I am sure that some of my readers are already readers of Jessica's wonderful vintage blog, Chronically Vintage, and for those of you who aren't you don't know what you are missing!
Besides keeping her blog filled with wonderful vintage goodness, Jessica also does a marvelous job with her Chronically Vintage Etsy shop. For the curious, I am very pleased with what I have ordered from her, and have a post about it here and here.
But enough with my talking. You are going to get to know her much better if I let her speak for herself!
What do you like most about vintage fashion and is that what drew you into it?
There are so many elements to vintage fashion that I enjoy, appreciate and adore, but certainly one of the key points for me personally is the immense beauty that lies in vintage fashions. The workmanship, femininity, ingenuity, and creativity (not to mention, in many cases, the cuteness) that we saw in a good many yesteryear fashions has always spoken powerfully to me.
Even at an incredibly young age (like, we’re taking 3 – 4 years old) I found myself drawn to these elements in fashion and developed a love of vintage and historical styles all the way back then. When I was about 9 – 10 years old, I made a vow to myself that when I grew up (even though I had no idea at the time that some people actually did so) that I would wear the styles of the eras that spoke the most to my young soul (the late 1930s – early 1960s) and am delighted to report that I made good on that promise.
I started sporting vintage pieces when I was about 15 years old (though, had dabbled in vintage inspired looks earlier on) and the rest, as they say, is history. :)
How would you define your personal vintage style?
Feminine, structured, highly coordinated, detail oriented, elegant, fun, original, and bursting with colour.
What are some things you like to keep in mind when putting together a vintage/retro inspired outfit?
I personally greatly appreciate and enjoy it when an outfit (be it vintage or modern) is well coordinated, both in terms of colour and accessories, so this is something that is always at the forefront of my mind when I’m putting together my outfits.
I also think a lot about the weather, the season (I’m huge on dressing in seasonal palettes and with seasonally appropriate accessories), what the day holds in store for me, comfort (it’s a cinch to wear vintage and be just as comfy – if not more so – than in modern casual/leisure wear), my mood, and if there’s any new (or old, but not yet photographed) pieces in my closet that I’m looking to highlight, if we’re going to be doing a photo shoot for a blog post that day.
I’m a firm believer that, ideally, fashion should always be fun and I love the act of getting dress/composing an outfit, so unless I’m really pressed for time, I like to savour the experience and really put a lot of thought and attention to detail into most of my ensembles.
The accessories you include are very important to completing your outfits. What is your favorite type of accessory to include in your outfits?
You know, I don’t think I’ve ever met a (type of) accessory that I didn’t like, if not love, so it’s quite tricky to narrow down my list of favourite. Some that are key factors of my mid-century looks however are definitely vintage hats, gloves, scarves (which I love to wear on my head and as belts in particular), snoods, classic pearl jewelry, brooches, stud and hoop earrings, great belts, and classic style shoes (especially pumps, oxfords, brogues, and saddle shoes). I’m huge on seamed stockings and crinolines/petticoats, too, but those fall into the undergarments heading, more than that of accessories, for most folks.
We all run into those times and moments when we feel discouraged and uninspired. Who or where do you like to find renewed inspiration from?
So true! Throughout my whole life, one of my biggest sources of vintage fashion inspiration has always been photographs of real world women from the decades I adore the most, so when my muse is off taking a coffee break (or full on vacay), I’ll often spend hours browsing through such online (on sites like Flickr and Pinterest).
As much as I adore, appreciate and do certainly draw inspiration from vintage fashion magazines and images of old school startlets in amazing outfits, I feel I can relate so much more to real women of the past, as I see myself in them (and vice versa). As such, no matter what, spending time with photos of such always helps to recharge my sartorial mojo.
Another huge (!) source of inspiration for me on that front is many amazing vintage, pinup girl, and rockabilly fashionistas around the world these days, who I’m blessed to be able to see and often interact with through the magic of the internet.
What is one aspect of vintage fashion that you wish was still prevalent today or are glad is still prevalent today?
There are a number of things that I wish were still commonplace in today’s fashion world, but one that always really jumps out at me in the way in which most women have ceased to make hats and gloves a part of their usual daily wardrobe routine.
Both were beloved for centuries and shone so beautifully during the 1930s – 50s, yet quickly started to fall out of favour by the mid-1960s. Sure, they’ve each had moments since, and neither have completely vanished, but they’ve never regained their footing and sadly, I doubt they ever will.
