Oooohh, have I got a massive treat for you today, my sweet dears! For this month's brand new edition of "Meet a Fellow Vintage Blogger", we've hopped across the Atlantic Ocean again and are sitting down to chat with none other than the lovely German lady (pictured below) known to many simply by her vintage fashion blog's name: Just Another Wardrobe Experience.
This highly stylish and very sweet woman has opted not to use her real name online, which I'm totally happy to respect, and as such for this article, I will refer her to by the moniker of Ms. Falcon, as that was the name she shared with me that she'd like to use in this context.
Vivacious, vintage loving, and tons of fun Ms. Falcon is a well known fixture in the online vintage fashion scene and I've been following her delightful, and frequently updated, blog for years now.
With a mad love for 1950s novelty skirts, cute vintage brooches, flea markets, and taking photos of what she often wears to work or out for the weekend, Ms. Falcon has the kind of vintage style that is so relatable, fun, and appealing. I recently had the great pleasure of chatting with her via email about where she scores her awesome vintage pieces, the vintage fashion scene in Germany, what inspired her blog's memorable name, why you should comment on other vintage blogger's posts, and so much more. Read on for all the exciting details!
You're a big proponent of documenting and sharing many of your daily outfits (which is awesome!). Do you sometimes find it challenging to come up with new looks on such a frequent basis? And if so, do you enjoy that challenge?
Thank you so much. No, it doesn’t feel like a challenge to me to create new looks on a frequent basis. I post what I really, truly wear. I don't create fancy looks just for a fancy photo. It is all real, all everyday me! Sometimes more exciting, sometimes less. I don't have a fancy vintage hairdo every day, I don't like to sleep on rollers all night.
Once in a while I get afraid that I'll bore my followers to death with all my office looks – most of my clothes have a regular comeback on the blog, because I don't wear them just once. I wear my vintage regularly. So you might see similar looks again and again.
Your wardrobe has strong 1950s influences and includes many great pieces from that era, but it's clear that you're a fan of other vintage time periods as well. Which decades are currently your favourite(s) and why?
For sure the 50s are my favourite era, right on up to the early 60s. The shape from this time (skinny top – tiny waist-full skirt) suits me best. I also love the 40s, but I have to say I'm not the biggest fan of wearing clothes with wide shoulders. My shoulders are quite wide naturally, and I look a little funny wearing huge shoulder pads. I actually prefer to swoon over beautiful 40s looks on others and stick to the 50s myself most of the time.
I also really adore the fashion of the 20s and 30s. I collect fashion magazines from that time and love to see the drawings, designs, and materials they used to make garments – but I'm not interested in getting dressed in these periods. It doesn’t suit me and it would totally stress me out to deal with even older and even more delicate garments than the ones from the 40s and 50s that I already deal with.
What are a few pieces (e.g., circle skirts, wedge shoes, bangles, etc) that you would say really define your wardrobe?
What defines my wardrobe? All kind of prints. Colourful and bold. Novelty prints. PRINTS!!! :)
When a friend asked me to bring some monochrome clothes for a film noir photo shoot, I was really shocked when I found out that my overfilled wardrobe keeps not more then three monochrome vintage pieces!!! I have to work on that!
How long have you been into vintage fashion?
First I have to say that German definition of the term "vintage fashion" is a little bit different. If Germans talk about vintage fashion, it can also include the 80s and early 90s, not just the earlier eras (30s - 70s) like most Anglophonic speakers use the term vintage.
Talking about vintage fashion like Germans do, I've worn vintage clothes or vintage styles since I started buying my own wardrobe. I always loved finding things at flea markets, charity and vintage shops. But back then I never really was connected to a special era, I mostly mixed what I liked. For sure I went through different style phases, like the 60s-70s in school. Later I fell for the craziness of the 80s.
During this time I really started to look for pieces that flatter my hour glass shaped figure. High waisted was the new word that rolled into my wardrobe. And this was the start for me to slowly, slowly, slowly find my way to the so called true vintage fashion from the mid-century. Actually I adored these 50s styles my whole life, but I couldn't believe, to wear precious old garments all the time. I always thought older textiles needed to be preserved, belong into a museum, not be worn by a girl that rides the bike to work everyday.
The actual change from vintage to true vintage happened during my 4 months time on crutches. I had a broken foot and it healed slowly. That summer I spent most of my time at home suffering. Somehow I started going through eBay like a maniac, buying all the 50s dresses in my size that were out there (even all the dresses that were almost my size). It was something like: "life is short, life can be shitty" – do what you really want to do, wear what you really want to wear! Here we are - some years later with a wardrobe that's overflowing with garments from the 40s-50s and early 60s.
