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Dressing Vintage so as not to Garner Attention

panamaJess

New in Town
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49
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Midwest
I love vintage style but don't like drawing attention to myself. You ladies always look SO amazing...love it, but do you think there's a way to dress vintage without having to hear everyone's comments?
 

RodeoRose

A-List Customer
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415
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Vermont
You could inject a little vintage flair into your wardrobe with modern clothes that have a vintage silhouette or pattern.

When you go all out with vintage or repro clothes, hair, and makeup, I think it's pretty inevitable that people will comment; I say let 'em! If you like the way you look, that's all that matters. And you'll probably get lots of compliments on your unique and polished look, which will more than make up for any negative comments :).
 

Lauren

Distinguished Service Award
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5,060
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Sunny California
I live in an area where no one dresses vintage and no one ever comments that I'm out of the ordinary :) And if they do it's complementary (phew!). But I very rarely go all out vintage- mostly just for special events. Day to day I dress casually by vintage standards- usually wear high waist pants or jeans and button up shirts mostly- might put my hair up in a mini pomp at top and leave the rest down or sport a pony tail, and wear red lipstick sometimes, and carry a vintage purse or wear a vintage brooch. Dressing casual vintage might be a good way to start implementing some elements of vintage style into your wardrobe- or stick with basics that are still classic and throw in fun vintage accessories.
 

Joie DeVive

One Too Many
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1,308
Location
Colorado
Lauren is right that vintage casual doesn't stand out as much. These days, vintage or vintage inspired pants and tops garner much less attention than say dresses. You could also try just adding one vintage or retro item to an otherwise modern outfit. If you don't want attention, in general, I'd say stay away from gloves and hats. I find those to be the most remarked upon items.
 

LittleMissToniJo

One of the Regulars
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132
Location
Boston, MA
I have a few blouses with 40's style collars and puffed sleeves... as long as they don't have huge bakelite buttons or are in some tropical rayon print or something, they just look classic. Of course, what's the fun in that? ;-)
 

VoodooDolly

New in Town
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18
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WA state
I think the key is to go with more classic looks. A 1940s cut dress in a plain color is not at all out of place in most settings, whereas the same dress in red and white polka dot is much more obviously "vintage" to people, and more likely to draw attention. Same with hair. A classic pageboy is period correct, but does not draw the same type of attention as large rolls and bettie bangs with a hair flower.
 

Frenchy56

A-List Customer
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311
Location
here!
To be honest, from my own experience, go with what you like and what feels good, and learn to ignore/ disdain the people who will inevitably be jealous/ ignorant/ downright nasty and act accordingly!

Seriously though, I agree with the stuff about starting off small, say with a polka dot top or a small hair flower or something, if you're unsure. Maybe it's just me being bitter, after years of dressing 'unusually' by mainstream standards, but I think dressing how *you* want to is a hell of a lot more important than the opinions of the general populace (most of whom seem to have very little style, flair or imagination whatsoever, figure that one *eyeroll*).

If you're really interested, there definitely are some elements of my vintage style that seem to get more stares than usual (in case anyone wants a list of things to avoid for the wary/thin-skinned :p):
-gloves
-turban-style headscarves
-pointed cats-eye glasses
-particularly complicated/exaggerated hairdos (well, by my standards anyway :D)
-suits
-anything with particularly exaggerated shoulders
-fur (even faux)
-particularly large hair flowers/accessories
-loafers worn with white socks 50s-teen style

...that's all I can think of right now, hopefully that'll help!
 

Tatum

Practically Family
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959
Location
Sunshine State
If you're really interested, there definitely are some elements of my vintage style that seem to get more stares than usual (in case anyone wants a list of things to avoid for the wary/thin-skinned :p):
-gloves
-turban-style headscarves
-pointed cats-eye glasses
-particularly complicated/exaggerated hairdos (well, by my standards anyway :D)
-suits
-anything with particularly exaggerated shoulders
-fur (even faux)
-particularly large hair flowers/accessories
-loafers worn with white socks 50s-teen style

...that's all I can think of right now, hopefully that'll help!

Frenchy, that really gave me a chuckle.

Here's another "don't" for you.... Forget that you have to run to the bank first thing in the morning and, realizing your sponge roller set *still* isn't dry, put a snood over the whole thing. Then proceed to the home improvement store since it's right there and you need something for the garden...

I get a lot of snickers when I do that. Thank god the girls at the bank know me well! But then, I guess I am comfortable enough in knowing that I will look fabulous later that I don't let it bother me.
 

W-D Forties

Practically Family
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684
Location
England
Hey, the girls in Liverpool can often be seen in rollers whilst shopping! It's not that they are in any way 'vintage', it's just a very 'WAG' thing to do these days.
 

shazzabanazza

Practically Family
Messages
537
Location
New Zealand
I love vintage style but don't like drawing attention to myself. You ladies always look SO amazing...love it, but do you think there's a way to dress vintage without having to hear everyone's comments?

