Read on for Lisa's tips and ideas on:
❤ cultivating your vintage look
❤ mixing modern, vintage-inspired pieces with your wardrobe
❤ handling main stream reactions to your unique style
I really love that all of your designs blend well with original vintage and modern pieces. What details do you look for in a modern meets vintage accessory?
I like to see that the accessory gives off the feeling of a certain era. It doesn't have to be a replica but it should hold true to the essence of a time period. The design & cut should reflect what was popular for that time as well. The materials that vintage inspired accessories are made from today can be vastly different that what things were made from during that era. The diversity of different raw materials and applications help create a modern look within vintage inspiration.
|green and red floral wallet|
Take for example there are so many incredible man made fabrics and printing applications that are available to us now. We can use a wide array of these to create lovely handbags. I love it when I see the shape and closure of a typical 1950s style handbag mixed with modern fabrics. The essence and history of the bag still hold true but has a lovely updated feel that doesn't make it look like a historical piece.
|floral tote with red flowers in cotton|
Shoes are another great example of this. There are so many more comfortable materials for designers to work with and the results are incredible. I really think shoes are a fabulous way to add a real sense of vintage to a look. There is nothing like a classic T-bar shoe from the 1940s in a racy patent red and white polka dot or a classic brogue with a wee bit of a wedge. Pair either of these with a full circle skirt or classic straight leg trousers with a cuff and you have vintage flare:)
Jewelry and other accessories can all do the same thing. Big oversized pearls can be a fun twist to a Jackie O look. Glasses with a slight turn up at the side can give a cat's eye feel. Charm bracelets, leopard print, tortoise shell sunglasses ,peter pan collars and small scarves are great for a 1950s feel. Velvet ribbon chokers, big bright earrings , long scarves, soft shiny vinyl, wide belts, big round sunglasses and pale pastel lips are all fabulous for a 1960s look.
|cat cameo necklace|
Something like little gloves from the 1950s can instantly add a vintage feel without doing anything else because they are so distinct. I luv seeing something like that with let's say... a modern strapless sequined dress for a party. Both long and short gloves totally change the vibe of the outfit in an instant. A big bright rhinestone brooch on a little jacket can have the same effect. A small scarf knotted at the side with a blouse or sweater is another way vintage plays off modern.
At the end of the day, I think the fun part is mixing vintage or vintage inspired pieces you already have in your closet with items that would otherwise not have the same effect on their own :)
I think that a lot of ladies are nervous to wear vintage because they are worried about looking like they are wearing a costume. Can you give any tips on that aspect of vintage style?
There are many modern twists and variations of vintage style these days. I think the key is to mix vintage pieces with your modern basics for a safe balance. This can be as simple as how you wear a couple of modern pieces and what accessories you compliment them with.
Let's start with a sort of Marilyn Monroe pencil skirt look from the 1950s. I think a pencil skirt is a great place to start b/c it is easy, not costly and will look great on all body types. Pencil skirts look good on every size gal when worn correctly. Firstly, the skirt needs to worn at the true waist (Marilyn Monroe never wore a skirt down by her hips.). You could start with a modern pencil skirt worn around or just under the knee ( not too short or you lose the wiggle of a pencil skirt). Next try a slim fit blouse tucked in at the waist. Tucking in the blouse provides part of the vintage look as compared to today when everything is worn loose and hanging outside the waist.
|roses halter dress|
I would suggest a nice pair of Mary Jane shoes, a pair of classic flats or even a low heel pump that doesn't have a platform under the toe. A T-bar strap would be really nice or even a simple thin ankle strap would look good too. The key to the shoe is that I doesn't distract from the skirt and blouse ensemble.... ie. no gladiator, no metallic, no half boot half shoe. Keep it simple but feminine and again think about some of the icons from that era. Ava Gardner was not running around in heels so high she couldn't walk a straight line in.
