At this festive time of year we are thrilled to bring you a guest post by friend of Lesley's Girls- Miss Fanny Darling....
Lesley's Girls invited me to write a piece on nailing a retro look during this wonderful yule time, so I thought I would share Miss Fanny Darling's top tips on pulling off a vintage outfit this Christmas.
The big present giving day is almost here and you'll appreciate (just like me) a bloody good excuse to get on a feel good number for the Christmas work do, friends bash, or simply swanning around on xmas morning looking fabulous.
By day I'm a community manager working on promoting and supporting local Colchester projects. Sometimes, by night, I transform into Fanny Darling (snapped in my balloon act below). A burlesque dancer in the local troupe Helles Belles. Fanny loves to wear vintage threads, to show off, is partial to a bit of striptease, and ensuring she always looks good with retro vibes.
Performing and being involved in burlesque developed through a love of performance art and actually back in the day being a passionate cosplayer... but don't worry you won't find much evidence on the internet. I have also always loved wearing vintage items or inspired outfits, but it can be a struggle to find the right piece straight away. It does take time to find something that fits and looks good. And of course, that's the real draw to a knock out vintage outfit.
Everything I do is on a shoe string. I don't get paid big bucks to perform and I always want to keep things fresh (I can't keep wearing the same thing darling…) so I buy wardrobe staples and bring together vintage accessories to make a modern day outfit ring true with a more timely era such as the 1920s or 40s. So here are my tips:
Turn on the Turban
Turban's are your new best friend. They hide terrible hair dos and they scream sophistication. They can turn a simple dress up a notch to easily compete with the roaring style of the 1920s. You can nab them on ebay super cheap and then bling em up. Grab one as it is on asos or make one from fabric. You can see from the photos of Fanny above, I added a bow, a brooch and some feathers to mine. It now looks like a glorious number (which was all under £5).
These delicious snaps of burlesque artist Eliza Delite above also showcase the true glory of a turban. (And lets break it down, it's a white turban with a brooch on it. And it looks flippin glam ladies and gents).
Don't fear (faux) fur
OK I want to start by saying I don't condone fur farming, or killing animals in that matter. But if you are that way inclined, wearing a vintage fur stole or some faux fur can again, rev up your threads to A+ glamour puss.
I like to wear a fur stole after performing or attending vintage events. But I wouldn’t wear them anywhere else. My Grandma gave me a few before she passed away and I've sourced the rest from vintage fairs or auction houses. The lovely beasts are given a good time out, and it's much better than throwing them into a land fill.
Obviously, if you don't agree, I wanted to state that you shouldn't fear faux fur. It looks fantastic and as you can see from Miss Monroe above and this film still to the right. A simple dress gets an added edge of sophistication when you don the furry stuff. Grab one from vintage shops, auction houses, carboots – believe it or not – or get a faux fur from H&M, asos, or make your own from the local haberdashery shop!
Sprinkle the Sparkle
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but it isn't Christmas without some SPARKLE! There are a whole host of delicious (and disgusting) 80s/90s sparkly numbers out there that can we whizzed on and taken out to showcase your rocking robin skills.
But remember, a simple outfit or set of lingerie (as pictured below) can have some added seasons sparkle if you're short on cash or time. The lingerie set below was from Debhenams which I then sewed some diamonds onto I got from a local haberdashery shop. The dress on the right is an ever so slightly sparkly dress from Topshop. You then combine this with some fur, a nice bag, or a turban and you’ve got yourself a retro outfit there ladies.
You can use this technique on plain dresses, shoes and bags to bring the Christmas cheer to your reliable staples. You can either go out and buy a sparkly number.. or quickly and easily transform what you already have. If you spot a big sparking brooch or ring in a vintage shop - this is a sure fire and simple way to bring some shiny glamour to your outfit in one simple step.
Grab your gladbag
Finally, if you really are rushing around for something to wear, just get a good vintage bag. Like I've said previously, a simple dress can contend with the retro brigade you match it with a nice timeless accessory and bags are the best way to go.
Unlike dresses, tops, trousers.... you never need to worry about one that fits. You can just sling it on your arm and away you go! Here are some examples with two lovely bags I got from charity shops. They make my plain t-shirt dress look a little more sophisticated.
All dressed up with no where to go? If you looking for somewhere to show off your new threads, your savvy accessory skills or that wonderful pair of shoes you got that matches the look? I recommend that nab a ticket for the Helles Belles Christmas Burlesque show on at the St Botolph’s Waiting Room this Saturday 21st December. We’re putting on the perfect event to show you fun vintage girls having fun and the perfect excuse for you to show off your retro look. Enjoy some vintage tease, gin cocktails and a chance to dance to some 1920 – 50s music! Tickets are just £10 via eventbrite or £10 on the door. But spaces are limited!
Cash bar, open from 8.30pm til late.
Expect some Christmas Burlesque and come say hi to me, Miss Fanny Darling at the end of the show and let me see your vintage inspired look! I’d love to see what you’ve done with my tips ;)
Have a great Christmas and New Year belles! Have a gin tipple from me. Stay fabulous! X
Thanks Miss Fanny Darling - we are loving your tips and can guarantee that we'll be enjoying gin tipple and we will be certain to go for some sparkles this festive party season! If you are planning to go along to see Christmas Belles let us know!