"Resign yourself, Catherine! Shops must be visited! Money must be spent! Do you think you could bear it?" - Northanger Abbey

Friday, October 26, 2012

What era suits me? A look at retro styles.

Two posts have prompted me to write this. 1) was yorkshire does vintage's 'a beginners guide to vintage shopping-what's your era?' and 2) A comment on PR "I love retro but unfortunately don't have the figure for it.
Plus my own recent pondering as I decide on my winter wardrobe sewing projects.

First off I do believe there is a era for everyone whatever your shape. You just need to find it and make it work for you.
Secondly fashion is quite cyclical. 
Prediction for fashion shapes (women's fashion)

This is my theory. That there are 4 'shapes' for womens dress and that usually go in a cycle. Haven't gone too far back in history. These are very general silhouettes. It goes Box shape, Y shape, Inverted V (sharp hourglass), inverted U (soft hourglass).

Of course this doesn't include variation in waist and hemline hight. You just have to find the 'shape' that flatters you the most. There is always a way of wearing a retro style that will make it work for you. And unless your looking to be very strict about which 'era' you are going for as regards look there's no rule against mixing and matching. For example having a 40's blouse with a 50's skirt. I've mixed 90's tops with 2000's trousers before and no one has noticed so I'm sure the same applied in the past. ;)
Apologies for my quick sketches...some of the proportions came out a bit wrong.

Don't be fooled by idealized photo's either. There were people of all shapes and sizes in all eras and they had to wear the clothes somehow. lol!

Things like for example a V neck added to a 20's dress and the dropped waist and hinting at the natural waist can make it easer for a curvy-er sort to wear the straight up in down fashions. Reducing fullness of those 50's skirts but still keeping that soft 'U' shape can work to reduce the 'cupcake' effect or even try a pencil skirt. Sleeves are also important. Reducing/increasing the proportion of the sleeves can help balance the top half out.

Disclaimer: for the purposes of this post 'retro' is referring to something new made based on something old. And I don't by any means claim to be an expert. This is just from my POV.


  1. I love this post! This is a great look at the general shapes of different eras and so true in the fact that things have really not changed all that much. I too am a firm believer that everyone can make styles from a certain era suit their figure if they just adjust where needed and fit things to flatter their shape. Great post! Do you mind if I link from over at my blog?

    1. Thanks Sarah. Glad you agree with me.
      Your welcome to link over. :)