Vintage Vixens: Interview with Gemma from Retro Chick

gemma saeger

We have a lot of love for vintage style bloggers (they make our days go faster and they’re the source of our inspiration) so it’s with great pleasure that we introduce one of our all-time favourite bloggers and style experts, Gemma Seager from Retrochick.co.uk. She’s a feisty roller derby gal (don’t mess with her), a style blogger of more than 7 years, and a total addict to vintage clothing. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out her blog.

Q1) How did you become a vintage style blogger? 

“I’ve been blogging for over 7 years now, so a very long time! I started my blog as I was selling vintage and second hand clothing on eBay and I’d heard a blog was a good way to promote it. Eventually I discovered I liked writing better than going to the Post Office and blogging became my full time job!”

gemma saeger

Q2) How would you describe your personal style and how has it evolved over the years?

“I think I would probably describe my personal style as classic but eclectic! I like classic styles and shapes, but I have a fondness for quirky prints and accessories. My style has evolved a lot in the time I’ve been blogging; I’ve gone from the early days of really quite simple outfits, through a period of being very vintage all the time with a 30s/40s vibe through to something a bit more varied. I like to experiment!”

Q3) Ok, tough one coming up…..if you could only wear ONE single outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?

“If I could only wear one outfit for the rest of my life I’d want to make sure it was something versatile for most occasions, and comfortable, because who wants to be uncomfortable for the rest of their life?”

gemma saeger

“I’d probably go for something like a classic little black dress in a fabric with some stretch in it, I have a Heyday Twizzle dress that would be perfect and I’d team it with a beret, fitted cardigan and red lipstick.”

Q4) When it comes to vintage-inspired hair/makeup, do you have a secret weapon?

“For my hair my secret weapon is a hat! I play Roller Derby and often don’t have time to make my hair all beautiful, so sticking it under a beret is my secret weapon! For make up I think finding your perfect red lipstick is the key. Once you’ve found the one that’s the perfect colour and stays put all day, you’re basically sorted! I love Besame in Cherry Red.”

gemma saeger

Q5) And finally, where are your favourite places/shops to find vintage treasures?

“My favourite thing is to hunt out the treasure in charity shops. I love the challenge of finding things that way.”

vintage style blogger

Thanks so much to the lovely Gemma Saeger for answering our burning questions. Make sure you check out her vintage style blog over at Retrochick.co.uk don’t forget to follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

If you’d like to update your wardrobe with stylish vintage accessories, sign up to Style By Portobello and get started with your own personal style questionnaire.

SBP Team x

Rocking the Vintage Hat: The Perfect AW15 Styles

There are two types of people in the world; those who can wear hats and those who can’t. If you’re a seasoned hat wearer who looks fab in just about any headwear, we’re green with envy. If you’re the latter in this vintage hat story, then we beg you to think again. Perhaps you just haven’t found the right hat…

Here at Style By Portobello, vintage accessories is our forte; we like to think we’re pretty clued up when it comes to shopping for our subscribers based on their personal style preferences. Think of it as a personal shopping service for the vintage lover. So our top tip when it comes to hats, is that there is a style for everybody; you just have to seek it out.

If you fancy getting your own style subscription with us, register online now. But in the mean time, let’s get back to vintage hats. Here are our favourite styles and how to wear them…

The Vintage Flat Cap

vintage flat cap

We’re the first to admit that this isn’t an easy style to wear. But Gwen Stefani and Sarah Jessica Parker both got it right  so maybe there’s still hope for the rest of us (maybe?). The vintage flat cap is a nod to working class attire which originated in 14th Century England, particularly the North. So if you’re a Northern lass looking for the ultimate vintage accessory, get your hands on a tweed flat cap this season.

The Vintage Fedora 

ingrid bergman fedora

What we love most about the fedora (other than it being totally chic and stylish) is that it’s a hat for just about everybody. There are no head shapes or faces in this world that can’t be complemented by a felt fedora. It’s a proven formula since the 1940s and Ingrid Bergman is the ultimate fedora queen; our icon of inspiration.

