It’s no secret that I love second hand shopping. I can’t walk past a charity shop without ‘popping in’ (read – emerging an hour later with armfuls of stuff) and my favourite Sunday morning pastime is not reading the papers in bed, but getting up at 6am to wade through the mud of a car boot sale field. The excitement of finding a bargain is too great to miss, and I never come home empty handed.
The downside to my passion for second hand clothing is that I often get swept up in the moment and end up with items that leave me clueless. A sleeveless denim jacket springs to mind – save it for an 80s fancy dress party, maybe? Or the two-sizes-too-small-and-SO-not-me DM boots (which I actually sold on eBy for a tidy profit, so there is hope). More recently, it’s this burgundy pleated midi skirt that’s got me stumped. Bought on a whim because I love the colour and it has a vintage label (I LOVE old labels), it’s hung in my wardrobe waiting for its first outing. And there it stayed for weeks, because every time I looked at it I could only see one thing – old lady.
The calf-length, pleated polyester skirt is quite synonymous with OAPs. The demure length, muted colour and entirely opaque fabric (backed up by an underskirt) is the everyday uniform for many mature ladies, and so styling one for your average 20-something is no easy task. But, with the addition of a few key pieces I think I’m about there… here are my tips for making any old item look on trend:
- Accessories are VITAL. Very few old ladies wear perspex necklaces. Go for bold pieces inspired by modern design in bright colours
- Hitch it up and belt it in – vintage trousers and skirts always look better when they sit on the waist (as they were usually designed to do so). Adding a belt will define your shape and help the item stay in place
- Choose heels over flats – especially when wearing clothing designed for someone a fair few years older than you are. A chunky heel will stop legs from looking frumpy under those modest hemlines
- Mix with modern basics – never underestimate the power of a grey marl tee or well-cut blazer
- A bright lipstick never fails to cheer things up if you’re feeling a little dowdy