dress up

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, vintage camera, the artyologist

The majority of vintage wearers have, in their lifetime of wearing vintage, experienced various reactions from members of the general public. Sometimes these reactions can be simply genuine curiosity at an obviously different fashion choice, and sometimes, unfortunately, it can be negative. Probably one of the most universally asked questions, is “Are you wearing a costume?” or something to that effect. In my case (several years ago) it was, “So you are dressed like this . . . why?” – implying that there had to be some kind of external reason as to why I was wearing that 1950’s hat, fur collar, wool coat and high heeled pumps.

My answer: “Because I like it.”

Many people seem to think that anyone who dresses outside of the societal norm, simply must be wearing a costume. Someone wouldn’t be wearing a hat and gloves and a dress like, for real, would they?

I’ve been thinking about this lately, and trying to figure out my thoughts about it. I would suggest that, while I don’t really like the term “costume”, to some extent, anyone who dresses outside of the mainstream, is in fact putting on some sort of specific persona. It is easy to dress in the fashions of the day (look in every store and you’ll find some kind of iteration of the trends) but it is a conscious choice to dress differently than every one else. Whether you are wearing vintage style, goth, rockabilly or any other alternative style, you are saying something about yourself to those who see you.

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, the artyologist

So what is the difference between dressing in a so called “alternative style” or wearing a costume anyways? 

After much thought (OK actually not that much thought, but some discussion with my mom!), I think it all comes down to your reason for wearing it.

How we choose to dress, tells a story about us. Your clothes can tell people, “I’m a rebel”, “I want to blend in”, “I want to be different” or even simply “I like old stuff”.

If someone were to look at me, they might not be surprised to learn that I also like classic novels, painting, antique furniture and old houses. My clothing has given them a glimpse into what kind of person I am; or at least the image that I want to present to the world.

Choosing to dress differently does raise questions, though, and like I said the most common one is, why are you wearing a costume?

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, the artyologist, vintage style

A costume is something that is worn for a specific purpose, for a specific time and place, and it is not worn, usually, outside of that event. It is not a reflection of the person who wears it, because the person who is wearing it, has put on a mask, either literally or figuratively. 

Wearing vintage, or another alternative style, though, is a lifestyle. At least it is for me, and many others. The decision to wear vintage style, as your “regular” clothes changes it from being a costume that you put on only at certain times, to being an expression of your own style personality. You don’t have to wear vintage 24/7 either, in order for it to not be a costume for you. While it might be a putting on of a persona, it is also a reflection of your own style and personality. To those people who question you, it is a costume to them, because they can’t imagine themselves wearing it; it is foreign and uncommon. To many people it is unheard of that these could be your “real” and “normal” clothes. (But, what is normal anyways?)

When I, and many others, wear vintage styles we are not just trying to be different. There are plenty of styles I could wear that would achieve the same purpose, but would definitely not be “me”. Wearing Steampunk is probably very fun- but it’s not something I would personally choose to do!

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, the artyologist outfit

And you know what? I sometimes put together an outfit which I think looks great in my head, and doesn’t really come out that way when I wear it. Something is just not right with it, and so it does end up feeling a bit like a costume. This outfit here is one example of an outfit that came out as just too much. To me personally, I would like to stress. Even though others might think, “that’s so you- it’s got a vintage touch, pearls and a hat”- to me, this was a costume.

I look at this outfit, and I know that I was playing dress up. (Which I was; we just wanted to experiment with taking photos in this location, so I grabbed a few things and threw them on) I would never wear this outfit in real life; the twill trousers are far too casual to be wearing with this hat and blouse, and the hat doesn’t go with anything. If I were to tweak this into an actual outfit, I would pair the blouse with navy blue wool trousers or a skirt, my camel coloured blazer to coordinate with the hat, and I would probably take off the long strings of pearls replacing them with a single strand. That’s just me. Someone else might wear this, and they’d love it!

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, the artyologist, vintage camera

Ultimately, each person must decide for themselves what the line is between “different” and “costume”. Fashion is supposed to be fun, so if you feel like wearing a costume out and about, there’s no one stopping you! Sometimes you just want to dress up! But, if you are trying to determine whether something is clothing for you or whether it’s a costume, here are some questions you could ask yourself:

  • Do you feel more confident wearing this outfit?
  • Are you constantly thinking about what people are thinking about your outfit? I’m not talking about shyness, and sometimes feeling a little awkward because you look different. I mean: are you completely uncomfortable because all you can think about is what other people are thinking of your outfit?
  • Are you absorbed with your outfit and fussing with it constantly? Aka- you don’t actually feel comfortable wearing it. Once you put on an outfit, you should not be preoccupied with it, if it’s just clothes.
  • Is it an expression of things that you like? Or are you wearing it simply because it’s “vintage”, but not because you actually like it?
  • Are you just waiting for the moment you can get home and change into something else?
  • Are you drawn to a certain era or style, but this outfit is just too much? For example, someone might wear 1920’s styles, but they might not dress completely like a flapper with a headband, pearls, fringed dress and all.
  • Do you enjoy wearing this? Is it fun for you? Is it the right expression of your personality? For the same reason I wouldn’t dress goth, you might not want to dress a certain way either.