The 1920s Cloche Hat 

cloche hat how to wear

The cloche takes wool hats to a whole new level. If you’re tired of your fedora, why not add a twenties twist with a cloche hat like Angelina Jolie’s character in Changeling? Whilst the flat cap is tomboyish and the fedora is androgynous, the cloche is reserved for the most feminine beauties in the world. So if you’re looking for something utterly elegant, look for pretty cloche hats the next time you visit a vintage market.

To sign up for monthly vintage accessories hand-curated by our style experts and delivered to your door, register online for Style By Portobello. The style questionnaire will ensure that we find you the best vintage pieces suited for your wardrobe personality and all items are sourced from the one and only Portobello Market in London. If you’re not ready to subscribe just yet, sign up to our newsletter for the latest style news and exclusive offers!

SBP Team x

 

Vintage Spectacle Frames: Vintage Eyewear is Back In!

vintage spectacle frames

Vintage specs are such a find! And if you’re in the market for a pair of vintage glasses, we would definitely recommend popping down to Portobello Market this weekend. With so many opticians (including convenient online services) able to fit custom lenses, it opens up a whole world of options when it comes to finding the right frames. If you’ve ever had that sinking feeling after trying on every single pair of specs (and we mean every single pair) at your local optician’s branch, it’s time to go custom. As long as you have a valid prescription, you can fit any pair of frames of any style, any size and any era with your own prescribed lenses.

So what styles of vintage spectacle frames should a modern fashionista be looking for? If you need a little inspiration, you may be pleasantly surprised at just how many different styles are currently out there at our vintage markets, kilo sales and auctions. Here are 4 looks which could help you find your perfect pair of specs!

Marilyn Monroe’s Sexy Cat-Eye Frames

vintage cat eye frames

The famous cat-eye frames are emulated by modern everyday styles everywhere. But you know what, it’s never the same as having the real thing. That’s why we recommend seeking out the real deal, unique finds from the late 1950s and 60s. Because they simply don’t make them like they used to! Look out for the fabulous lightweight lucite designs or specs with special detailing at the edge of the frames or along the sides.

The Full-Round Bohemian Spectacles

janis joplin glasses

If you’re a bit of a hedonistic hippie, you’ll love these full-round frames which were a 1970s favourite for Janis Joplin. Because they are oversized, they can suit most face shapes but always be sure to try it on.

The Grace Kelly Reading Glasses

grace kelly reading glasses

If you’re not looking for anything over the top like the show-stopping Janis specs or the super sultry cat-eye frames, why not opt for something simple, elegant and graceful. Just like Grace Kelly. The Grace Kelly reading glasses are perfect for most face shapes and are perfect to style with almost any outfit – day or night.

The 1980s Sexy Granny Glasses

1980s vintage glasses

Michelle Pfeiffer is the perfect example of a hot and seductive spectacle wearer from the 80s. She appeared in several movies rocking the specs appeal, including Witches of Eastwick and Batman Returns. And she really took the ‘granny glasses’ to a new level. So take note people, granny glasses are hot!

So if you’re looking for the perfect pair of vintage spectacle frames this season, make sure you come and visit all the stalls at Portobello and Golborne Market! Or if you’re looking for a selection of hand-picked vintage accessories delivered to your door, sign up to Style By Portobello today.

And don’t forget to register for our newsletter for the latest offers!

SBP Team x

Vintage Aran Knit Jumpers: The Perfect A/W Piece

aran sweaters historyWinter is most certainly on its way. And brrr…we’re definitely feeling it here at Style By Portobello. But nothing ever stops our vintage buying team from hitting Portobello Market every weekend. Because there’s nothing more exciting than wrapping up warm to brave the bitter British weather in search of vintage gems. There’s no denying that we love an easy summer day, but no-one said finding vintage was supposed to be easy; when your fingers are falling off and your feet feel like ice blocks, that special vintage piece just seems so much more amazing.

So if you like us, you’re all about wrapping up and getting out there, it’s important to stock up on cosy A/W knits that will keep you warm no matter the weather. This season, we’re all over the famous Aran knit; it’s the perfect vintage garment during the cold season. And here’s why we love Aran knit jumpers so much!

They’re Full of History

aran sweaters history

There are lots of reasons why we shop vintage. From the timeless style to the unmatched fabric quality, vintage is better in so many ways. Another reason is because of the history that each piece holds; a unique story from the past. Aran sweaters take their name from the Aran Islands in Ireland where they were first created for the farmers and fishermen living and working there.