So now we have our basics together, it is time to have some fun with your vintage accessories. My "go to" pieces at this point would be a fav vintage cardigan ( because it is fall) a light weight cardigan with buttons ( never with a zipper!) that sits just below the true waist. I would pick small pearl earrings with a string of vintage pearls leaning towards the larger size beads then the smaller wee ones but that is a personal preference. Try a vintage frame handbag ( the ones that snap shut at the top and open w a frame) for a real vintage flair. There are gorgeous fall tapestry bags out there
Lastly, I would wear a soft red lipstick ( there is a shade out there for everyone) and if you are feeling particularly adventurous a pair of glasses with vintage frames.
I think that look translates very well into a modern day setting because it is very girly and feminine and gives the hint of the 50s without being conspicuous. It is a great place to start and you can many variations with items you may already have in your closet.
1. Substitute the pencil skirt for a full skirt--> plaid for fall would be great! Any length would be okay here especially with coloured or patterned tights and flats or Mary Janes.
2. Instead of a slim fit blouse wear a slim fit turtleneck or the cardigan by itself buttoned up. Instead of pearls add a lovely brooch onto your sweater.
3. Instead of pearls wear a tiny little scarf tight in a knot and to the side (think Audrey Hepburn in a Roman Holiday)
4. Try wearing a tailored tweed jacket over your blouse.
5. A peter pan collar on a blouse adds a fabulous vintage touch.
These are just a few ideas to get you started without being scary or making you feel too much like June Clever :)
|purple and green floral full apron|
Coming from a town full of mainstream fashion, how do you handle the public’s reaction to your personal style? Do you have any advice for other fashion renegades?
Hahaha! I spent the majority of my youth dressing really different in order to provoke a reaction from people. I wanted to be noticed for my style and considering the hours I spent putting that certain look together, I was going to get as many reactions as possible. So in a sense, I have had lots of practice with funny looks, confused stares and silly questions. It does make me sad when I am met with prejudice because it tells me that that person hasn't looked at me with critical thought or at least considered the source of whose wearing the outfit. I certainly don't expect everyone to like what I have on but it would be nice if people thought "Oh, wow! That outfit isn't for me but she really has her own sense of style". That is all I can ask for. Just accept it for what it is and not to be mean or rude about it.
At the same time, if I have made someone do a double take and look at my outfit and they think something like... "Wow! That is fun and different. I don't know if I could pull it off but I like it" then I have achieved what I set out to do, which is have people think outside the box.
(Incidentally, I saw two girls checking out my cats eye glasses in the variety store last night. After long looks and some deciding Girl #1 says: "Wow those are so crazy but so cool!" Girl #2 says: "I wish I could wear something like that". I felt proud and accomplished at the same time. However, I wished I had told her that she CAN do it too!)
If you are going to be a renegade in anything you need a wee bit of a thick skin and be able to stay true to your convictions. It is tough when you live in a place that doesn't always embrace something different or adventurous but as cliche as it sounds it is important to stay true to yourself. When we live in a world that is constantly embracing conformity, it is so important that we have gals who are willing and eager to present themselves to the world with their own sense of style. I think that by wearing vintage and embracing vintage looks and style we are helping to ensure that there continues to be diversity within the fashion food chain. Big box corporate fashion regularly dominates over mainstream trends and so often women get caught up in wearing only what the mainstream media says they should be wearing and (in my opinion) creating a very frightening homogenized sense of what is acceptable and fashionable. What is acceptable is VERY different from what looks good ie. low rise, muffin top creating jeans.
We need lots of creative gals to come out wearing their wonderful vintage and vintage inspired outfits to show that there isn't just one way to look good no matter what your shape and size. It can be difficult and sometimes isolating not to see yourself reflected in your community or environment , I know. But, stick with it because the rewards of being true to your own sense of style and self are far more rewarding than not. There will always be people out there who have something critical to say when someone has an alternative style. If they can't see the beauty of you and the effort that you have put forth then that is their loss, not yours. We can never make the nay-sayers happy so do your own thing, live your life and have a wonderful time doing it! :)
If you're in London, Ontario you can see Lisa at the adorable Weezi Studio at 204 Richmond and Albert St. If you're elsewhere in the world, find her sweet treats on Weezi.com and etsy