After a few enquiries over the years about why I love Vintage things, old movies, Swing music and spending copious amounts of time on just the right hair style, I thought back to where it really all began.
Where I’ve narrowed it down to is Weekend Matinee’s with Bill Collins. The days that were too hot, too cold or too wet outside, saw us watching old movies starring Shirley Temple, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Lana Turner etc etc etc ….
As I grew up, I didn’t just enjoy the musicals, but just watching classic cinema opened my eyes to a lot of things that I realised I didn’t see day to day. Women in stylish outfits wearing hats and gloves, men in suits rather than in T-shirts and jeans, being able to use the excuse of washing your hair to get out of going out with a boy. That last one I didn’t get until much later, when I was setting and styling my hair.
I was not confident enough as a Teen to embrace the styles that I loved, as a lot of teens weren’t in those days, so I dressed like my friends and to what ‘fashion’ dictated. I was never really happy with how I looked, though. I knew something was missing, but was too insecure to grab a hold of it and do what I longed to.
Years went on and I found myself in my final years of high school. My parents took up Rockabilly dancing, and ‘dragged’ my sister and I to some social nights. After a few weeks of trying to figure it out, in the bathrooms, we asked to start lessons too. That was the kick start that I needed. That was back in 1992. I took 1993 off for my HSC exams and picked up dancing again early in 1994.
I spent the next few years in dancing comps, all the while deciding to push my costumes back to more authentic styles. Attending social nights in big poodle skirts with crinolines and little sweaters or collared shirts. Then I discovered swing dancing, and my choice of clothing went further back in time. Around this time I was dancing 4-6 nights a week all over Sydney in saddle shoes or cute pumps/wedges, collegiate style outfits or swing dresses, I pulled out the crinolines on occasion too. Hair was curled and pompadoured, lips were red and I started collecting vintage clothing.
Unfortunately over the years over half of my vintage collection has gone MIA. Which is sad, because I had some beautiful dresses, and with the vintage boom over the last 10 years, finding great pieces in Sydney in anything over a size 8 is very hard to do. Now I satisfy myself with making clothes with either vintage patterns, or altering modern ones so they look ‘right’. I get a lot of inspiration for clothes and hair from my collection of vintage magazines and books, as well as all those old movies that Mr Collins introduced me too when I was a kid.
Thank you, Mr Collins!