Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The truly fashionable are beyond fashion. Review of Style Me Vintage by Naomi Thompson

After spending the day with Naomi Thompson, the lady behind Vintage Secret, I was immediately compelled to read her new book ‘Style Me Vintage: Clothes’.  And this I did – cover-to-cover in an hour!  I was really impressed with the tone of the writing.  It wasn’t dumbed down, nor was it elitist as often vintage writing can be (e.g. ‘if you don’t already know, we’re not going to tell you’).


The day started off with Leslie and I driving down to Naomi’s lovely flat in Portsmouth.  With views of the sea, it was the perfect place to conduct our interview.  We chatted a while about Style Me Vintage, The Vintage Mafia and generally about vintage clothes.  But I’m not here to relay the entire conversation – that’s what we have our cameras for!  What I’d like to focus on today is her book.  As I said earlier, I couldn’t put it down and found it really engaging. 

The book is in two parts, firstly a decade-by-decade guide picking out the key looks, features and details of each period ranging from the ‘20s to the ‘80s.  The second half contains hints and tips for the general care and purchasing of vintage clothes.  It also has dedicated sections on foundation garments (or shapewear) and swimwear. 

The book features a few stock photos, but mainly contains photos taken just for the book, with models some of you may recognise, (did someone say the Vintage Mafia?)  The clothes shown are mostly original, including some absolutely stunning 1940s hats and 1920s frocks, but I was pleased with the inclusion of some reproduction clothing as well.  Clothes from companies such as Heydey! and a personal favourite, Puttin’ on the Ritz , are an informed addition.  The ease of care and more uniform sizing of reproduction clothing make them a viable alternative to buying purely vintage, but one that is occasionally frowned upon by some of the more diehard vintage wearers.

I also liked the way each decade was split into day and evening looks, as it is able to show, especially in the earlier decades, how social change could sometimes be slow but precursors to some key looks could be found decades earlier.

There were a fair few tidbits I found really interesting, particularly Laver’s Law and the changes in hemline.  The book is also peppered with famous quotes about style and fashion, my favourite being ‘The truly fashionable are beyond fashion’, Cecil Beaton.

For the uninitiated, there are some indispensable tips on dating, buying and trying on vintage, which are great as shopping for vintage can be rather daunting.  I will definitely be taking a tape measure out with me next time I go shopping, I can’t believe I’d not thought of it before!

At the back there is also a pick of the best vintage fashion blogs, the best sort of places to source your vintage goodies, important labels you may not know and some choice online boutiques.

Overall, (as you can probably tell) I’m really impressed with this book, and I think it will be a boon to those with previous vintage knowledge and those just getting into it.  It comes out on February 1st and I’m sure it will be flying off the shelves (it’s currently sold out on Amazon).  Congratulations Naomi on a superb book.

1 comment:

  1. Forget the London vintage mafia - the south coast is a hot bed of vintage fabulosity! I dream of getting us all together one day. Looking forward to reading Naomi's book and seeing your film. Catherine