Loving & Wearing Vintage

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. 

Miss Fairchild

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 Firchild and Cat from Audrey Scarlett Vintage


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.

Audrey Scarlett Vintage


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.

Miss Fairchild - Sunday Best


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 )

Vintage Wool Skirt

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.

Miss Fairchild - Sunday Best

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*)

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24 Responses to Loving & Wearing Vintage

  1. It’s such great advice, I’d love to have clothes in the wardrobe that fit great but I’m very much still in the “need this just in case” mode. I end up wearing frumpy mumsy stuff, like polar fleece jackets and jeans, when I have beautiful skirts and jackets! Maybe I need vintage velour and terry tracksuits, ha ha…

  2. Love this, had a similar conversation with my mum earlier about only keeping the things you love. It also takes the guilt out of buying something new because it won’t be lost amongst unworn clothes.
    I strongly believe in only keeping vintage you wear. If everyone put their unworn vintage out there it wouldn’t be so rare or expensive!

  3. Katy Jane says:

    I agree, I’ve been selling some of my vintage that wasn’t really me and buying vintage items I’ve always wanted…I just love vintage 🙂

  4. Teresa says:

    Great post Jess!

    Going through two big moves saw me cut and refine my wardrobe but I have to admit… I am and always will be a collector as well as a wearer. I do sell too though so I do only keep the things that fit and suit me.

  5. Oooh, I’m very much where you are at the moment in the “clear out” phase. We’re about to move and everytime I look into my closet I can’t help but feel that I really don’t need two pairs of men’s jeans and some battered old t-shirts for house cleaning duties. Plus, the last clear out we had made me shed a few tears. Trust me, I haven’t missed any of it but seeing my “babies” packaged up to go to a charity shop still stung like hell

  6. Oh sweetheart, I’m so sorry that life has been throwing storm after stressful storm your way as of late. How are you and your DH both doing on the health front as we look towards August? I hope with my heart that the coming month (and rest of the year) is much, much kinder to you and your family on the health front, and all others, too.

    Isn’t it so immensely liberating to do a great big wardrobe clean out like that? A few years back I vowed to only keep pieces that fit me (within reason – I have some things that a touch too big, but which can be made wearable with a good belt), that I love, and which I believe I’ll wear again throughout my life. Once or twice a year since, I’ve gone through and ruthlessly weeded out any pieces that didn’t meet those criteria and have never been more pleased with my wardrobe as I’ve been since taking these steps towards closet bliss! 🙂

    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* Thank you deeply for your immensely lovely, touching comment on my post about Lorena’s illustration. So very true about beauty being in the eye of the beholder. More often than not, when my husband has told me he thinks I look/am beautiful, I’m struggled to believe him (as much as I want to) and have often thought of that classic axiom. I don’t doubt for the tiniest of moments that he thinks I’m beautiful – and I love that fact – I just wish I could borrow his eyes for a while and see myself as he does.

    • Things are improving. Hubby is almost back to normal and apart from not sleeping I seem to be doing ok. Here’s to a healthy rest of the year!

      “closet bliss” that is an awesome way to describe it. Now when I go to my wardrobe there is not a single thing there I don’t love and doesn’t make me feel fabulous. I can’t help but be happy when I get dressed.

      It is hard to believe that someone else sees you as beautiful when you struggle to feel that way about yourself. I too wish I could see myself from someone else’s point of view some days…especially on very down days. ((((hugs))))

  7. I love this blog post. It’s so true! Vintage life is all about finding your own groove and going with it…loving your look, regardless of whether other people do or not. I have recently shed a lot of the items that have hung ‘unloved and unworn’ in my wardrobe. Some were ill-fitting or frumpy. Others were things I bought at the beginning of my vintage journey…most of which weren’t real vintage. It is nice to hob-nob with vintagey people too. It makes me feel more normal- although my oldest and dearest friend informs me that I have never been normal. xx Shauna

  8. Sesame says:

    This post was a truly great read! Your process of cleaning out your wardrobe is similar to mine. Though I’ve been regularly cleaning out my wardrobe since I moved out from home to my first very small student apartment, getting rid of most of my “modern” clothes was quite scary. I still have some “just in case” pieces, but I think they will vanish from my wardrobe with the next clean out. I’ve also started sorting out some of my vintage in order to sell it on Etsy (I still have to create an Etsy shop). Only keep what you love is the mantra to live by, not only when it comes to vintage clothes, I think 🙂

  9. Kristian says:

    So, so much “yes!” here! I have been purging my closet this past year and think I’ve finally hit that point. I have a few items that had been listed on a swap group that I’m keeping to see if anybody wants, but it feels so good to love every single item and feel like most of the items will go together. And, as you said, if you only buy what you love, you won’t regret it. I also find having an idea of what items I want in my closet helps too, for certain things.

    Also, this is my first time to your blog and I love your style!

    • Thanks for visiting lovely! I have a large pile now of to sell/swap/giveaway. I put on a skirt the other day, wore it all day and when I got home it went straight in the pile. I just didn’t love it. It’s a continual process.

  10. urban hounds says:

    Your outfits are really gorgeous, I particularly like the last dress. I have always loved the look of vintage fashions, particulalry the 30s, and I only recently after my 35th birthday started dressing in a lot of vintage and vintage style. I do wear mostly repro because I find it easier to get just what I want, but nothing beats the real thing. I am a modern size or 8 or 10 and I do sometimes have a hard time finding vintage stuff in my size, granted I look mostly online, as I live in the NYC area vintage in the shops is astronomical. I found this to be a really informative post! I will be back to check out this blog again

  11. nessbow says:

    This is a great idea. I’ve been having a very brutal cull of my clothing and accessories lately, and it’s so liberating. In so many ways, I find that having less clothing to choose from actually makes me feel more creative and excited about putting together new outfits. I guess having a bulging wardrobe is just too overwhelming, and clouds your ability to think creatively.

  12. Anne says:

    Fedora Lounge got mere here 🙂

    What a great post!

    Getting rid of vintage clothes is really hard. Especially if it’s a size issue. I have gained weight over the last 1½ 10+ kilo (no job, kinda lazy, sitting to much on the internet, and not excersizing). My waist has gone from 30″ to 34″. So I have a lot of clothes in that size range. Especially around the 30″ waist that is now to small for me – but I won’t sell it – what if I go down a size again and so on…

    On the positive side: I have started selling some of the stuff I don’t like – or know I’ll never fit on etsy 🙂

    And I feel like I moved on from beeing a collector to bying things that really fits me. Now I just need to realize that I don’t need to have 40+ pair of vintage shoes…I mostly use my modern shoes anyways…20 pairs should be more than enough 😀

    • I understand the size issue. I felt the same. But when I finally decided to step off the dieting band wagon and be happy with myself the way I am, I also needed to clean my closet out to reflect the size I am now. For awhile I put all the stuff that didn’t fit, but I couldn’t bear to part with in a box at the top of my cupboard, but the more beautiful things I got that fit me, the easier it was to let go of the old stuff.

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