The dress that I wore was a 1950s-1960s cotillion/prom style chiffon formal gown in sea foam green, unlabelled but possibly a Sylvia Ann creation (I've since seen a near identical gown marked 1950s and with an original Sylvia Ann tag). Because of a restoration that was done on the dress prior to my acquisition of it, the skirt is slightly slimmer than its original late 1950s/early 1960s full-skirted look.
|Photos from Vintage Ireland|
|Photo by John Coveney|
|Photo by John Coveney|
|Pearl & I |
Photo by John Coveney
It was my second time winning a best-dressed prize at an event in just a few months, so it really made my year. As I'm preparing the outfit for the new fair, I'm dwelling on some of the things that I've learned about vintage event dressing, that perhaps you'll also find helpful, especially if you are entering the dress competition whether at the upcoming Vintage Ireland fair this weekend or any other vintage occasion!
Tip No.1: Wear Authentic Vintage
Some events such as Vintage Ireland's fashion fairs require the outfit to consist mainly of authentic vintage (as opposed to reproductions or "vintage-inspired") garments, so it would be absolutely important that you have something vintage on you on those occasions. If the venue doesn't have any requirements I feel that one still holds an advantage by wearing the real vintage thing because it's usually rare and unique compared to most modern reproductions; unless, of course, it's an event celebrating modern retro-style designs or your own sewing which would be a different matter.
Tip No.2: Consider Choosing a High-Quality Vintage Boutique for Your Main Piece
I got my dress from Daisy and Stella Vintage on Etsy which specialises in Early to Mid Century special occasion dresses, and I must admit that it was a somewhat bigger purchase than most of my vintage day dresses and took some deliberation. But I went for it as it was not to be easily found elsewhere, and I felt safe purchasing from a shop with consistent quality, great taste, and strong customer relations. It definitely has a special place in my wardrobe, along with the likes of my precious 1930s Marshall Fields velvet opera coat and 1950s ballet dress.
Tip No.3: Accessorise Well
Film Fatale's Halloween party), and my Clark black suede shoes.
At times like this it really helps to have a collection of vintage jewellery and accessories such as shoes, handbags, and hats to choose from, which can be slowly built up from small purchases here and there. They don't have to be expensive (I found my earrings from my friend Moira's stall at a vintage market for only a few Euros) as long as you've figured out what you like and works with your general style. I myself am actually still trying to find my way with gloves and hats as well as needing to acquire more of those. I would have further included gloves with the ensemble had I been able to find a pair that was completely suitable.
Tip No.4: Be Yourself and Dress What You Like
After all the technical stuff, it's time to return to the most important thing: what you really want. It's easy to get lost in a mountain of vintage styles and to feel pressured to assume a certain look, but don't forget that whatever look you are trying out, you can bring your own personality to it and you don't have to replicate anyone else either from the past or now! And at any time if there's a look that appeals to you, I say, go for it. When I first attended the Vintage Fair last spring, I wore a 1980s does 1950s floral cotton day dress (a bit Laura Ashley style) with a boater hat which got me a spot prize though didn't win a place in the competition, but that was what I was feeling comfortable in, and I don't have any regrets about my it. It's my personal joke that I'd wear practically any style for modelling projects, but when it comes to dressing for myself I'm really quite stubborn with what I happen to like. Recently, for example, I'm most inclined towards the 1940s Film Noir look and that's what I'll probably stick to.
(The next Vintage Fashion & Decor Fair by Vintage Ireland is happening on Sunday April 6, 2014, 11:30 am - 6:30 pm at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire near Dublin. You can find the event page on the website here or the Facebook event here. It's 7 Euros in and a special rate of 5.50 Euro is available with the coupon either on top of the Facebook event or here. Highly recommended for an afternoon of shopping, lounging, vintage make-over, music performances and prize-winning!)