Well, I hope that these thoughts may have helped you to think through what defines costume vs. style for you.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this- have you ever been asked if you were wearing a costume?

What do you think is the difference between wearing a costume or just regular clothes?

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, the artyologist

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. a Costume, the artyologist, hat details

One Last Look at #MyVintageCover 2017!

One Last Look at #myvintagecover 2017, the artyologist

And just like that August is over, and with it the #myvintagecover 2017 too! But no challenge would be complete without a round up of participants, right? So today, I share with you the covers recreated by our lovely challenge participants. I was completely blown away by the creativity and attention to detail these ladies put into their cover reproductions. We had 11 participants, and I truly enjoyed seeing each of their reproductions. . . so I will quit rambling here, and let you see their covers!

First up is Tanith, my co-host, and the mastermind of this entire challenge- without her, there wouldn’t have even been a challenge! She did three covers this month, and I truly enjoyed seeing each one. The first cover she did, with this yellow polka-dot turban (which she made especially to wear for this challenge) completely blew me away. I thought it was the original cover at first, when I saw it on her Instagram!

tanithrowan polka-dots, #myvintagecover 2017

tanithrowan illustration, #myvintagecover 2017

tanithrowan-red-beret, #myvintagecover 2017

Next up are two ladies who made vintage garments like the pattern envelopes. I thought that this was a fun way to take part, and still end up with something for your closet at the end!

Liza of @liza_made sewed a 1919 dress and turned it into a top. She has perfectly executed that original pattern illustration pose!

liza_made, #myvintagecover 2017

Carmen of @vintagedreamblog and Vintage Dream Blog reproduced a 1940’s pattern, complete with a red rick-rack bow! You don’t often see someone sew a garment exactly like the pattern cover, so that is quite fun.

vintage dream blog, #myvintagecover 2017

Next is a cover that must have taken a lot of time to recreate. Robin of @auntieestablishment chose one of my favourite Vogue covers. I was hoping that someone would do this cover, but didn’t think anyone actually would. Her attention to detail with the pose, the makeup and even the ring, is quite amazing!

auntie establishment, #myvintagecover 2017

One of the first covers to be tagged in the challenge is this lovely summery one from Margaret of @denisebrain_vintage (and Denise Brain Vintage Fashion). So many vintage magazine covers involve hats swathed in flowers, and I was really hoping that someone would do one! Her version, with that perfect winged liner, entirely lives up to the original!

denisebrain_vintage, #myvintagecover 2017

I love seeing reproductions of illustrations, because they can sometimes be very unrealistic and it can be difficult to achieve the same “look”. This vintage Cosmopolitan cover by @the_fondant_fancy (of Nought of Fifties Blog) is such a good recreation of an illustration. I don’t know how she did it, but it is so very similar to the original- she’s even got the expression down pat!

the_fondant_fancy, #myvintagecover 2017

Becca of @tobeadorned used one of her own lovely handmade flower crowns to recreate a Vogue wedding themed cover from 1956. I love that she did such a great job of imitating the original, right down to the pink lipstick and pearl earring. It’s the details that make the covers so fun to do!

to be adorned, #myvintagecover 2017

Another cover with a custom made piece of clothing is this one by @ruanne77. Back in July, she asked on Instagram which cover she should recreate, and shared two different covers she was choosing between. I was excited to see that she decided to do this fabulous colour block 1960’s dress; and she even shared a behind-the-scenes photo of the dress, which she did a wonderful job making. I was waiting with bated breath to see the final reveal, and we were not disappointed with it!

ruanne77, #myvintagecover 2017

This wonderful cover was created by Casey of @noirgirl39 (and Casey Koester blog). She chose this dramatic Harpers Bazaar cover, and at first glance, you would think it was the original cover! She’s got the pose, the makeup and hair, the scarf- and those killer sunglasses!

noirgirl39, #myvintagecover 2017

This cover was done by my sister Sarah, of @therougedgirl. Since she loves makeup, (her Instagram is dedicated to it!) she decided to choose a cover with a distinctive makeup look to recreate. This 1970’s cover was a very good choice. Not only did she do an excellent job on the makeup- even getting the shimmer and shine in the same place- but her curly hair worked out perfectly too!

the rouged girl, #myvintagecover 2017

And the last cover, but certainly not the least, is this one by Kelly of @seamracer (and Seam Racer blog). It is rather perfect that it was Kelly who recreated this one, because it is a 1955 McCall’s pattern book featuring none other than Grace Kelly! She shared in her post, that the dress in this image is the one Grace wore when she met Prince Rainier. The outfit is definitely princess worthy, and not only does she now have a gorgeous new dress; she also was able to recreate a cover at the same time!

seam racer, #myvintagecover 2017

Edited to add Kate’s (of @thelonghairedflapper) cover recreation! For some reason this cover, which she did early in the month, is not showing up under the tag on Instagram, and so it got missed when I published this post. But it is too great to be missed, and so I am adding it now. As for the recreation, I love her idea of dressing up her cat. And, strangely enough this lady in this cover actually looks like a cat! 🙂

the long haired flapper, my vintage cover 2017

Well, this was certainly a very fun month! I truly enjoyed seeing all of these cover recreations. Back in July, when Tanith and I announced the challenge, I didn’t know if anyone would join in with us, and I am so glad we had so many wonderful participants! Not only did I get to see their magazine covers; I also got to discover some new lovely vintage ladies to follow 🙂

So what do you think; should My Vintage Cover become an annual thing now?

