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Thursday 12 December 2013

Sluttishly Vintage: Glamorous Party Gear

What better time to pull on the vintage glad rags than for a few Christmas or New Year parties? A fabulous show-stopping dress somehow manages to survive the test of time better than so many other fashions. Or, if you've already invested in your dream dress, vintage accessories are perfect for adding some sparkle.

Like their contemporary equivalents, there's plenty of opportunity to blow the budget on the dress of your dreams. Merchant ArchiveJuno Says HelloLucy in Disguise and William Vintage are some of my favourite places to head for some real fantasy shopping. But you can get stunning numbers at high street prices too, as proved by the trio of dresses shown above.

These also probably prove one of the golden (er, bronzen in this case) rules of vintage shopping - find an era that's sympathetic to your silhouette and seek those fashions out. So here we've got an embellished 60s shift, a slinky 70s number and a Balenciaga-influenced 50s dress. The latter is also one of those rarer vintage plus size finds - it's the equivalent of a contemporary size 18/20.

And here's some silver dresses illustrating the same principle, plus showing how silver is always party appropriate. At £25, the 50s prom dress is a complete bargain for petite girls.

Another perennial party classic: the Little Black Dress. What makes a LBD special is the shape and the details and this quartet are full of fantastic details, whether it's the rhinestone or the animal print on the 50s numbers (actually, the animal print dress is dark brown but it's so fab I had to sneak it in here), the bow on the 60s smock or the cape-like effect on the 80s skater dress.

You don't really get more glamorous than a classic Hollywood film star slinking around in their bias cut number. Here's two ways us mere mortals can attempt to replicate the look. On the left is a budget-busting repro dress from 20th Century Foxy, made from rayon and in sizes 8 to 18. Or, for the real 30s thing, Darlings Vintage have this beautiful number. It needs some fixing-up from a skilled seamstress, which probably accounts for the relatively low £65 price tag. It's also worth looking at 70s-does-30s numbers too for some well-priced alternatives - I particularly like this 70s number with a lovely bit of embellishment.

If you've splurged on your dress, you can save a bit on your accessories. Beyond Retro seems to have a particularly bargainous collection of gold bags in at the moment, all looking party perfect.

Some of these bags are so pretty I just want to put them on a shelf and stare at them for hours - Father Christmas, if you're reading, I'd love the Lucy in Disguise Lucite bag please. And, while original 20s dresses may be prohibitively expensive or too fragile to wear, you can add a bit of flapper fashion with a 20s beaded bag, such as the Love Miss Daisy bag shown above, or this glass bead number from My Vintage. Even 80s interpretations of the look are worth exploring.

You don't need me to tell you that Christmas is a great reason to pile on the glitz. There's so much to choose from, and some fantastic costume jewellery currently available on the high street. I'm a bit swoony over Banana Republic's vintage collection, which includes this starlet-worthy bracelet. For the real thing, and a real treat, these 1920s drop earrings (£115 from Merchant Archive) are drop-dead gorgeous. Complete the flapper look with this vintage beaded skull cap, just in at Lovelys Vintage.

A bit of Christmas novelty doesn't have to be limited to your jumper - a Christmas wreath brooch, how pretty! And how glam is this Christmas tree brooch? Both are at stocking filler prices too.

It can be trickier to find a pair of party shoes that fit properly, are in a decent condition and are comfortable enough to wear. I can't vouch for the comfort of these 1950s diamante sandals but they are undeniably gorgeous. Snap them up if you are a size 3/3.5 for £30, again from Darlings Vintage.

Or go repro for comfort and a bit more choice in sizes. These 1950s-style Cinderella shoe by Miss L Fire come in sizes 4 to 8. You can buy a pair from Miss Bamboo for £85.

If you tend to shy away from 80s fashions, perhaps you should think again for party footwear as 80s shoes can offer comfort, affordability and, yes, a bit of drama. And of course you don't have to wear them alongside shoulder pads and a fergie bow - or even the pop socks shown with the Roland Cartier pumps.

Really want to go glam? That's glam like Bowie, or even Slade (it's Christmasssssssss, after all). You'll need these 70s gold mesh ankle boots, only £14. Or to shimmer as you shimmy, check out this incredible pair of 60s gold gogo boots. You'll outdo even the Christmas tree.


  1. Oh that long 30s dress! Well I want that very much.

    1. It's so wonderfully Hollywood isn't it? Yes, I am ready for my close-up actually.


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