Style Me Vintage: Clothes: A Guide to Sourcing and Creating Retro Looks isn’t due out until next week, but I have an advance review copy, so I’m going to tell you if it’s worth buying!
I have to be honest and confess that the reason I have an advance copy is that I not only know Naomi from Vintage Secret, the book’s author, but I’m mentioned in the book a few times as well. In a mention on vanity sizing (I’m the industry expert, so ner), on the recommended reading list (naturally) and in the thank yous at the back (which made me smile!)
Fortunately it’s really very good, so that’s a relief!
Like the other books in the series it has the same beautiful matte textured cover. The inside layout uses vintage fabric prints as page backgrounds and has a nice “dip in and outable” feel.
This book is far more text heavy than the other 2 as it’s content is not so easily definable. Thankfully the book steers away from relying on the “step by step” concept of the other 2 books, and instead is a really useful beginners guide to shopping for vintage looks and creating a vintage style.
The “Getting Started” section contains a bit of a general introduction to the world of vintage for those who haven’t dabbled before. It includes a definition of vintage that is (in my opinion, obviously) reasonably fair, putting across the purists view, but acknowledging the collectability of clothes from the 1980s as well as more recent items that will be future classics. This section also includes handy general hints on shopping for vintage, and, importantly, suggestions on how to use it to create your own style rather than recreating others looks.
The main part of the book is broken down by decade, from the 20s-80s. Each section has a shopping list of general shapes and styles, which is handy if you’re going for a general 60s feel look, for instance, and not sticking to only ever buying vintage. It also contains a general overview of the fashions of the decade as well as illustrations of formal and informal looks. Often these kind of books are a little over simplistic, giving the impression that only one look was popular in each decade. In Style Me Vintage there is a representative spread covered for each decade, considering the limited space. The beginning section also contains a reminder that each decades popular styles weren’t confined to that decade, but spilled over into each other.
Finally there is a useful information section at the back. There are discussions of Shapewear and Swimwear, labels to look for, tips on where to shop and the all important recommended reading list! My only comment on this section is that I feel that the “How to get into Vintage Clothes” section might have fit better with the shopping tips at the front, as getting in and out of vintage dresses in changing rooms is a horror I know well!
If there’s one thing I might have added to this book it would have been a section on discussing vintage and body shapes/sizing. Vanity sizing is mentioned (and with a kindly pointer to my blog no less!) but so many women turn to vintage because their bodies don’t fit into the modern mould that a page on fit and maybe a diagram on how to take your measurements would have been a handy addition.
If you’re a dabbler in vintage, or you’ve never quite had the guts to go into a vintage shop at all then this really is an excellent starting point. It gives pointers on shop etiquette, isn’t too heavy to read and looks beautiful. It’s also a great reference for narrowing down what sort of decades you might find shapes and styles that appeal to you in and is incredibly comprehensive for such a small book, which isn’t surprising considering Naomi’s encyclopeadic knowledge!
If you’re already a vintage aficionado then there will be little in this book that will be an amazing revelation to you, but it still contains some handy hints. At the very reasonable RRP of £9.99 it’s certainly still worth getting your hands on as a quick reference for decades you’re less familiar with, or just for that excellent recommended reading list! I also found the labels to look for a handy guide, as I’ve never been a particular label queen and I’m sure I must have walked away from some astonishing bargains because I didn’t recognise the labels.