December 2, 2009

Seven stunning vintage holiday season outfits

With December now underway, it’s time to take to think about the bevy of holiday get-togethers, both large and small, that may be looming on the horizon for you. From office shindigs to Sunday afternoon cookie baking parties, Christmas lunch at Grandma’s to a swish cocktail gathering, there is something ingrained in the festive spirit of the season that makes you want to dress up and really sparkle!

Whether you prefer to go all out (think head-to-toe sequins or yards of taffeta), shine on a small scale (a beaded cardigan, say, or a gorgeous pair of satin high heels), or meet somewhere in the middle (a shimmery brocade sheath dress, for example), few amongst us are sour on spicing up our wardrobe for the winter holiday season. Some may find that they already have a trove of fantastic pieces to pull from their own closets and drawers, others might be in need of some immediate shopping to supplement their winter garb, and others still may have a full closet, but feel the pieces there are getting a bit ho-hum and in need of some snazzy new companions to keep them company.

Whatever the case may be, I’ve compiled seven outfits, inspired by different types of vintage styles, to help inspire those days and nights in the coming weeks when dressing up is on the bill. (I myself tend to veer into the small to moderate amount of flash category, but when it comes to beautiful dresses with feminine touches, there’s no limit to how fancy I’ll go!)

Because the holiday season is already enough of a drain on our poor wallets as is, I’ve tried to keep the bulk of the items in these lovely looks on the more budget-friendly side (please note that the prices for all items in this post, unless otherwise specified, are in US dollars). It makes a lot of sense to approach your party wear with your pocketbook is mind, as the fancy pieces you purchase now may not get a great deal of use throughout the rest year, thus making their cost per wear higher than those of your more “everyday” type of garments.

If you feel like splurging on yourself however, now is the time! Treat yourself to a brand new (and by “brand new”, I mean “new to you”, the item itself may very well be vintage – and all the better if it is!) dress, string of beads, glistening brooch, elegant hat, or killer shoes. You’ve been good all year, so why not give yourself a little present this holiday season, too?

{Chronically Vintage's 2009 Holiday Fashion Guide}

~ The Sophisticate ~

Always impeccably dressed and on time to any event, the sophisticate favours elegant pieces in timeless shades that will see her through many Christmases to come. Strong lines and crisp tailoring are favourites, too, but she isn’t a minimalist by any means and enjoys the ingrained beauty of a regally inspired frock as much as that of a simple LBD.

{Long sky blue vintage evening coat with oriental inspired “frog closure” at neck , listed as fitting a “medium or large”, currently on sale for $30.00 from etsy seller Undone Eclectic.}

{Vintage faux pearl and gold toned metal clip-on earrings, $5.00/pair, from etsy seller Boxer Loving Lady.}

{Blue velvet, short sleeve 1940s dress with beautiful rhinestone detailing, fits up to a 35 inch bust/28.5 inch waist, $115.00 from etsy seller Planet Claire Vintage.}

{A forever classic, Chanel No. 5 in a 3.4 ounce bottle of Eau De Parfum, $115.00 from Essence of}

{Navy blue and gold toned 1950s Margolin box purse measuring 8 inches long by 6 inches wide, $26.00 from etsy seller Bajue Boutique.}

{Stripped black and dark blue peep toe 1950s Herbert Levine heels, fits a size six, from GlamourSavvy.}

~ The Jitterbug ~

It’s as if you were born with the swing era in your blood. You love 1940s dresses and shoes, you own more bobby pins than you can count, and you’re always ready to cut a rug. Your style merges war era practicality with Hollywood glamour, part Rosie and part Rita, your holiday look could easily be home sewn or from Macy’s, but no matter what, it has a truly timeless feel to it.

