping gold necklace. From it’s authentic 70s shape to it’s bold emerald colour, it’s a look that can be easily mimicked – if you’re not feeling brave enough for a full suit, why not opt for a short-legged version over tights?

Romola Garai
Having starred in some of our favourite BBC adaptations of old classics, (Emma, The Hour, The Crimson Petal and the White), we should have known that Romala Garai would be stepping out in something special for the BAFTAs. Her colour-blocked outfits is a modern twist on the traditional evening gown, but with a distinct homage to days past in it’s demure 50s full skirt. Simple to dress up or down, try it out for yourself at a kilo sale – where better to pick and mix all the colours of rainbow?

Janelle Monae
For ladies who prefer to ditch the dress, a coloured trouser suit is a great alternative. Singer Janelle Monae looked every inch the superstar at the Grammy’s after party, adding an old-fashioned twist to her tailoring with it’s loud 80’s hue. Broken up with a simple white shirt, you can bag your own luxe look by shopping around at our vintage fairs – a good suit never goes out of style!

Rita Ora
Pairing a sleek 60s crop with a full glitter number that would fit right in at a 1920s Gatsby party, singer Rita Ora got 20th century chic down to an eclectic art at the Grammys. To avoid looking like a glitter ball, opt for straight sleek shapes and play down the accesories – sometimes a simple clutch is all you need.

Aoyama Thelma
Young enough to remember the 90s first time round, Japanese singer Aoyama Thelma looked every inch the kooky creative in her slogan two-piece. Statement items are a staple of 80s and 90s fashion, with sweaters and tees featuring regularly at our kilo sales. Can’t find a two piece? Why not try a little DIY on a kilo dress to make it into separates?

Rachel Riley
Nothing oozes retro glamour quite like faux fur, which is why we adored TV presenter Rachel Riley’s get-up at the BAFTAs. Faux fur can be purchased ethically and affordable at our vintage fairs, paired with a simple party shift or thrown oh-so-casually over a ladylike coat.

Do you have a special event coming up that you need the perfect frock for? Hop on over to our EVENTS page to see when the vintage fair is visiting your city next!

A Vintage History Lesson – Dating Vintage Clothing

il_fullxfull.235234178So you’ve found your soulmate in suede, your dreamboat in denim… But before your relationship goes any further, you want to know the age gap. Perfectly understandable. Ladies and Gentlemen, a lesson in vintage history… no falling asleep at the back!

Style
When dating vintage, the style of the sleeve can often be a telltale sign based on principles of what was fashionable in each decade. They can also reveal ‘recycled vintage’ – 80s-does-50s dresses often have puff shoulders and wide armholes, whereas original 50s designs generally have quite snug-fitting sleeve cuffs. Popular sleeve styles in the 1940’s were puff shoulders and cap sleeves, where sleevless styles are very typical of the 60s. Look also at the length of the skirt – the timeline below briefly illustrates skirt styles and lengths from the 1930s to early 60s.

Zippers & Closures
Metal zippers were first used in garments in the 1930s, but during that era they were rare. Zippers first became available in plastic in 1963, and by 1968 nylon coil zippers were used in practically every mass produced garment. If for example you’re looking at a circle skirt, a metal zip will be a good sign that it’s an original 1950s skirt, while a plastic zip can be an indicator of a later item. Invisible zips were invented in the 1950s but only really became ubiquitous much later, around the late 80s / early 90s. The placement of the zip can also help – 1930s-1940s dressers usually had a zip in the side seam, whereas dresses from the 50s onwards favoured a placement at the centre back.

st-michael-labelLabels
The label can be full of clues as to an item’s age, making it your go-to when dating vintage. American and Canadian-made clothing often has a union label, which can help determine a date range. Clothing with the distinctive CC41 Utility label was produced during the period of fabric rationing, which ran from 1941 to 1951. The style of the label itself can be an indicator: early-mid 20th century labels were usually woven, until around the 1960s printed satin labels started to become more common. The writing on the label is another clue: earlier labels often feature script fonts, while in the 60s and 70s modern, hippie-influenced fonts were frequently used.

If there is a size label this can also help: vintage sizing was smaller than modern, so if it’s marked a size 14 but is clearly tiny, chances are it’s got some age to it. In British sizing, a size 14 in the 1940s was a 32” bust. By the late 1960s it was a 36” bust and remained so into the early 80s; it’s now a 38” bust.

In 1971 the Federal Trade Commission released the “Care Labelling Rule” which required all manufacturers (including importers) of apparel to include garment care instructions on an interior tag. The care label tag is required to include one method of care to keep the garment in quality condition, such as “machine wash cold” or “dry clean only.” If the garment was made by a brand but is missing care instructions, you can confidently conclude the piece was produced before 1971.

In the end…
Having run these quick tests, you can now make an informed decision whether to go ahead and part with your cash. So that 1950s dress turns out to be 80s-does-50s? If you like it, don’t let that stop you from buying it – you’ll still look great!. At the affordable vintage fair, we make this easy for you with bargains galore – who knows what rare and elderly items you might discover?