I find both to be incredibly fun items to wear and get such a thrill when I had a great new (to me) vintage hat of beautiful pair of mid-century gloves to my closet.
These types of accessories can go an incredible way in helping to make a vintage look all the more old school, still serve practical purposes (guarding one from the elements, keeping your hands clean and warm, etc), and are a fabulous way to help introduce more colour into a given outfit.
If you could own and wear any dress/outfit from history what would it be and why?
I don’t even have to think about this one – the answer has remained the same for me for over half my life now: An original Dior Bar Suit from the last 1940s. The it is ultimate vintage garment and silhouette to me and I’ve modelled many of my outfits over the years based on the lines and sophisticated styling of such.
It is important not to completely separate vintage clothing styles from the history that surrounded them. What is one historical event (or more if it is that hard to choose!) that you would have loved to have lived through, participated in or observed?
What an excellent question! Tying into my answer above, I would have loved to have been present when rationing started to be lifted after WW2 and fuller, (often) more elaborate silhouettes reentered the fashion sphere again. I love, please don’t get me wrong, tons of earlier 40s looks and styles, too, but the decade spanning 1947 – 1957 is my favourite ever from a fashion standpoint, so getting to be presence for part or all of that time would be off-the-charts amazing for me.
I know that your love of vintage things reaches out into everyday life with your Etsy shop, Chronically Vintage, where you sell all sorts of lovely vintage items and accessories. What gave you the push to take your love of vintage in that direction?
Objectively, I think that opening my Etsy shop back in May 2014 was a very natural progression of my lifelong love of vintage. I’d been sporting old school styles on a regular basis since I was about fifteen years old and blogging about vintage since 2009, and had long wanted to operate a vintage shop of my own (I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I absolutely adore the act of selling and being a small business owner).
For better or worse, our small Canadian town doesn’t really seem to be able to support a bricks and mortar vintage shop (a number have come and gone here over the years and at present we do not have any any), so that reason – couple with the fact that I’m a multiple severe chronic illness fighter and would not be able to run a real world shop in person every day – made the decision to sell online quite a natural one for me.
After many exciting years of moving around, going through the Canadian immigration system with my Italian born husband, and establishing our careers, I felt like I was in a place at the very end of twenties to seriously devote myself to running my own online small business and so Chronically Vintage on Etsy was born.
I’m thrilled to say that things have gone really well for me there so far and that they continue to improve all the more as time goes on, my inventory expands all the more (on average I list between 75 – 150 new items each month in my shop, so there’s always plenty for new and returning customers like to delight in and purchase), and I built up a stellar customer base.
I love being my own boss, selling vintage to amazing group of buyers, sourcing beautiful old school pieces to list, providing excellent customer service, and getting to send out great vintage pieces their new homes around the world.
How else does your love of vintage styles influence your everyday life? I know for me it affects the books I want to read at least!
Honestly and objectively, at this point, there are exceedingly few areas of my life that don’t overlap, at least to some degree with vintage.
I wear mid-century styles almost every day, have been very fortunate to make vintage my full-time career thanks to my blog and Etsy shop, have peppered my home with plenty of vintage pieces (though my décor is rather electric and isn’t solely comprised of vintage pieces or styles), have a fun collection of vintage books, magazines and small collectibles (such as cute ceramic figurines from the fifties), have a friend base that is comprised mostly of fellow vintage fans, read extensively on vintage and historical related topics, listen to tons of vintage music, watch (and rewatch) plenty of old movies, and often shapes what I (we) do on our holidays – where visiting vintage shops, thrift stores, museums, historical landmarks, art galleries, old school buildings and other similar things are always a must. J
I never take for granted the way my life is and the many things that I did to make such possible, and feel honoured and blessed that the universe tapped me to love the past when I was extremely young. That passion and interest has shaped my world ever since and I know that it will be an integral part of who I am, what I wear, and how I fill my days for the rest of my life.
Thank you so much for this awesome interview, Sarah. I sincerely appreciate it!
Thank you so much, Jessica, for being willing to participate!
Now I would highly recommend connecting with Jessica in any or many of the ways below.
Sarah loves to sew, learn more about sewing, and create items with a vintage flair. Her arch enemy is clipping curves, and she has a tolerable relationship with the seam ripper.
Visit me on Etsy
My Favorite Links
The Boyer Sisters
Emily's Vintage Visions
Mode De Lis