{1940s golden wheat hued straw hat with red grosgrain ribbon, measures 20 inches at the interior point of the ribbon, $70.00 from Damn Good Vintage.}

{Dior lipstick in shade #622 “Graffiti Red”, 3.5 gram (0.12 ounce) tube, $23.50 from}

{Gold toned (vermeil over base metal) floral leaf brooch with red and clear rhinestone accents (swivel pin back), measurements not specified, $16.00 from etsy seller Carmen and Ginger.}

{1940s two piece red and gold crepe dress with matching belt, blouse fits up to a 38 inch bust/29 inch waist (skirt fits up to a 28 inch waist), $55.00 (for all three pieces) from etsy seller Little Things Vintage.}

{1950s “Kelly style” red, gold and black beaded handbag with black Bakelite handle, 11.75 inches long by 8 inches high, $169.00 from etsy seller Archivia.}

{Red 1940s velvet peep toe shoes with ankle straps (deadstock), size 8.5, $125.00 from etsy seller Planet Claire Vintage.}

~ The Gamine ~

Whether young on paper or at heart, the gamine falls head-over-heels for pieces that are sweet and airy, ethereal and delicate. She may sport a shoe with a stacked wooden heel, but the body of that shoes is bound to be made of silk, satin or another gentle material. She loves chiffon, bows, jewels in her hair, and styling her outfits like those looks one finds in the outdoors-in-a-meadow fashion shoots of couture fashion magazines.

{Handmade peach and peacock feather headband style fascinator with gold toned metal and rhinestone detail, $15.00 from etsy seller Plumes et Fleurs.}

{Hand woven, pastel faux pearl flapper era necklace, 36 inches long, $12.50 from etsy seller True Colours For You.}

{Gold toned fan shaped vintage compact made by (and signed) Henriette, $95.00 from Michelle’s Vintage Jewelry.}

{Beguiling 1940s peach hued tulle and lace formal, full length dress, fits up to 42 inch bust/31 inch waist, $84.00 from etsy seller Fab Gabs.}

{Pale dusty pink and silver beaded 1920s purse (that was made in Germany), 8.5 inches long by 4.5 high, $24.00 from etsy seller Vintagous.}

{Peach (pale pink) t-strap peep toe, AK Anne Klein shoes with a 3.5 inch tall heel, available in modern foot sizes, $49.99 from}

~ The Bombshell ~

Alluring, playful and perpetually channeling her inner pin-up girl, the bombshell adores pieces that showcase her sensuous curves. She veers towards either skin-tight skirts and dresses or those with copious amounts of volume – perhaps requiring a crinoline to hold up their abundance of fabric. Her favourite accessories are the lingering scent of her signature perfume and a mega-watt smile which is always dressed in red lipstick.

{Mauve and taupe hued rose and raspberry red jasmine blossom floral hair clip, measures 6 inches long, $32.00 from Retro Glamour Girl.}

{“Leopard Love” velboa faux fur vintage inspired capelet (stole) with black tie bow, one size fits all, $38.00 from etsy seller Talulah Blue.}

{Wiggle style burgundy velvet dress with a portrait neckline, available in stock in size “small”, $115.00 from Babygirl Boutique (on a personal note, I’ve been lusting after this particular dress for months!).}

{Shiny black vintage patent leather quilted handbag on a delicate silver chain, 9 inches long by 6.5 inches high, $22.00 from etsy seller ebielli.}

{Seemed, 15 denier fully fashioned stockings (thigh highs) with a classic point (French) heel available in black (as shown) or nude, £17.75 (UK pounds) from What Katie Did.}

{Black satin 4 inch high wedge heel shoe with rosette detail, available in sizes 6 to 12, $48.99 from Retro Cuties.}

~ The Sexy Secretary ~

Long before the office pool gals from Mad Men burst on the scene you were rocking the sultry secretary look to the max. With a penchant for pencil skirts, upswept hairdos, and prettily manicured nails, you love to extend these same style ideas to your holiday finery, adding in a touch more eye make-up and perhaps one of those swanky suit clad Sterling Cooper style gents on your arm.

