Why I decided to dress vintage for London Fashion Week

I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I will usually buy at least two new outfits every London Fashion Week. Not very purse or environmentally friendly, admittedly, but it sometimes feels like a requirement to be spotted wearing the very latest in fashion, especially when you’re surrounded by designer-clad influencers and editors.

However this season I wanted to do something a little different. This year, Marie Claire has launched its Start Somewhere campaign in order to be more sustainable. The idea isn’t to overhaul every aspect of your life overnight, but making small changes that are achievable and will benefit the planet.

An idea that I decided to apply to my wardrobe. I teamed up with Peekaboo Vintage, visiting its massive warehouse in North London to pull items from the archives. I then styled them with my existing wardrobe, to show how easy it can be to tick the season’s new trends without buying anything new – and I even re-discovered some forgotten favourites along the way.

Of course, I’m not saying I’ll never buy anything new again, I love clothes too much for that. But it’s about buying better, pieces I’ll want to wear again and again, and that will easily complement the ones I already have.

Scroll down to see the outfits I styled over LFW – all photos are by Noor & Zee.

Outfit 1

This gorgeous crepe maxi dress immediately caught my eye when I visited the warehouse. Originally from the 40s, it fitted like a glove and would easily be the focus of my outfit. I’m really into tonal dressing at the moment, and it was easy to style with cream accessories, especially the boots.

Outfit 2

I love a good suit, so that’s a definitely a style I wanted to achieve this fashion week. The jacket is vintage Ossie Clarke, and I managed to find some 70s trousers that almost matched it. Again I chose to accessorise with some cream accessories to really make the colour pop. Ironically, I’d browsed Net-A-Porter earlier that day and saw some virtually identical suits on there – proof you really should hold on to the classics.

Outfit 3

I couldn’t believe my luck when I came across this old (old) Céline checked blazer. Again, it ticked many of this season’s trends: oversize tailoring and checks. It looked just the right side of 80s dressing paired with tan boots, a brown knitted skirt and shirt.

Outfit 4

If I’m completely honest, I had totally forgotten I owned this skirt. It’s a bit too long for my height, so I’d relegated it to the back of my closet, but cinched at the waist and layered under this vintage jumper, it was perfect. It just goes to show that vintage doesn’t have to be all about hippie florals or 50s tea dresses. It is possible to find some understated gems too. Out of all the pieces I got to borrow for the week, this is probably the one I’d add to my forever wardrobe as it really would go with everything, be it jeans and trainers for off-duty, or a silk skirt like this.

If you’re thinking of going down the vintage route too, here are a few tips from Peekaboo founder Emily Bothwell:

1. Don’t procrastinate when buying vintage! If you love it, buy it. It’s a one-off after all. We have so many customers who get upset when they come back and learn that we’ve sold the piece, they had their eye on.
2. If you love something but it’s not quite the right fit, still buy it. It doesn’t cost much to alter the arms or waist of a garment.
3. I myself love the 70s but I would probably only wear one piece of vintage and then mix it up with high street or designer to create a more modern day look. I love bringing vintage into the modern day rather than looking too retro.
4. Ossie Clark, Halston, etc look as good today as they did 40 years ago. These pieces are already vintage, meaning they don’t date season to season. They’re a real investment; I own many pieces, which I have had in my wardrobe for over 25 years and still wear today.
5. Don’t be afraid of the odd mark, as the item is probably over 40-50 years old! It’s virtually a wearable antique.

My tip for styling vintage is exactly how Penny wore the pieces at London Fashion Week. I think by being eclectic and mixing with high street or designer, it keeps the pieces relevant fresh and interesting, and the piece of vintage you are wearing is very unlikely to be seen on anybody else so keeping the ensemble unique.

By wearing vintage you are already invested in a pre-worn piece so this in itself is very sustainable. If we all swapped one new purchase for a vintage piece of clothing we’d make a huge difference. Fashion goes in cycles and every era comes round again. Whether it’s the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s fashion loves a revival. So instead of buying a copy of an original piece why not buy an actual vintage piece instead?

 

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