A few weeks ago, as 2011 was packing up its bags for good, I was contacted by a deeply sweet, stylish gem of a gal named Charlotte (pictured below, looking cute as a button!), who hails from Brazil. She wanted to interview me for her delightful fashion blog as part of a series she runs there called Top of the Vintage Style.
Past entries in this interview series have included some of my favourite vintage blogs, and I felt thoroughly honoured that she wanted to peak inside my mind - and vintage world - for a little while.
Here however, is the English version of the interview that was conducted via email. I loved answering Charlotte's questions about my love of all things vintage, and hope you'll enjoy reading my replies.
Where are you from? Where do you live?
At the moment I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with my endlessly sweet husband, Tony, and our darling little grey tabby cat, Stella. Originally however, I'm from the province of British Columbia, where I lived in various towns and cities while growing up. After that I spent a couple of years in (the province of) Alberta, then living abroad in Europe for the first two years of my marriage, before we landed here in Ontario.
Since when you've been dressing up on 'vintage style'? Tell me some more about your fashion icons from the past.
I've been interested in vintage clothing and the general subject of history for quite literally as far back as I have memories. When I was a little girl (about six years old) I asked my mom to make me a poodle skirt, because I was already enamoured with the 1950s, which she sweetly did, and I ended up wearing that once I got home from school just about every day for the next couple of years. Jump ahead to my teen years when I began buying my own clothes and the first places I started shopping were the little thrift and consignment stores in my hometown.
My high school was located on my town's main street within walking distance of a few such shops, so sometimes on my lunch hour I'd pop down the street to try and find some charming 40s or 50s pieces (or at least ones that looked the part) before returning to my next class after lunch. I look back at those fun memories very fondly.
Though I do have some modern style garments, the bulk of my wardrobe since I've was about 16 years old has been either genuine vintage items from the 40s and 50s (my two favourite decades of all time), reproduction vintage, or modern pieces that channel the look and feel of those two decades. I'm especially drawn to Dior's New Look, so many of the items in my wardrobe have a highly feminine late 40s/early 50s style to them.
My biggest style icons from past have actually always been everyday women, people like my grandmothers and their friends who lived ordinary lives, got married, had children and were wonderful people who today inspire me constantly. I love imagining that if I was suddenly transported back in time to say, 1950, I could instantly blend in with other ladies on the street. There's something special about that thought and the way that it makes me feel deeply connected with the past, even though I didn't actually get a chance to live the decades I adore most first hand.
Do you use to create your own outfits (like sewin' or handmade...)? Where do you usually buy/find those beautiful things?
So far I've bought my vintage clothing, but dream of one day getting a sewing machine, improving my sewing skills (I can sew a bit, but don't claim to be an expert sewer at all) and hopefully making some of my own garments. I've been collecting vintage sewing patterns for a few years, as I've come across ones I liked, so I'll definitely be ready to go when I do get a sewing machine.
When I was younger (teen years and early 20s), I bought most of my vintage clothing from second hand, thrift, consignment and vintage stores, as well as a few pieces from garage sales and flea markets. In more recent years though, I've primarily been sourcing my vintage items online (particularly from eBay and etsy, but also from other assorted websites).
How do people behave/react when they see you walking on the street on vintage style?
Living in Toronto, one encounters all kinds of people with countless different styles, so usually my vintage fashions don't provoke too much of a reaction. Occasionally I'll have someone come up and ask me if I'm going to a party or wedding, or if I'm an actress, but generally people are polite and don't say anything that isn't positive.
One of my favourite things about wearing vintage looks is how happy I know it makes some elderly people, who really get a kick out of seeing a woman dressed in the styles of their youth. One time a few years ago an older woman on the bus said to me that I was the "first well dressed young person she'd seen in fifty years" and then continued to keep complimenting me on my vintage outfit. I was really touched by her kind words and delight in knowing that how I dress helps bring back fond memories of decades past for some people.
Tell me something (vintage related) that you want to have badly.
There are so many things on my vintage fashion wish list, but one that is right near the very top for me would be a well fitting vintage wedding dress. When my husband and I got married in 2004, we had a very small civil ceremony and I didn't get to wear a formal wedding dress because it was a causal affair. That day was endlessly special and meaningful for both of us, but we hope to one day (possibly for our 10th or 15th anniversary) have a wedding vow renewal ceremony, which we'd like to essentially be like the traditional kind of wedding we missed out on initially. If that happens, I am definitely go to try and track down my dream vintage wedding dress!
Indicate a blog (or pages) that you really love reading.
As the mile long blogroll on Chronically Vintage attests, there are tons of amazing vintage blogs that I love to garner inspiration from, so it's tricky to mention only a few. That said, some of my perpetual sources of inspiration include Andi B. Goode, By Gum, by Golly, Tea with the Vintage Baroness, The Glamorous Housewife, Vixen Vintage, and Yesterday Girl. A new edition to the vintage blogging front this year (note: technically last year now) that quickly became one of my must-reads is The Musings and Adventures of a Pinup Mama.
Another huge source of online inspiration for me is the thousands of wonderful vintage photos and images (ads, illustrations, etc) that people have uploaded on Flickr. I've gotten a lifetime's worth of vintage inspiration from Flickr alone.
♥ ♥ ♥
Menina Maca is a sartorially inspiring, upbeat, highly fun blog that encompasses both vintage and somewhat more modern style, though always with a definite eye to the past. If you haven't popped by before, I encourage you to do so - with a little help from Google Translate, you can even translate Charlotte's writing from Brazilian into English or whatever language you'd prefer.
I want thank Charlotte dearly for her interest in Chronically Vintage and myself. It was a complete and total pleasure getting to know you and your stellar blog! Muito obrigado!