{Bright blue velvet vintage pill box hat with bow, measuring 21 inches at the brim, $35.00 from etsy seller Becky Drolen Vintage.}

{Shiny blue and soft cream floral clip-on earrings with rhinestone and faux pearl details, $9.00/pair from etsy seller Mean Old Bags.}

{Silver toned, stretch band ladies vintage Bulova watch (note this timepiece needs a new battery and possibly some other remains to set it working again), length measures 5.5 inches before being stretched, $44.00 from etsy seller Bajue Boutique.}

{Light aqua blue 1950s satin wiggle dress with matching bolero jacket, fits up to a 34 inch bust/25 inch waist, $105.00 from etsy seller Sara’s Attic.}

{Vintage silver hued, top clasp purse on a chain strap, 9 inches long by 5 inches high, $8.69 from etsy seller An Eclectic Collection.}

{Gorgeous 1960s multi-coloured silk (I’m guessing) brocade flats (with a half inch heel), fits a size 7, $20.00 from etsy seller Funky Fugal Fashions.}

~ The Girly-Girl ~

The antithesis of a tomboy, you embrace your feminine side with a force to be reckoned with. From scads of lace to piles of jewelry, floral prints to soft, luxurious fabrics, you seek out and gleefully sport pieces that personify the elegance of ladies wear to an absolute tee.

{Long, soft white/ivory faux mink fur wrap (stole), measures 65 inches long by 14 inches wide, $55.00 from etsy seller Romancing Juliet.}

{1950s coral pink lace, short sleeve party dress with cap sleeves and a velvet bow accent at the waist, fits up to a 32 inch bust/25 inch waist, $68.00 from etsy seller Cheap Vintage.}

{Ivory white hued vintage wrist length gloves with pretty floral embroidery detailing, measurements not specified, $28.00 from etsy seller Blueberry Deluxe.}

{1950s vintage clutch purse with a silk flower vignette behind a layer of plastic overlay surrounded by a gold hued metal frame. Purse measures 11.5 inches long by 5.5 inches tall, and is $45.00 from etsy seller The Greedy Seagull.}

{“All My Love” 1950s style golden brass hued metal charm bracelet, measures 8 inches long, $89.00 from Babygirl Boutique.}

{1950s pink and green rose print heels with rhinestone detailing on the front, size 7.5, $32.00 from etsy seller Planet Claire Vintage.}

~ The Christmas Queen ~

While you’d never in a million years risk being caught dead in a tacky Christmas sweater, you utterly adore embracing the colours of the season and weaving them not only into the holiday decor of every room in your home, but also into the pieces you wear when gathering to celebrate. From the red of Santa’s suit to pine needle green, you’re as decked out and ready to shine this season as a string of vintage Christmas lights!

{Early 1950s green velvet hat with rhinestone trim (labeled made in France), 11 inch diameter, $36.00 from etsy seller Babylon Sisters.}

{1950s festively wrapped Christmas gift set of clip-on earrings and a (swivel clasp) brooch in gold toned metal and plastic, $24.00 (for the set) from etsy seller Carmen and Ginger.}

{Three piece set of vintage (1930s, 40s and 60s) red and green Bakelite bangle bracelets, $44.00 (for all three) from etsy seller Bakelite Bakery.}

{1950s emerald green velvet and satin dress with tulip (bubble) style skirt, fits up to a 35 inch bust/25 inch waist, $135.00 from etsy seller My Favourite Vintage.}

{1950s golden lucite and woven reed handbag with lucite handle and clasp (and a white “spill proof” vinyl lining) in excellent condition. Measures 10.75 inches long by 8.75 inches high; $65.00 from etsy seller BBBDesigns.}

{1940s Daniel Green peep toe slip on heels (mules) in a sparkling golden fabric with rosette details, fits size 6, $110.00 from etsy seller Peaceforevermore.}

After putting together this delightful selection of looks, I suddenly have the intense urge to send out party invitations and don an evening dress! While I wait for my RSVPs to come back (naturally you’re all invited), I’d love to hear your thoughts on these styles.

Do you identify with some of the fashionista profiles above or does your winter holiday wear veer in an entirely different direction? Whatever your taste in festive garb, I hope that you all get a chance to dress up this season and celebrate to your heart’s content!


