Ground Zero Dressing…
I’ve been wearing vintage clothing since I was “just a slip of a girl” – and was that girl who wore her Mum’s shoes, from back in the day, along with a fabulous op-shop find to lectures with the other students in jeans and t-shirts. I think my love of such clothing came from the times when I would watch old, classic movies with my Dad and be blown away by the beautiful and glamourous women in them – also I had a couple of uber-glamourous aunts which may have also have been a large factor!!
It definitely set me apart, but being a touch on the spectrum and having a tough Scottish mother who brought me up strongly not to worry about what others thought meant that I ignored that side-eye then, much as I do now …
When I ventured into my career in Education I would often be queried about my clothing, and my appearance in general tended to be a point of some discussion amongst both the student, staff and later parent, bodies.
I found myself being a strong female role model for those who wanted to exercise their creative bent through their clothing or looks in general, and looking back, I feel that it contributed to so many of the positive relationships I was able to cultivate throughout my career – even though my training was in English and History rather than art or textiles!!
Tips On How To Look Authentic – as in authentic for you!! 🧐🤗🥰
The most important thing to have is a bit of attitude – the confidence to wear what you love and what feels good on you! It doesn’t matter if the whole world is wearing blue jeans, a striped t-shirt and a blazer – there’s no reason why you can’t slip on a fabby fifties or forties dress and some heels … as long as it is what you want to do!!
I wear jeans and contemporary clothing a lot of the time, but I also wear retro, vintage and pre-loved clothing because I feel good in it – and trust me, people have a sixth sense and can feel your confidence and joy in wearing alternate fashions! If you wear the groovy clothing of years gone by and it doesn’t sit well with you after all, you can always stop wearing it or tone it down.
I have to say that my outfits – although they do get some strange glances as we live in a tiny Australian backwater – generally are well received and are often excellent conversation starters as people are keen to find out more!
Another thing to remember if you’re worried about your clothing looking costumey is that you don’t need to put together a retro outfit in its entirety – you can wear elements of a period that you favour, like the shoes or shoe-style, a skirt, a jacket or accessories like gloves, sunglasses, brooches, lingerie and hats. Also, really isn’t all clothing costume anyway? A lot of people wear what everyone else is wearing to “blend in” and their outfits are their costume of choice. Life is too short to not find joy where you can – and if wearing clothing from a past time makes you happy then grab it with both hands!!
All of the things that I wear I have generally collected over many years although this early eighties dress does a forties style is a new pre-loved vintage purchase. I have never worn this colour, generally sticking to vibrant jewel colours or black, but I couldn’t resist the beautiful pleating in the skirt and the sweet neck and waist tie and I was pleasantly surprised that the colour suits me so well!!
I felt comfortable to really pile on the whole bit for this look – the first time we’ve been out for lunch since early March and added my tan fishnet stockings, leather gloves, retro-style heels in a similar sage colour, big sunnies and a scarf and faux fur jacket for when the breeze came up as we are in the middle of winter here in sunny Australia. The outfit was more forties than eighties and that’s what I was going for so I was happy.
I don’t do my hair in the forties or fifties styles – mainly because I wear extensions ( I’ve had no end of trouble getting my hair back in condition following the breast cancer but I remain ever hopeful) and I generally find it a bit tricky, to be honest, but I do stick to the red lipstick.
It’s important to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, which is why I often get my retro dresses altered so that they feel, and look, perfect on my shape now. In the end, it’s hard not to look a little like you’ve been playing dressing-ups in your Mum’s wardrobe, but when it’s all said and done that’s ok isn’t it? Isn’t fashion a bit of fun? I mean if you’re in a conservative corporate environment, maybe not, but there’s always your weekends!
And for your education, in relation to the Black Lives Matter campaign in Australia:
Thank you for joining me in my little corner of the web and I’d love to hear what you think about the notion of costume and so on in the comments below!
LizzieJune 11, 2020 at 5:57 pm
Ahhhh! You look so gorgeous in that dress!
donnadoesdressesJune 11, 2020 at 8:43 pm
Thank you, sweet Lizzie – I appreciate you making your way over to my little blog!! I hope you’re being kind to yourself and wish you a pleasant Friday and weekend! 🧚🏻♀️❤️🐝
LizzieJune 12, 2020 at 4:52 pm
Aww yes 🙂 I love the message behind this and I always look forward to your vintage looks. You’re one of the few people that pull it effortlessly!! Hope you have a lovely weekend <3
donnadoesdressesJune 13, 2020 at 12:43 am
I’m so glad you come in my little blog – I feel very humbled that someone of your ilk comes in and kindly comments!! Thank you so much dear Lizzie and enjoy your weekend!!
