The DIY Vintage Fashionista

As Autumn is quickly coming to an end, we are only weeks away from Winter being upon us. Of course I wanted one last hurrah for my favorite season of the year before transitioning into featuring winter essentials. Recently we showcased the fabulous Ice Skater Cardigan in Cinnamon from Emmy Design (Click Here in case you missed it) and now the infamous mustard is making an appearance on the blog. Today’s feature is for those of you who struggle to find clothing online at affordable prices, let’s talk about handmade clothing!

With prices of authentic vintage clothing going through the roof and reproductions clothing also on the rise, a lot of fashionistas are seeking out affordable alternatives. The answer: Do-It-Yourself (DIY). Homemade vintage 50’s inspired clothing is quickly making a comeback thanks to talented women like Gretchen “Gertie” Hirsch. Gertie has launched her own line of vintage inspired patterns and fabrics along with offering Charm School sewing classes. I love following her on Instagram and seeing all the gorgeous handmade designs by everyday women like you and me. Many ladies are now starting to sew their own clothing and sourcing fabulous prints from local fabric stores like Jo-Ann’s, vintage thrift shops, online at Fabric.com, Spotlightstores.com, etc. For beginners (like me), start by picking up a couple basic vintage swing skirt patterns on Etsy or Ebay. Tip: Circle, gathered skirts are easiest and practice on scrap fabric to build your confidence behind the sewing machine. If you are fortunate to live in an area that offers sewing lessons, I highly recommend you check them out. I will be signing up for classes in the New Year.

Last year, I was frustrated at the lack of colourful autumn leaf print designs so I enlisted the help of a friend to source fabric from Jo-Ann’s to have a skirt made to measure. She sent me photos of the various prints available and we both chose this gorgeous all over maple leaf print. For extra savings, sign up for online coupons and shop at the end of the season to pick up fabric by the yard at ridiculously low prices. Luckily my friend is super talented behind the sewing machine and whips up gathered swing skirts like a boss. Until I start dabbling on my own handmade designs, I will rely on her amazing skills to make affordable one-of-kind designs for me.

Many people do not realize that most of the authentic vintage that has stood the test of time 6 decades later were handmade by housewives from the 1950’s. Fast fashion is not made to last more than a season and forces the consumer to spend much more year after year on clothing. Not to mention, Fast Fashion is filling our landfills with more trash that won’t break down for decades sadly. I highly encourage everyone to take the plunge to learn a new skill and fill your closets with oodles of handmade clothing. This is one of my personal goals to discover in the new year.

 

How to Look Fabulous for Under $100.

It is no secret that our love of vintage and pinup comes with a hefty price tag. With the rising prices of vintage reproduction clothing, many of us have to cull back our shopping habits and/or seeking more affordable alternatives. Let’s get real…most people cannot afford to spend upwards of $150 on one dress but we all know that our style costs substantially more than the “fast fashion” that is readily available in our local malls. We “collect” quality made clothing that will last for many years unlike the disposable nature of retailers like Old Navy, H&M, Forever 21, etc. Today, I will showcase two fabulous ensembles that cost under $100USD and share helpful tips to find great savings to stretch your dollar even further!

Look # 1 – $100

Dress ~ Dolly & Dotty $43USD (£32.99)

Shoes ~ BAIT $32USD (Clearance)

Brooch ~ Luxulite $25USD

IMG_8487 IMG_8489 The Vanessa dress is a great staple that can be styled in a variety of ways to create versatile looks all year round. With this being my first dress from Dolly and Dotty, I was unsure of their sizing and found my measurements (b36w28) to be in between the 10 and 12. Taking a risk, I went with the smaller size 10 since the 12 would have been quite big in the waist. With the fabric not being stretchy at all, I found it to be quite snug all over, especially in the bust (this style appears to run on the smaller side of the size chart) and I definitely recommend sizing up on this one. Tip: Sign up for the Dolly & Dotty newsletter to save 10% off your order.

IMG_8498 IMG_8494Since I always love a pop of colour, I opted to switch out the check belt with a nice cherry red that I had from another dress. Tip: Mixing and matching accessories is the key to creating a variety of new looks with your wardrobe no matter the size. The BAIT Dennise Wedges have always been my favorites since they are super comfortable and coordinate with pretty much everything including vintage and reproduction. Tip: BAIT is now available on Zulily for insanely low prices. You can also nab their end of season styles on Black Friday for double the savings. Adding a novelty brooch to any outfit really adds a little pizazz and ties everything together. Luxulite is available on Etsy and at some of your favorite online retailers so you can nab them with other items to save on shipping. Tip: Check out your local Antique Stores & Thrift Shops to find old brooches for under $10.

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Look # 2 – $92

Dress ~ Dolly & Dotty $52USD (£39.99)

Shoes ~ BAIT $40USD (Sale)

IMG_8518 IMG_8514 Originally I really wanted the Darlene dress in beige and green but it sadly sold out in my size as soon as they were restocked. The mint/coral was a great second choice seeing as it’s a fabulous and unique colour combination. Tip: Branching out from your go-to favorite colours helps to diversify your wardrobe. The Darlene appears to run more generously in comparison to the Vanessa and the fabric has a little bit a stretch as well. The size 10 fit me well with room to spare in the waist. The medium weight fabric makes this dress perfect for the cooler seasons and comes in a variety of colour combinations that are flexible to wear year round.

IMG_8537 IMG_8513The Darlene is a great style that can go from day to night. Tip: Simply change your accessories and shoes to transition your daytime look to evening glam. Thanks to the unique colour blocking below the bustline, it creates the illusion that is a two piece ensemble. Once again, I found that my BAIT Demi Wedges matched perfectly and I got them at PUG during their Black Friday Sale in 2013. Tip: Make a wishlist of items that you can mix & match but don’t often go on sale (make sure they are stock items available year round). Have your wishlist ready when planning Black Friday purchases and make a point of prioritizing the retailers that only ever have a big sale once a year. You’ll save a lot more money! A fun and inexpensive way to accessorize any outfit is with costume jewelry. Plastic bangles, fun charm bracelets, chunky necklaces and earrings can all be found at any local thrift shop, tween stores, Etsy, etc. for under $10. Tip: Check out local estate or garage sales, often you can buy costume jewelry in bulk for super cheap.

IMG_8522 IMG_8525Retailers like Dolly and Dotty are creating affordable vintage reproduction designs, while not sacrificing quality like in “Fast Fashion”. With more budget friendly options, we are able to grow our wardrobe and also offer a great starting point for the ladies just beginning to dip their toes in the pinup lifestyle. I am all for finding the best deal and supporting local thrift shops recycling old treasures. There are endless ways that we can look fabulous on a limited budget. My everyday look consists of minimal makeup (ie: liquid black eyeliner, mascara), hair tied up or occasionally straight, with full emphasis on my outfit (dress, brooch, costume jewelry and cute shoes). Pinup is not just about fashion but how one carries herself and exudes confidence.  I hope these little tips and tricks help you look fabulous for less! 😉

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