  1. Oooh! Want want want! I'm feeling gamine today- but who knows, I may be bombshell tomorrow. xxx

  2. I think the Gamine is my favorite. They are all awesome.
    Blessings, andrea

  3. Girly girl is my favorite. So hard to pick because I LOVE all of your choices!

  4. post didnt work the first hope it doesnt double! BUT..I will take the blue velvet number with the cute red one (shoes too ofcourse) after...thanks for making me smile this morning with my tea here! :)

  5. oh my goodness! I am drooling over that blue velvet dress and the peach formal and the wiggle dress!!!! wonderful finds Jessica :-)

  6. Oh my! I love your blog! I wish I could wear so many of these outfits you've put together! I love the peach one and the sexy one! Too bad I live in a small mountain town where their idea of dress-up is a "good" pair of jeans! I can't believe there are so many great vintage shops out there! I am definitely a new fan of yours!:)

  7. Even though I have always been overweight, I am a bombshell at heart. Being sexy is being a woman. I enjoyed all the catagories, and loved window shopping as well. Loved the post, too much fun. And thanks for visiting my blog. Hugs, Kathleen

  8. Hey Jessica. Wow. These were all great. I love them all. It was so neat how you matched up the different ensembles. All the items really fit in so well. I hope you're doing well today. Glad you enjoyed my "Something" post. Cheers!

  9. Jessica,

    These are lovely! I must say the Gamine is my favorite but I'm feeling a rather strong pull to the Bombshell as well :)

    Happy Wednesday,

  10. I love these collections, especially drooling over the hats! lol

  11. So much beauty, all in one spot! I love that you included perfume and a lipstick, too.

    I am particularly in love with Archivia's purse and the red wedges from Planet Claire, so I guess I'm a jitterbug baby. ;) Loved this post!

  12. I'm the sexy secretary (shocker...being that I'm a bookkeeper) but that Christmas dress would be in my closet too!

    Damn girl - your eye! You've put these outfits and all together perfectly!

    Makes we want to go shopping...and I hate clothes shoppping!

  13. These are so beautiful! Everything!I adore the ivory gloves!
    greetz, x

  14. Beautiful outfits, I want every one of them!

  15. Hi Jessica, This is my first visit to your lovely blog and I truly enjoyed it. Your post brought back many memories. ♥

  16. Wonderful post Jessica!! Bombshell is my favourite (I love that red, sexy dress!) but I also adore the sophisticate, sexy secretary and the girly-girl. It's so much fun to think about different characters when putting together an outfit :)

  17. What a fab post Jessica. Where do I begin ? The Dior lippy is to die for. That Emerald green dress is just ......exquisite. Thanks for an inspiring post !x

  18. I am loving the peacock feather hair pin or brooch or whatever it is hehe. I love it paired with the peachy pink color, it's a really nice contrast :)

  19. Love them all...Thank you for your comment, a cross stitch of quotes would be a sure sight to be seen...

  20. All of these were lovely! I have only one affair that calls for dressing up, on New Year's Eve. Normally, dressed up for me is generic black trousers that aren't jeans and a blouse that isn't a t-shirt....but this year I'm going to be as vintage looking as possible for this event. Hopefully, anyway!

  21. WOW! This is your best post, ever, I think! Amazing finds to drool over! As usual, I find it impossible to pin down which style is most me (I'm just all over the map and love everything pretty and sparkly)...I'd take a little from each look, I think (though the Fab Gabs dress is sort of calling my name).

    Have a wonderful day, you sweetest doll, you!

  22. Wow, this post is amazing! I've been looking for something to treat myself to this Christmas, after reading this there's so much that i want i don't know where to start!
    Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog hun x

  23. I think I'd like the bombshell look please! So gorgeous. I love those shoes. Oh, but the last pair are to die for. I so wish I was a size 6! I don't think I could squeeze my size 9's into them lol. Thanks for the sweet comments on my new award honey. Have a great day! Kori xoxo

  24. What a stunning stunning collection of goodies - heck! I want them all!!!!
    Thankyou so much, I enjoyed every image! (and will continue to lust after that green velvet and satin dress that would only fit me in my dreams!!
    Thank you :)
    Irene x

  25. I agree with The Baroness, I think this is one of your best posts ever too darling! :) I find it hard to pick which one I am too, but I would say I'm in between the sexy secretary, the girly girl, and the bombshell! I can never leave home without my red lipstick! It's my trademark, and if I'm not wearing it, you know that something is wrong with this gal ;)

    p.s. Thank you so very much for your kind words and wishes sweetie! I'm hoping for better times and better health too! =D

  26. Wow, you have come up with some amazing outfits!! You are making me want to shop! But alas, I must resist, this time of the year is always so expensive for me!

