Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Style signatures

Obviously, dressing and looking as I do (and the various incarnations of different alternative styles I've sported over the years) shows that looking unusual and drawing others' attention is not something I have a problem with. And while I'm most definitely not an attention seeker in any way (it's a by-product of dressing differently rather than a goal in and of itself), I do like belonging to a subculture. That vintage is no longer a subculture is a longer discussion for a different day, but I do find that by wearing vintage it's easy to stand apart, even from your peers. The chances of seeing another girl in your dress is minimal, to absolute zero when it comes to home-made garments, and I love that! I do, however, as you all know wear repro nearly every day. As do most of my friends. The small pool of brands out there makes it more likely that you'll see someone else in the same top or dress as you if you go to a vintage event wearing repro or high street finds. This is why adding style signatures and putting your own spin on things that set you apart are so important.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what makes a person stylish. I love bright colours, loud jewellery and patterns; and am good at colour coordinating, but I don't possess the style nous of, say, the Bright Young Twins. These painfully gorgeous and upsettingly young things have that uncanny ability to put Edwardian blouses with Primark trousers, adding belts, jewellery and other accessories to make an outfit that is utterly unique. Add to this the dedication, eye and sheer LUCK to find original millinery pieces, showgirl costumes and suchlike, and their wardrobes are the stuff of dreams. I love them, and am also hugely envious, can you tell?




I've known a fair few ladies throughout the years who have this style sixth sense, and an alarming array of accessories that can be used to create these one-off looks. It's something you either have, or don't have, I think. I don't really have it, much as I'd like to.

I do have my own style signatures, though. Not unique to me of course - what is, these days? Though my blog and general existence I've probably inspired people to adopt certain things, but I wasn't the one who dreamed them up in the first place anyway, so it doesn't matter at all. But rather than just putting on an outfit that's easy, safe or straight out of a magazine page or catwalk, everyone should put their own spin on it. A change is as good as a rest, after all!


I love bangles. You know this! I like to wear a giant stack of them at the same time. Lots of girls do, of course, and a lot of my girlfriends even have the same ones; but the chances of you wearing the exact same combination at the same time are slim. Combined with different earrings, handbags, shoes and cardigans, even samey outfits can look different.

Some of my friends always seem to have on a different, fabulous coat, a signature hairstyle that no one else could master, a penchant for outrageous shoes that no one else would or could wear, a very precise look that differs from the popular vintage ones out there, but which suits the wearer down to an absolute T. So despite knowing a huge number of dedicated vintage gals and despite the fact that literally every time the Vintage Mafia get together, at least two or more of us will be in the same Heyday trousers, the same Freddies jeans or the same Rocket Originals shoes, I hardly ever wind up feeling like I'm wearing the same, or looking the same as anyone else.

 errrrrmmmm.

In all seriousness, modern fashion and its conformity baffles me. I've heard mothers of teenagers (both sexes) say their kids would rather die than stand out, and if you've ever seen a gaggle of trendy 15 year old girls together, it's hard to tell where the first skinny jean, Ugh boot and long tousled hair stops, and the next begins. Alternative fashion among 6th form age kids is also absolutely massive now compared to how it was when I was 17, so even they look quite similar to me these days. Showing my age in one sentence, there! But while there's probably no such thing as a unique look in itself any more, I encourage everyone to put their unique spin on an outfit. And upon your life generally. If you can stand out in how you look, you can make waves in anything in life, believe me.

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

21 comments:

  1. Dear Fleur,
    Thank you so much for the kind words, it's good to know that some people understand our style. We have been going for edwardian hooker chic lately. Looking forward to getting our drink on together at the ric rac club!

    Aimme & Harriett xx

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  2. Ooh good post! Totally true, it's all about putting your own spin on things.

    xx Charlotte
    Tuppence Ha'penny

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  3. I completely agree!!! I am 16 and am currently in 6Th form and I have loved vintage fashion for years and years and in all fairness wore my fair share of hats and head scarves in lower school , however there is something freeing about being in 6th form and now im vintage 24/7/ !!! I think that the reason people do not want to stand out is through nothing but laziness i spend a ridiculous time organising outfits pin curling hair matching gloves to hat pins.... etc. but if you just follow fashion then you just do what everyone else does and it must be soooo much easier ...however very boring !!!

    sorry for the essay
    Georgia
    xxxxxx
    xxxxx

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  4. Can I please just hug you tightly for using the word 'envious' rather than jealous, which I see far too often online and fear nobody else seems to know (or care about) the difference!

    xx

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  5. 'Ugh' boots, tee hee, like it! I've just read a similarly themed post on Vix's blog to which I wholeheartedly agree. I too have always envied effortlessly stylish people, hence my blog addiction! Despite this, and despite next to zero confidence as a teenager I have always held true to own sense of style and the many avenues it has led me! :)

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  6. This is one of the reasons I like making clothes-I know no one else will have the same outfit as me! Not exactly the same, anyway, although as you say nothing is really unique these days.