Was there one thing in particular that triggered your love of vintage?
To be true: Probably the boredom of High Street Fashion. My whole life I was looking for something different and I found it in charity shops, at flea markets, and in my granny's closet.
You live in the beautiful country of Germany, how would you describe the vintage fashion scene there?
If you talk about the more modern vintage styles (as in 70s, 80s and early 90s), for sure you might find some vintage lovers all over Germany.
When it comes to true vintage/mid century clothes, I would say there is almost no vintage scene, there might be a few people out there, who wear true vintage clothes and styles – but just a few.
Even German Rockabilly people/swing dancers/vintage enthusiasts prefer to wear reproduction fashions or they sew their own clothes. Most of them look great with their vintage styles, but to me it is not really vintage – but this is just my personal take.
I still don't know why the actual vintage wearing vintage scene seems to be much bigger in the UK, USA or maybe in Sweden or even Norway. Germany doesn't have Vintage Fairs or Antique Malls like Australia, UK or US.
As I live in Berlin, I am lucky to finally have found some people that somehow share the same interest. But Berlin is not Germany, Berlin is a little island full of extreme looks and styles in a country with little interest in fashion anyway.
Does your town/city in particular have much in the way to offer a vintage fan like yourself?
Yes. Berlin has to offer quite a few places that can feed your vintage hunger. Berlin is probably the best city to find Vintage in Germany, anyway! In Berlin there are many secondhand or vintage shops in which you can find some pieces from the mid-century or even earlier decades in between all the 70s, 80s and 90s clothes for quite affordable prices. There are also some specialized stores like Rocking Chair or School of Berlin which carry just true vintage items or mix those with high quality reproduction labels.
As most of my readers know, I prefer a flea market to any other kind of shop. There is nothing better on a Sunday morning than to stroll over one of Berlin’s many markets. If you have a well trained eye for vintage garments and goods, it is hard to leave a flea market empty-handed.
Has it (the amount of vintage on offer in your area) grown considerably since you first started wearing vintage?
Hard to tell, I haven't lived long enough in Berlin to get a real picture about that. I am still exploring the City by myself. I suppose Berlin is famous for it's big vintage shopping scene, but all in all, as I said before, it is more modern vintage. For sure there's more True Vintage around though, because the 40s and 50s have been quite IN during the last couple of years.
Where are some of your favourite places (online or offline) to find vintage fashions?
Some of my favourite shops here in Berlin are BaharBerlin Edeltrash in Moabit and Veist Kleidergeschichten in Neukoelln. Those are actually my favourits. Both shops carry a mix of decades, not just midcentury fashion. Some more shop names to visit, if you can: Made in Berlin/Kleidermarkt, Rocking Chair, Fräullein Glitter, Colours, Resale Thrift Stores. When it comes to flea markets: Mauerpark Flohmarkt, Flowmarkt/Maybachufer, an Flohmarkt am Arkonaplatz.
What are a few adjectives that you'd use to describe your vintage wardrobe?
Elegant - office appropriate - fun - bold.
Like myself, you're very keen on vintage jewelry and accessories. What are a few of your best finds ever in this category?
Naming some favourite pieces when it comes to jewelry is pretty hard for me, as I own tons of vintage novelty brooches, pendants, earrings, and necklaces! I've found them at several flea markets or thrift shops all over the country and even the world, But my all-time favourites seem to be my three red rose pendants, my golden ear hoops (these were a birthday gift from my girls back home) - wait, I just decided to take a picture of my favourites, that's easier :)
On the right side you might spot a silver bracelet with blue glass stones. It is not worth much money, but it has history. I was told it's from the 20s or 30s. My mum's step-grandfather got it in France during WWII and gave it to her later. She handed it down to me this past Christmas.
If someone were to ask me what are my favourite pieces of jewelry I own are in another few years, I might also name the two mid-century sets I got from your shop (Chronically Vintage) earlier this year. I love them so much and wear them several times a week, like I had planned (aww, thank you, sweet gal!). Hahaha, and no, I'm not just saying that because of this interview with you!
And for sure there are some hats I really love. Just recently I found this little purple tilt hat with velvet flowers. I actually thought it would be a late 40s piece, however when I played around with it later at home I found the original tags inside still.
