Please note: Yes I have been neglecting the blog, but rather than talk about all the boring stuff that I have done – tafe theory assignments, friends visiting from out of state, hubby injuring his back, me needing day surgery, dealing with emo teenage daughters, being sick and my eldest daughter is about to audition for the Australian Ballet School – I thought I would just jump right back in.
About six weeks ago I did something radical….I got rid of everything in my wardrobe I didn’t LOVE, that didn’t fit *right now* and knew I would never wear. I have done several wardrobe clean outs this year and this was the most brutal, as I even got rid of a bunch of beautiful hats and vintage dresses, not because there was anything wrong with them, but because I realised I don’t want to be a collector. I want every beautiful vintage piece out there to be worn and loved. (exception: I hope at least a few museums catalogue some goodies).
Miss Fairchild and the divine Cat from Audrey Scarlett Vintage
Yesterday I visited the “Way We Wear” vintage fair in Williamstown. I spent the entire day there, mostly hanging out with Cat from Audrey Scarlett Vintage. The first two hours I spent trying stuff on. Cat and I are very similar sizes and both have mega boobs (see the great boob off HERE) and she works hard to ensure she has stock from an Australian size 4-26. While I was willing to try on lots of things I refused to buy anything I didn’t *LOVE*. Not because I am poor (I am, but given I have no other vices – I don’t drink, do drugs, smoke, have a car ect – I can generally find a way to afford things I really want), but because I can’t bear the thought of something sitting unworn and unloved in my cupboard.
I realised this even more spending the day with Cat in her stall. I saw the same pieces tried on over and over again. I saw *meh* and squeals of utter delight. I saw many a girl try on dresses that I had tried on earlier (and that I had *meh’ed* – totally not a word but whatever) and get that smile, the one where you can’t believe something makes you feel and look so good. I saw them run their hands over the material (and themselves in it) and stand looking at themselves for quite sometime. I saw them happily hand over money and take home dresses, that I had tried on myself and looked fine on, and know they were going to wear them and LOVE them.
SEE! That is the look I am talking about!!!
As a plus size girl I know how hard it is to find something that both fits and doesn’t make you feel frumpy. I am not just talking vintage either – modern plus size seems to be either disco wear that looks like a sequin factory threw up on it (don’t get me wrong I love sequins) or stuff designed for the over 65 set. The same goes for vintage (well, mostly there are a lot less sequins and a lot more frumpy old lady clothes).
I also met girls at the very start of their vintage journey. A few of them started wearing repro because they couldn’t wait to start dressing vintage, and thought it would be too hard to buy in their size. Believe it or not, I have only just started buying actual vintage clothes in the last year. I decided, being a big girl, I couldn’t possibly find vintage in my size (without even looking). So I started out with a pair of beautiful navy blue gloves….my first vintage purchase back in February, 2011.
My first vintage purchase – a pair of dead stock navy gloves…this bag came not long after
I then moved onto cardigan clips, as I wore cardigans every day. Then came my beloved red spilene 60s bag. I bought a few other 60s bags but ended up ditching them as this one is *perfect* (holds my water bottle, my purse and a paper back!). Then there were hats and glasses and more hats. I started only wearing clothes that looked vintage.
Then last year a friend came to visit and handed me the most beautiful wool houndstooth pencil skirt, in my size, made in Melbourne. Oh how I adore this skirt (and yet it hasn’t made it’s blog debut yet! I also adore the person who bought it for me at some op shop and just *knew* it was me. From that moment I was DETERMINED to actually wear vintage. (Thank you to my perfectly wonderful amazing friend Veganopoulous )
Ms Veganopolous, while your secret identity remains safe with me, credit where credit is due my lovely friend
My first vintage dress was bought from the divine Lilly from the Frocks & Frou Frou blog. She had a wardrobe cleanout and listed two vintage dresses and a beautiful black beaded vintage cardigan in my size. I snapped them up and they are still some of my favourite pieces.
Which leads me to another topic – the vintage community and vintage sellers. The vintage community has been amazing to me. I love that we all keep our eyes peeled for things we know others will like and let them know. I have had sms’s with photos and been surprised with goodies and I have found myself doing the same. Yesterday I saw lovely friends helping each other out with quick borrowing of cash to snap up the pieces they just had to have. The sellers are also so passionate and caring. I have had etsy sellers go out hunting for hats they knew I would love and giving me first dibs before listing, I have had sellers email me when they get something in they think I will love and sellers go out of their way with months (with an emphasis on the MONTHSSSSSSS) long laybuys and instalment plans and holding things for me.
I know this is a bit all over the place…back to my cleanout
The first cleanout I did got rid of all the modern clothes I wouldn’t need any more as I had replaced them with vintage. The second was to get rid of anything that didn’t fit or didn’t suit me. The third was everything I didn’t love.
The last one was both scary and liberating. It was scary because while I have so many beautiful skirts, I don’t have many tops. And by not many I mean for awhile there it was none (I now have 1). I got rid of all my old “round the house” clothes (with the exception of one pair of jeans – my last *just in case* piece). I got rid of the 20 old t-shirts and $8 mishaped and pilling cardies I had for pjs (even as someone who is home/bed bound 99% of the time does not need 20 pairs of pjs). I finally got rid of my two pairs of *just in case* heels. (I don’t wear heels). I threw out my old bras and undies with holes in them.
I then proceeded to have a panic attack because WHAT IF I RUN OUT OF TSHIRTS!?!?!?!
A month on and I still haven’t missed any of them. When I go to my wardrobe I don’t have to sort through the *this won’t fit me* pile or the *I never wear this because it’s not me* pile. Every time I get dressed I smile and do the same things the girls did in the mirror yesterday. I smile, I run my hands over the fabric and admire myself. I feel good. I feel happy. My clothes are perfect for me.
Now the challenge for you lovely ladies is to let go. To go through your wardrobe and keep only things you love. If that is just two dresses then make it work. Sell your old things and use the money to buy new pieces you need. Organise a swap with your vintage loving buddies. Try on every single piece and ask two questions 1. Does it fit me? 2. Do I LOVE it? If the answer is no to either, it goes. Don’t just stop with clothes. Go through your bags, gloves, hats & knickers. If you can afford to – give them to your fellow vintage friends (well not the knickers…), if not list them on ebay or etsy or hold a blog sale.
Vintage clothes deserve to be worn and loved. Let go and and someone else will find that piece and love it to death.
Miss Fairchild xoxo (who is off to donate my last pair of jeans…I don’t need any more *just in case*)