I used to wear vintage a lot when I worked in a corporate office. While most of the time I looked wonderful (even if I say so myself!) there was always a fine line between looking great yet professional and being known for my funny clothes rather than my on point Power Point skills!
So how do you get this right? Here are some tips to wearing vintage that will make you stand out for being a cool chick rather than a fancy dress fancy.
1. Start gently with accessories
The best way to start is to choose vintage accessories with modern clothing. Think structured smart kelly bags and vintage jewellery. Another great accessory is a silk scarf tied at the neck. This way if you lose your cool, you can always whip them off. By starting gently in this way you can gauge their responses – but I bet they will all think you look great!
2. Choose a classic fit
There are many types of vintage fashion and some will work better in the office. A 1940s tea dress and a 1950s fit and flare dress will fit in much better than a 1960s mini dress or a 1970s maxi boho dress. Of course, I hate to define rules with vintage, but I do speak from experience! A good idea is to wear the vintage version of clothes that are worn by others; I bet there is someone there in a wrap around fitted dress so a 1940s or 1980s version will work perfectly too.
3. Beware of full on pattern
If you love pattern (which I do!) be careful how much you wear at the office. I remember wearing a really bright over the top pattern and it was all they talked about all day! While you may not care, I didn’t want that to be still happening when I was presenting to senior stakeholders. Don’t shy from pattern totally though: maybe big pattern but muted colours, or small pattern in bright colours.
4. Add a smart blazer
Everyone wears a blazer of some sort to work so why not choose a vintage one. Every era produced beautiful styles – I love my 1950s jackets which I wore with a wide midi skirt and kitten heels. Remember to add a vintage brooch!
5. Pussy Bow blouses work perfectly
While you don’t want to look like Miss Moneypenny, a chiffon blouse is perfect for a professional look. They are on trend this season, but us vintage folk have always been wearing them! And the best thing is that they look great with a pencil skirt, a full skirt or wide leg trousers. They also look great underneath a pinafore style frock.
6. Consider a 1980s secretary dress
Again, without looking like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, a 1980s secretary dress works well. Add a cool belt to nip in your waist and a blazer and you are good to go. Get the fit right though as sometimes these don’t flatter especially if they have an elasticated waist.
7. Mix vintage with modern
Wear vintage tops with modern skirts, or modern shirts with vintage skirts. If you don’t feel confident going the whole way, mix and match with modern fashion.
8. Don’t look like you’re off to a dance hall
Now us vintage girls love glitz and glamour but be careful you don’t overdo it in the office. Try hard to leave the full on sequins at home although small detailing of course will look lovely.
9. Be comfortable
Make sure you are comfy in your vintage fashion as for many in an office, you are sitting down all day. Choose something that doesn’t heavily crease or feels too tight at the neck.
10. Ease them in gently!
And finally, ease them in gently to your vintage. As point one, start with a handbag. Add a blouse, then a blazer…before you know it you will be wearing head to toe vintage and they haven’t even noticed!
But most of all, as I always say: have fun, be yourself and do what you feel comfortable with. These are not hard fast rules either, as you can literally wear what you want!
What do you wear to work?
p.s. I’ve been shortlisted for a Cosmo Blog Award! This is truly amazing but I NEED your votes! Im on page 8 of the voting form! Find it here