I am in the same boat as you PJ. I dont like drawing attention to myself either. I myself dont dress vintage on a daily basis, I save it for occassions. I do admire the people that dress vintage on a day to day basis and many of the ladies here are very inspiring. As Lauren said, adding a few accessories to a modern look is a fantastic idea. Vintage modern is definately the way to go if your not comfortable with dressing all out vintage :)
 

LinaSofia

A-List Customer
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475
Location
Brighton, UK
I think the key is to build up to it! Like a lot of people have suggested already. If you suddenly one day turned up looking straight out of the 40s or something, that would probably turn a lot of heads! Just build it up gradually, staying within your personal comfort zone, and over time that comfort zone will grow wider and wider until you find yourself looking pretty vintage indeed! I think that's how it is for most people. If you suddenly draped yourself in vintage head to toe when the day before you were in modern clothes, it's just going to feel like you're in fancy dress.

I personally built up to my current full-on everyday vintage-inspired style over about 2 years. At the start I just wanted to wear pretty spotty dresses and gradually that grew and developed, and I feel so comfortable with what I wear that I don't really notice people looking, and if I do, I don't care, or choose to take it as a compliment (whether it actually is or not!) :D
 

Geiamama

One of the Regulars
Messages
201
Location
Cheltenham, UK
Frenchy, that really gave me a chuckle.

Here's another "don't" for you.... Forget that you have to run to the bank first thing in the morning and, realizing your sponge roller set *still* isn't dry, put a snood over the whole thing. Then proceed to the home improvement store since it's right there and you need something for the garden...

I get a lot of snickers when I do that. Thank god the girls at the bank know me well! But then, I guess I am comfortable enough in knowing that I will look fabulous later that I don't let it bother me.

Hahahaha I have been know to do the school run with my curlers still in but then I have been known to run over the road to my sister's during the wee hours in my nightgown and a fur coat!
 

Geiamama

One of the Regulars
Messages
201
Location
Cheltenham, UK
I think classic seperates are the way to go. On a day to day basis I wear a denim knee-length circle skirt (it stands up to the ravages of children, housework and gardening) and pair it with a little sweater or a blouse. If I want to dress it up some I add a pretty blouse. I find it is much easier during winter as no-one thinks twice about wearing a hat or little gloves then.
 

Frenchy56

A-List Customer
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311
Location
here!
Looking back at the list of head-turners that I posted, they're all things that are rarely seen nowadays outside of certain situations, e.g. hats, gloves, large hair flowers are now seen as something one wears in very formal situations, weddings etc. Thus it's not really surprising they garner attention. If you look in the 'Comments you get' thread, it seems like people often get asked if they're an actress/going to a fancy dress party :rolleyes:

I should also mention, though, that since I started dressing retro/vintage, I've had more compliments (in the last 8 months or so) than I have in my entire life. I think :D
 

Amy Jeanne

Call Me a Cab
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2,852
Location
Colorado
I understand not wanting to draw attention to yourself. Not caring what other people think is easier said than done for some people -- it took me years to be where I am now. But if you don't want to draw attention to yourself I would suggest modern clothing in vintage-esque styles. A nice knee-length A-line skirt and maybe a blouse with some billowy ruffles to start. I used to find LOVELY vintage-esque clothing at a shop called New York & Co. Don't know if they are near you.

As for hair, try a side parting with some loose waves. No hair adornments like flowers. I'd wear a clip with rhinestones or no clip at all.
 
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sheeplady

I'll Lock Up
Bartender
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4,479
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Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, USA
I should also mention, though, that since I started dressing retro/vintage, I've had more compliments (in the last 8 months or so) than I have in my entire life. I think :D

This is very true! I am not going to be a head turner in sweats (which I swear I never wear unless I am at or going directly to the gym). I've been told I am "stylish" by at least three women (whom I consider to have good taste). What is better than being called stylish? That is the best compliment I have ever gotten about my clothes.

The thing you have to remember is that if you get negative comments, or get laughed at, it really has to do with the insecurity of the other person. Some people feel like they have to enforce "social rules" or "norms" (or some nonsense) because that is the only way they are able to maintain their own control, power, and personal security in themselves. Some people are just bullies- they have so little control in their lives that they feel they have to have control over others. I know that this doesn't make it any easier when you are getting these types of things said to you, but it is WHY they are saying them. (I actually feel sort of sorry for people who say these types of things, because they probably have such low self-esteem, so little control over their own lives, or very few true friends. That is not an excuse for them acting like an idiot. And some people who stare are curious- they are just too shy to say anything.)

Personally, I have always wore vintage costume jewerly, and clothes with a vintage line, because those are the things that attracted me. You can also do little things, like carry a vintage compact or start using a hanky (lots of environmentalists are doing this now) or wear vintage styled shoes or a nice top (even with modern jeans). I always am wearing at least one vintage thing when I am out, by default.

I do understand not wanting to stand out, and there are times when I don't want to stand out, and I don't do a full-vintage look.
 

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