Omaye AdukuJune 11, 2020 at 8:12 pm
Love your boldness about speaking out for the Black Live Matter movement. You have a great platform and you’re using it to inform you readers. Amazing.
I just got a new wig and was going to die it my regular jet black, but your hair colour is giving me different ideas. Might have to pop to the beauty store to buy some new hair dye.
Love that green outfit, it really suits your hair colour. Plus, you’re always so positive.
donnadoesdressesJune 11, 2020 at 8:25 pm
Thank you for your comment – I really value that you’ve commented, particularly about the Black Lives Matter reference I make in the post. I’ve always been outspoken and quite political – there’s no grey area in relation to this disgraceful and appalling issue and I’m not a fence sitter. Courage is what’s needed and it’s been my experience that this is so often the thing that’s missing from our society. I hope that by speaking in my own way that others are inspired, at least to consider, some of what I’m raising. I am a very small account but I refuse to remain silent on my values. Have a wonderful Friday and weekend and thank you again for your support,
Omaye AdukuJune 12, 2020 at 7:35 am
Love your everlasting courage! A very rare trait today but you always rise to and above the occasion!
Wish you the best!
donnadoesdressesJune 12, 2020 at 7:36 am
Thank you for your very kind and generous comment!! I wish the best for a lovely weekend!! 🧚♀️❤️🐝
yourtrueselfblogJune 12, 2020 at 8:46 pm
Hi, Donna – Costume equals your true self being expressed so the world knows who you are. Too bad many people have attitudes towards those of us who express ourselves. You are truly unique and stand out from the crowd. We women get more and more brave about doing this the older (and wiser) we get. That’s why I say on my blog that age doesn’t matter. We can dare to be the person we perhaps didn’t dare to be when we were younger. So style corresponds to who we truly are inside. Once our personality shines in our outfits, our character is defined….In theater, costumes are created to show exactly who a character is. So if we show exactly who we are in real life, that would be our costume if we were in a fantasy. But we are IRL so it’s not a costume until someone writes us into a story. Lol! P.S. Your Instagram repost for Black Lives Matter is awesome! The slogan now needs to be amended to something like All Lives Matter, since aborigines, Indians, etc., all need to be treated with respect and reparation. – Angie, http://www.yourtrueselfblog.com
monikaJune 14, 2020 at 1:39 pm
You looks really fab 💚💚 Have a nice weekend!!
TamaraJune 15, 2020 at 3:19 am
Donna, is this your newer site, then? Beautiful dress, btw!
donnadoesdressesJune 15, 2020 at 3:21 am
Hi Tamara, yes this is the newer site – love discovering these vintage treasures. I hope you’re doing ok!! Sending love and positivity to you!! 🙏🏼❤️
TamaraJune 15, 2020 at 3:27 am
❤️ ❤️ ❤️
ToniaJune 15, 2020 at 1:23 pm
I love this post, your points about vintage dressing are great and i’m grateful you made reference to how black lives matter.
donnadoesdressesJune 15, 2020 at 9:18 pm
I am grateful for your beautiful comment, Tonia – thank you! There’s no doubt that there needs to be change in regard to the treatment of people of colour the world over and that it’s been a long time coming. I support whatever they think they need to do because the way things stand currently is completely unacceptable, but then I don’t have to tell you that – it’s just devastating that we are still in this dreadful position so many years after the likes of the Kennedy’s and Martin Luther King Jr lost their lives to this issue. It’s well past time!! Vintage dressing but not vintage values. Take care my strong and beautiful friend!
Autumn ZenithJune 17, 2020 at 10:35 am
How right you are, my dear friend! I’ve adored vintage fashion my whole life and began wearing it in earnest in my early to mid-teens. I wore mid-century vintage (and vintage reproduction) attire almost exclusively until my 30s and can’t begin to tell you how many times I had people ask me if I was sporting a costume/in a play/an actress or model/similar.
I was totally used to it and rarely phased by these questions, but I will admit that it has been a touch nice to not receive as many since I began to expand what I wear further and embrace my eclectic side with a wider range of fashion choices in recent years.
This is such a lovely, becoming dress. The keyhole neckline tucked beneath an eye-catching tie neckline is such a fabulous touch and a perfect example of why, no matter how my style evolves, vintage will always be a part of my wardrobe (they just don’t make ’em like they used when it comes to clothing!).
Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life
donnadoesdressesJune 17, 2020 at 10:08 pm
Thank you for sharing your experience regarding vintage clothing. And those questions can be funny and a little awkward at times.
I’m comfortable wearing a variety of styles and being eclectic, as you say, as it gives me greater options to express myself.
Enjoy the rest of your week and thank you again for your support and kind words, Autumn!