Vintage/Retro Style for the Hourglass figure

As a 15/16 year old I aspired to the tall, slim aesthetic of current fashion. I wanted to dress like Kate Moss, Sienna Miller (boho chic was in) and Keira Knightley. The messy festival look appealed. I could kind of get away with it. My boobs were at a C cup and I was a UK size 8.

kate moss

Kate Moss: Not an hourglass…

But as I passed the 18 mark and entered my twenties, my body started to change. My C cup bras were replaced by E cups but unfortunately my taste in clothes did not change. I carried on with “relaxed-fit” t shirts, layering with chunky cardigans and squeezing myself into skinny jeans. So in the past few years I’ve grown dissatisfied with the wardrobe that used to excite me and it’s frustrating to browse through hundreds of untailored clothes in shops. In that time I realised I was an hourglass and that current fashion trends are not flattering for my shape. The hourglass is supposed to be the idealised type but that’s not to say that shopping for flattering clothes is any easier!

The poster girl for the hourglass shape is Marilyn Monroe. She looked great in all kinds of waist-hugging dresses. Formal occasions are quite simple for me. I throw on a dress or a pencil skirt and I’m ready to go but for everyday I prefer a more causal and comfortable style  (at university or when shopping for example). Perhaps hourglasses will always have to look a bit more formal than everyone else in the room. We can’t pull off anything loose-fitting so to look good we have to look neat. No boho-chic for this hourglass!

marilyn monroe hourglass

Trinny and Susannah, the slightly annoying duo from What Not To Wear, suggest the styles illustrated below. This is obviously all very suited to 40s, 50s and early 60s style. The options are very classic looking, meaning that hourglasses will indeed look quite dressed up if they dress for their shape.

Vintage hourglass

The list of “don’ts” is also very enlightening. (from Bodyshapestyle.com)

Baggy clothes – baggy clothes are never a good idea for anyone but where a Column or Pear might be able to pull it off you will not. You must work with your shape for best results and that means fitted clothes.

Tops with extras – avoid an flounces, frills, bows or other decorations on your tops. Also be aware of printed t-shirts. What looks great on the rack may take on a life of it’s own when introduced to your breasts.

Big belts – you have a short waist so putting a big belt in it will make it entirely disappear.

Pointy shoes – a pointed shoe will contrast with your curves and make you look curvier, something you don’t need any help with.

It’s quite simple really. Always fitted on top. Fitted or flowy on the bottom.

Hourglass inspiration

Rita Hayworth <3

rita hayworth hourglass

Sophia Loren

sophia loren

Brigitte Bardot

bardot hourglass

Transitioning from Modern to Vintage: Starting Small

It’s a bit tricky when you realise that you would like to move to a more vintage look. If you have a wardrobe full of modern clothes, only the bravest and wealthiest can afford to replace everything at once. The rest of us have to be patient and “make it work”. So I decided to make a list of small ideas or habits to adopt to gradually transform into vintage goddess.

Experiment with vintage hair styles – Vintage hair styles may require more time but it certainly doesn’t cost much to get started. With just some bobby pins you’re already on your way. You can also speed things up with curling irons or by choosing a quick updo.

 

Wear lipstick everyday – It’s a cheap way to add a vintage touch to your look.

lipstick, life

Find a vintage style icon – This will help you pinpoint your style for when you end up going shopping. Choose someone you could imagine living your life and with a similar body shape to you. 

rita hayworth

Wear stockings and garters instead of tights/pantyhose – A simple habit to change.

Bettie Page

Start with accessories – With accessories you needn’t worry about fit, which is great! A string of (fake) pearls, some vintage brooches or a 1950s bag is a risk free purchase. They’re relatively inexpensive and easy to work into a modern gal’s wardrobe.

elizabeth taylor pearl necklace

Take up vintage hobbies – A hobby like knitting has two advantages. One, you learn a new skill, two, you might end up knitting yourself a new wardrobe! Other options: dressmaking, embroidery, crochet, quilting, listening to old radio recordings, collecting antiques.

knitting pattern

Cook with vintage recipes – Try Vintage Recipes for some ideas or check out Charlotte’s Domestic Goddess tag at Tuppence Ha’penny for her experiences of cooking from old recipes.

vintage-family-dinner-e1283721457662

If all else fails hold your head up high and wear a smile. – If the rain flattens your hair, your hat blows off and you misplace your vintage bag, remember when stripped of your vintage regalia, it’s your attitude and the way you treat other people that make the biggest impact.

audrey hepburn unicef

I love the 1960s

I’m loving 1960s fashion at the moment. Probably a combination of window shopping for late 50s early 60s sewing patterns and having come across a lot of 60s influence in fashion magazines. Check out Rose Byrne in the March Glamour UK. I love the prim and proper, coordinated pastels.

Rose-Byrne-in-Glamour-UK-2013

Rose-Byrne-in-Glamour-UK-2013

wpid-10302_septimiu29_RoseByrne_GlamourUK_March20139_122_409lo.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the 60s because they offer so much variation sartorially. It ranges from traditionally feminine attire to the wild, eclectic mods and hippies. It’s a rainbow of style :)

jackie kennedy

audrey hepburn

brigitte bardot

wpid-mp-1.jpg

mod

joni mitchell

joan baez

janis joplin

hippies

Style alert: Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel (1932)

I watched this film because Greta Garbo is in it but I’m afraid Joan stole the show in this film. I thought that Greta Garbo overacted a bit and sometimes her accent was so heavy I didn’t know what she was saying.

Although Joan Crawford spends the whole film in the same dress, it’s chic enough to not matter. The hat is just gorgeous too.

joan crawford grand hotel

 

joan crawford grand hotel

 

Beautiful hair as well.

joan crawford grand hotel

 

Greta is my current classic Hollywood girl crush. She’s so beautiful it hurts! In Grand Hotel she plays a Russian ballerina and spends most of the time moping around in her room. Hence there’s not a lot of fashion to behold. Hair and make-up is great though.

There’s the dressing gown.

greta garbo grand hotel

 

The tutu…

greta garbo grand hotel

 

And the coat…

greta garbo grand hotel

 

The film itself I’d give a 7 out of 10. I’ve seen better.

 

In praise of 1930s trousers

katharine hepburn pantsmarlene dietrich, pants

These two ladies knew that there’s nothing like a good pair of trousers. Since I’m currently recovering from a knee injury, I decided to swap my skinny jeans for some palazzo trousers. Honestly, I don’t know why everyone isn’t wearing them. It’s like the glamour of wearing a swishy maxi skirt but you can still knee attackers in the groin!

In current fashion, the palazzo style seems to be a recurrent sub-trend, with only the most experimental giving the look a go. But I’m telling you, THIS has to stop:

eliza doolittle skinny jeans

Because THIS is awesome:

palazzo pants

“Did I bring a plus one? Why yes, my pants.”

Style alert: Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday (1953)

The off duty princess look. Simple, comfortable and elegant.

audrey hepburn, roman holiday