The one tag names the Berlin Store where it was sold, the other tag is from the Reichsinnungsverband des Handwerks Putzmacher‘ (something like "state collective of hat makers") – but it (just) says 'Reich', which means it must be a piece from the 30s or early 40s. Wow, I love pieces that are full with secret stories - especially pieces like this little hat that must have survived the bitter bombings during WWII somewhere in burning Berlin. Now it is sitting peacefully with quite a few other hats sharing its own stories with all of them.
You also have a major passion for - and one of the best collections of, that I've ever seen - vintage novelty print skirts. Do you have any "holy grail" prints that you'd like to find or are you constantly open to just finding new ones that you don't have and enriching your wardrobe with whatever comes your way?
Yes, I spotted a special skirt on Instagram from one of the awesome Etsy sellers there; sadly though it is not for sale: the Seattle Space Needle print from the 1962 World's Fair. As my husband is from Seattle, I really would like to own one of these one day!
Normally I go with what I find and you never know what you might find next. For sure there are a lot of fabulous prints out there I even can't imagine – they just want to be found.
Have you done a lot of vintage shopping in person in countries other than Germany? If so, how did you find they stacked up to the vintage selection in your own country?
I did some vintage shopping in the US two years ago and for sure it's better then in Germany, even if I was a bit disappointed about the small amount of true vintage pieces I was able to find at thrift stores. Those were pretty picked over! But the vintage stores are amazing there. Lucky Dry Goods and Red Light in Seattle or Simply Vintage Boutique in Portland are really breathtaking places if you are used to German vintage shops. The wicker purses you can find in the States in particular are much better then those here in Germany. I can't wait to find some more amazing shops this August, when we go back to the US to visit my man’s family and do a little road trip.
What are a few of the most common comments and/or questions that you receive from strangers about your vintage outfits?
"Oh, your outfit is really beautiful!" or "Does it take long to style the hair like this?" People actually appreciate the way I look and I don't hear mean things a lot. I am just happy if people talk to me, before they take a picture (of me).
The funniest one so far, I heard just last week when a teenage girl said to, me super politely, "You look absolutely adorable, could you please tell me what your style is called?" I really didn't know how to answer in a way that wasn't unintentionally dumb sounding like, "My style is called old-stuff-from-an -overfilled-wardrobe-style". Then I decided to ask her why she needed a name for the style? Ahh, she replied that she would like to check out more people who look like me online. So you know, maybe we do have a new vintage lover out there in Germany.
Do you wear vintage or vintage inspired styles all the time?
Yes, all the time.
What lead you to launch your delightful blog, Just Another Wardrobe Experience?
It was more then 8 years ago when I started this blog. The fashion blogosphere was quite small and different back then. Actually the fashion blogosphere was what I just what I'd always been looking for. Blogging gave me the chance to find other people with similar interests in fashion, to document my outfits on a regular base, and to share them with others doing or enjoying the same thing.
And what inspired its great name?
Good question! Getting dressed up everyday is a new experience each day. To create something new out of the pieces you have in your wardrobe, creating something new everyday is quite the experience, I think, and I wanted to capture this point in my blog's name.
You're an active commenter on many other vintage blogger's sites (way to go, girl!). What are some of the things that you enjoy and are inspired about by taking a hands on role in our wonderful online community?
It is nice to hear that I have a active role. I suppose, it was a little more active in the vintage blogosphere before I started with Instagram. In stressful times Instagram is much easier to catch up and to get in contact with other vintage enthusiasts and it is much easier to find new people.
As I've been a blogger for over 8 years now, I know how much work a blog – or even just one blog post can be. I know how frustrating it can be if you put up an outfit post you really like, that you put a lot of time in taking nice pictures for, then editing them, and then you're lucky to receive 3 comments on it.
I don't get dressed to get comments, but I blog to connect with the world (excellent point!). When this happens to people, it can really feel like no one likes your work and this is one of the reasons why I try to comment as much as possible, to show other bloggers that their work is worth a few lovely words.
Are you a big fan of social media? What are your favourite SM sites?
I am a maniac for Instagram. I am addicted to Instagram. I love pictures. I prefer swooning over a picture then reading text. Sadly, I often do not have not enough time to read (a lot of text). I don't have a Facebook, a Twitter, or Whats ap, as I'm horrible when it comes to social media. I will try to start a Facebook page for my Esty shop though.
When not blogging, taking outfit photos, or at day job, what are some things that you enjoy doing in your spare time/on the weekends?