  27. I love these pieces:) really amazing. That´s a wonderful post.

  28. Fantastic post Jessica! I'd have to say my ideal would be the girly girl, but each style contains fabulous enviable pieces.

    Hope you had a fabulous day,

  29. This gorgeous post was epic Jessica! The blue velvet number is calling my name. : )

  30. OMG! Lovin' YOUR BLOG!!!! Great style, great voice. I'm so glad you found me!

  31. What a fantastic post! I love ALL of the outfits.
    -Andi x

  32. You are remarkable!! how you ever found all these outfit's and what fashion sense!!! I love them all!! My girly side wants the girly outfit.. my bad side wants the bombshell!! hmmmm,, which one... do I really need to choose?? Have a great day Jessica... enjoy your weekend!! Hugs to you ,,Tracey

  33. Jessica! Thank you so much for including one of my pieces in this collection, I absolutely LOVE the way it is themed! While I love that gals are all thrilled over "The Gamine" I have to say my personal taste swings hard to "The Sophisticate" and "The Jitterbug." BOTH pieces from PlanetClaire just make me drool! I'm so glad I don't have size 8.5 feet or my wallet would be significantly lighter right now!

  34. This is a very good post!
    I will pick the gamine or the jitterbug ;)
    I love the details on each outfit. So carefully joinned!

  35. OMG! Love Love Love! I have been thinking of what I should wear as well...Great ideas you have. I got one of those items..the Chanel N. 5 I picked it up about a week ago, it'as my first bottle ever. It also came with the shower gel and lotion I will be posting it soon on my blog.

    Your post is making me want to shop! I love that fan purse. I found a pointsetta hair clip, it was acutally a napkin decoration clip but it can be put in the hair, I got it in three colors. I think I will wear that. I love the blue velvet, to die for... It is one style for everyday of the week! I think you captured all my personalities!

    Thanks so much for posting! Much Love!

  36. I love so many things here, I don't even know where to begin...


    P.S. I tagged you on my blog, Jessica. :)

  37. What beautiful outfits, the Danie Green peep toe shoes are to die for ! Thank you for you comments on my blog, I always enjoy reading them :)

  38. Oh my, what a wonderful post! So inspiring & festive. I'm longing for everything you listed & just love how you did the fun categories!

  39. OMG! So many vntage things. I just adore every shoes, bags, earrings, tha Chanel things. Everything! *-* You're always making wonderful post for us! =)


  40. Ohhhh these are all SO lovely! I honestly think that I would love to take a little sampling from each style! That salmon colored 50s party dress blew me away though!

  41. Great post - I'd love to have ALL these lovely things to choose from in my closet!!!

  42. Such stunning choices! One can't help but want to play each style - well if I start now I can get all the outfits in before Christmas! Have a wonderful weekend my dear :-)

  43. Wow, what a gorgeous collection of outfits you put together. You have a very good eye for fashion I must say! It was so fun to look through all these vintage pieces. Ah I want them all!
    I especially liked the girly girl and the sexy secretary outfits, such great combintations of accessories and dresses!

  44. Eye candies! Eye candies! I surely am a Girly Girl, but I like a lot of other pieces here too ;-)

  45. Warm greetings, my wonderful dears, thank you so immensely for your beautiful (and deeply kind) comments. This article was a thorough delight to put together and I was so delighted to discover how many of you enjoyed it. I appreciate your feedback and lovely thoughts so very much, everyone!

    Huge hugs & oodles of gleeful holiday wishes to one and all!
    ♥ Jessica