Vintage Covers: Vogue October 1960, Fall Forecast

Vintage Covers: Vogue October 1960, Fall Forecast, my cover, the artyologist

A Fall fashion forecast: Camel is the colour of choice for the season, and a simple palette of soft earthy browns suits the approaching cool days of Autumn. Don’t eschew style in favour of practicality though; dress for the season in a classic fur collar and cashmere coat. Fur is always chic, and always in style.

1960,-Vogue-Cover, the artyologist

This, my last cover for the month of August and for #myvintagecover, might just be my favourite cover so far! I saw this Vogue October 1960 cover a while ago, and thought that it would be relatively simple to execute, since it mainly consists of a large fur collar. I do happen to have a fur collar, though it is not as luscious as hers is, and the rest of the look relied mainly on the makeup. The makeup for this cover was actually quite quick, since I only did one side of my face. 😉 But, I think the main reason that I like this one so much, is because as terrible as the original picture looked (in need of colour correction and with makeup on only one side!), it is the cover that has turned out most like the original image.

Well, it’s been fun to do so many covers this past month; I wasn’t sure how many I would end up being able to finish. There are only three days left to August (where did the time go!?) so I was glad to squeeze this one in before the end of the challenge. I still plan on continuing with covers here occasionally, as they are just so much fun to do. I also came across so many covers this month that I want to try and recreate, but ran out of time for, so I’ll be trying them out in the future.

If you want to take part in the challenge, there are still a few days left to post your images. And, if you want to post to the instagram tag after August, we won’t stop you 😉

 

Photo Shoots with Friends

photo shoots with friends, chantelle-and-i, the artyologist

This post is coming to you pre-scheduled as I am on a holiday this week with friends, one of whom is my dear friend Chantelle, who is pictured in these photos today. I decided it would be a perfect time to share these photos, which I got back in June when I visited her, as they are too special to not post at all despite the lateness of them!

It is a bit of a tradition that when my friend Chantelle and I get together, we do a photo shoot- we did this even in my pre-blogging days. (Maybe sometime I will share some of those old pictures. . .) Sometimes our photo shoots are themed, and usually the theme is some kind of vintage style, because that is what I have for “costumes”. As in, it is a costume for her, and regular clothing for me 😉 We’ve done “model”, “wedding dresses”, “1940’s” and last year we did “1950’s“. This time, we didn’t have any theme planned- and as I was traveling, I didn’t bring extras in my suitcase. However, while I was visiting, I found this great straw hat at the thrift shop and Chantelle was able to borrow this lovely blue topper, so we figured that was good enough.

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-hat-detail

The photos of both of us were taken with self timer and, as I didn’t have my tripod with me, we precariously balanced a pile of wood on top of a kitchen stool and placed the camera on top! It was a bit dangerous for the camera, and we had no way of knowing where we were in the frame, so the results were a bit interesting. Somehow we still managed to end up with these lovely shots though- and even with me running back and forth, I managed to not look too disheveled!

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-and-i-standing

I’ve shown both this skirt and shirt together before, but why mess with a good thing, right? I am not above repeating an outfit if it worked out well the first time. And, I wasn’t kidding last week when I said I have worn this skirt too many times to count. I even brought it on my trip this week, so I might be wearing it as we speak 🙂 However it is nice to share my new hat, especially since I have worn it a few times now. Sometimes, like in the case of this hat, thrifting can be very rewarding. I saw a hat very similar to this one, with an asymmetrical brim, and green ribbon and accent, for sale online, but it was quite expensive. It was a justifiable price, for a handcrafted piece of millinery, but I am so glad I found this secondhand one instead!

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, hat-detail-nicole

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-adjusting-hat

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, nicole-spinning-skirt

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-portrait-1

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, wildflowers-and-nicole

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle

She looks like she should be going to a Royal Wedding. 🙂

nicole straw hat, photo shoots with friends, the artyologist

And because you can’t have any photoshoot without silly ones. . .

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-and-i-being-creepy

I didn’t realize I was so far away from Chantelle in this picture, and instead of hugging her, I am just creepily/awkwardly putting my hand on her shoulder! It doesn’t help that I have that strange expression either. . .

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-and-i-snobby

These expressions, above, are just too funny. . .

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-and-i-laughing

Do you enjoy doing photo shoots together when you meet up with friends? Have you ever been looking for something in a shop or online, only to find something similar in a thrift shop?