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  7. I really enjoyed your post and I agree with everything you say! And I'll definitely check the Bright Young Twins blog.

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  8. I enjoy being unique but don't always like to stand out. It can be a tough balance sometimes. There are certainly days when I feel like I lack that 6th sense for fashion. ;)

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  9. Such a lovely post Fleur, and the "Ugh boots" comment made me laugh! -Anushka x

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  10. Great post fleur! To me you are inspirational! <3

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  11. I always think of you when I see bangles now, aha!

    It always used to make me laugh when we had non-school uniform days and everyone came in wearing the same thing. Surely it defies the object of the day if you just wear society's uniform...

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  12. ~ * ♥ * ~

    I love how you've put into words my secret - or not so secret - thoughts Fleur!

    I love to dress uniquely, but a big part of that is knowing that out there {maybe not in my town}, there other girls and ladies that feel the same way and together we have our own unique take on clothes and style! I totally adore belonging to this community and calling myself a 'vintage gal'.

    Thanks for being a great inspiration. :3

    xox,
    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ♥ * ~

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  13. I have to wonder if, 50 years from now, people will be blogging about belonging to an ugg boot and leggings wearing subculture, complaining about the conformity of modern fashion! It's weird to think that the clothes that make us so unusual now were worn by people slavishly following trends in their own time!

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  14. I dress uniquely, but mainly because I dress so badly!

    Do you ever come across people who try to look like you? You do seem to have a lot of influence.

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  15. Yes, they are rather divi, those two, aren't they? Like glorious china dolls from the past, and I don't mean that in a derogatory way.

    I too cannot understand the weird conformity of teens today, I have always been a somewhat, shall we say, eccentric dresser! but when I was that age everyone experimented and had fun, now they seem too scared to. If you don't make the most of it when youth is on your side you never will.

    And as for the ugh boots, snigger, they are absolutely vile, hideous and sooo bad for the feet and posture. I despair when I see a small child in them and her feet bending inwards.

    But you do have style m' dear, you have fun with it and look wonderful.

    PS, Miss Peelpants, I feel your pain over such things and my barely controlled irritation over poor spelling and using the wrong word, ie loose and lose, faint and feint etc. Must.Stop.Now.

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  16. Those 2 lasses rock! ;)

    You touched upon something there for me in regards to repro - which I why I don't own any and if I did - I don't think I would wear it to an event. Too much chance of bumping into a dress twin (or 5).

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  17. I work with young people and- bear in mind I we have mufti day today - I have to say that tales of slavish identikit dressing aren't universal. Maybe it is because I work within a cross section of cultures, classes and so forth. Certainly, there was more variety out there on our playground today than in the early 90s when we wore plaid, Naf Naf and Chipie or were horribly teased.

    I always hesitate to categorise myself because it comes with expectations. I wear and understand a range of 'alternative' styles and have been collecting vintage almost 20 years...but I don't think I look like your classic Vintage, Rock or Indie girl. TBH, within some of these groups this has led to the EXACT same sneering we often assume others do (at Vintage Southbank, a 50s-promdress-repro type sneered across the toilets that I'd DARED turn up in a 60s Jean Varon maxi with dark eyes and pale lips- pure nasty girls at school. Sad). For that reason, I'm always hesitant to define my style with labels, I just dress as I wish 'including' vintage, rock and indie.

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  18. Trust me, conformity doesn't end after one leaves one's teen years. If anything, it gets worse! When my husband & I (ages 53 & 42, respectively) go out to dinner, we are often astonished at how many people - both male & female - appear to be "in uniform." Same style of jeans, tops, bags, jewelry, etc. That doesn't happen in out circle, perhaps because we are involved in the arts. Our friends' styles run the gamut - mainstream/trendy, conservative, very adventurous, retro, you name it. I wear a lot of vintage & vintage-inspired pieces, usually (but not always) with some sort of modern twist, & am amazed at how much drama I can provoke simply by not wearing denim all the time. Are people really so easily shocked in 2012? Amusing & frightening all at once!

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  19. I feel a little funny about the "conformist youth" thing here, because as I was remarking to a friend the other day my wardrobe has actually gotten far more "conventional" as I've gone through uni. I arrived there all neons and weird kilts and dresses I made out of pajama pants, and while I think I probably look nicer now I certainly look less "unique." I'm not sure it's been a bad trade, but occasionally I sort of wonder...

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  20. ...I mean. I just looked down at myself and I am wearing at least five seven colors right now, only two of them neutrals. So maybe I'm not quite a poster child for Serious Urban Conformity quite yet.

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  21. Thank you for such an inspiring post! :) Really renewed my excitement to not completely go for repro (I am a complete novice and have naff all places to shop vintage locally), to be brave and go for it. And also for introducing to me to the sparkly gem that is The Bright Young Twins! SO excited that I did mention this in my last blog post with links abound! So thank you very much. Love your blog. xx

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I welcome all comments, praise and constructive criticism alike! Please note, though, that I don't respond to anonymous comments. If you want to offer a criticism then have the conviction to do so publicly. I thank you!

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