To be honest, next to my part-time day job and working on the Etsy shop (cleaning, fixing, taking pictures, writing texts, editing pictures) there is not much time left. But once in a while, amazing people ask me to do fun things like modeling for a film noir photo shoot or running the catwalk for a friends vintage store (this will be on the 4th of July …aaaah!).
I miss dancing. Before I broke my foot some years ago, I loved Bollywood dancing and also went to a burlesque class. Now my foot is better again and I should look for a new dance experience. I enjoy reading. For a while now I've totally been into novels from the 20s, 30s and 40s. Books from writers like Irmgard Keun, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Franz Hessel. But most of what spare little time I have before falling into bed, is just spent watching Netflix, checking out the newest vintage themed shows (and others) - my last obsession: Peaky Blinders.
What are a few tips you'd share with those who are new to vintage shopping, be it in Germany or anywhere in the world?
I suppose I've been into wearing old things for long enough to think of giving anyone advice. When I started wearing Vintage, I didn’t had a plan, I just found things and grew into it and I still learning every day.
Maybe there is a something I liked to say though: Dear vintage newbies, dear vintage lovers, when shopping for vintage, please take care about the vintage pieces you try on. If you recognize that you don't fit into a piece, don’t squeeze yourself in. If you get stuck in a dress, ask for help to get out. Otherwise 50-70 years old seams and zippers might break, fabric might rip. Please, close the zippers of an old dress after hanging it back up – an open metal zipper can easily ruin lace or other delicate fabrics.
Sometimes I get really sad when I have my eye on special vintage items in a shop for a few months. I really notice that some people don't give a care about the old, precious items. I really saw a few dresses that got tried on to pieces while hanging in a store for months.
I think as vintage enthusiasts we have to take care of vintage, to preserve it as well as possible, because it is rare, because it is worn history. I think that if someone who doesn't like to take care of their clothes in this way, should stick to repro labels. This is just some advice to try and keep vintage safe and to give the vintage pieces that do still exist the chance to find a new home and a another life, and not to get dumped because they've become all ripped up.
You recently opened a charming Etsy vintage shop called Goody Goody Berlin. What you lead you to do so?
Actually there was the plan to open up a real shop here in Berlin with my husband when we moved back here. Vintage clothes, knickknacks, electronics, toys, and Americana style food - that was the actual plan. After a while we realized that now might not be the best time to open a physical shop in Berlin, so the man and I decided to start up one on online. I was selling on eBay before then, but felt like I need another place to start something more professional. love vintage, I live vintage, why not trade in vintage, too?
What are some of your goals for this shop?
At this point there aren't real goals set. Goody Goody Vintage was started on a small business basis und I will see where it takes me in the future. My main goal actually would be to create a German (and European Union in general) based vintage shop that provided a shopping opportunity without the high shipping and customs costs so often associated with buying abroad for those of us in these countries. True Gemany vintage shops on Etsy are rare, most shops you find there are located in the USA. It's funny to see that I mostly ship my vintage goods to non-EU countries. Hahaha! :)
What can shoppers look forward to finding there?
Goody Goody Berlin Vintage carries mostly clothes, accessories –bags, wicker purses and hats – a little jewelry mostly from the late 30s, 40s, 50s and early 60s. Once in while I will also offer more modern vintage items that channel the style of earlier decades like 80s does 50s pieces. There are also some bric-a-brac items from my favourite eras waiting to get listed, like never used novelty print photo books and art deco powder boxes. Sadly my day job got a bit more busy since I opened the shop, so at the moment I really struggle with listing as many items as I'd planned to.
Thank you again for this wonderful interview, my dear!
No, Thank you, Honey!
♥ ♥ ♥
Really and truly, Ms. Falcon, thank you very much for taking the time to chat with me and for sharing so much of your own unique, friendly, fabulous self with the whole vintage fashion world. You're a deeply lovely person and wonderful blogger, and to those who aren't already following Just Another Wardrobe Experience, run, don't walk right over this delightful blog and do so now.
If you like lots of outfit posts, to-die-for novelty skirts, plenty of great accessories, an a European take on vintage fashion, this Ms. Falcon's blog is truly a must follow for yesteryear style fans the world over!
Be sure to tune in for the next exciting installment of Meet a Fellow Vintage Blogger, when we prance back to North America and chat with a rockabilly loving lady from none other than the most northerly state: Alaska. It's going to be a blast!