Each Knit Tells a Story

vintage aran jumpers

Unlike the Aran style knits bought on the high street today, a vintage Aran knit tells a very unique story and is a part of someone’s heritage; making it extra, extra special. Different Aran knit designs are linked to different Irish clans from the Aran Islands – and to those who know how to interpret these designs, it’s a fascinating look into the past.

100,000 Stitches to Keep You Dry

aran sweaters history

Vintage Aran jumpers have practical benefits as well as style benefits; once completed, there are roughly around 100,000 stitches and the sweater is then able to absorb around 30% of its weight in water before feeling wet. So if you’re braving the rainy autumn weather, these knits are totally perfect! If they were good enough for the Irish fishermen, they’re good enough for us!

Nautical Chic

vintage aran jumper women

The designs of a true Aran knit vintage jumper are reflective of Celtic Art and the stunning sweater designs are created to represent fishermen’s rope. So if you love the nautical look, these sweaters are perfect for some fabulous winter nautical.

So if you’re looking for the perfect A/W piece to keep you warm, look out for stylish Aran knit jumpers at your local vintage market. We think these sweaters are a great investment and will last for many years!

SBP Team x

 

 

Forever Stylish: Photos of London in the 1970s

london in the 1970s

London has been stylish since forever. And at the height of the city’s fashion industry and undeniable glamour, London was a place to remember in the 70s.

1970s London was a true turning point in fashion. When French designer Roland Klein first moved from Paris to London back in the 1960s, he found it hard to be creative with his work as British women never took fashion as seriously as the French or Italian. But things slowly started to change and eventually (by 1984), London Fashion Week was born. The late 70s attributed to the birth of the British Fashion Council and it was also the time of the Diane Von Furstenburg iconic wrap dress (which took the Western world by storm), the break-up of The Beatles, the beginnings of London hippie fashion and psychedelia, British punk, and the start of the London disco era.

If you love seventies London as much as we do, you will love these fantastic images which capture the style and fashion of this bygone era.  Here are some iconic images of London in the 1970s…

photos 70s london

london in the 70s

photos 70s london

london in the 70s

photos 70s london

london in the 70s

(Img src: all photos from The Standard)

 

Why Every Vintage Fashionista Needs a Vintage Brolly!

fox umbrellas vintage

The style and design of your umbrella may not have crossed your mind before. In fact, you probably don’t even remember what colour it is or where you got your umbrella from. But that’s because today’s mass produced umbrellas don’t captivate the style-savvy like they used to.

Back in the day, umbrellas were hand-crafted to perfection and the umbrella making process was a complicated one. Today, much of the process has been replaced by machinery and the quality really doesn’t compare. Whilst today umbrellas are throwaway items, they were once style investments.

As serious vintage lovers and collectors, we think that vintage umbrellas are a must-have for any vintage fashionista. Not only are they extremely practical (and made to much better quality than today’s throwaway brollies) but they can look seriously stylish and can be a fab rainy day accessory.

vintage fox umbrella

1800s vintage umbrellas

Fox Umbrellas were the main brand back in the 1860s and they continue to be a quality maker today. Throughout the 1800s and the 20th Century, Fox Umbrellas were a wardrobe staple for style-concious gentlemen and ladies alike. So if you’re looking for the perfect vintage brolly, we would definitely recommend seeking out a Fox handmade design. However, there are many other styles to look out for such as the demure vintage lace umbrellas (not made for rain) from 1910/1920s, the beautifully adorned and frill-trimmed designs of the 1950s or the hand-painted oriental parasols designed with unique bamboo handles.

vintage umbrella styles

There are so many vintage umbrella styles to look out for the next time you go browsing the vintage markets in your local area.

Some vintage umbrellas are sold at very high prices (some Fox umbrella designs go for around £1,200!) so if you’re in the market for a good brolly, be sure to check the item thoroughly before purchase. Check that the handle is sturdy and look carefully at the shaft for any rusting or evidence of woodworm, always open the umbrella fully and check it under the light for pin holes or rips, and be sure to check the closure fastening, the tip of each rib and the ferrule at the top for any damage.

Good luck in your search for the perfect vintage umbrella! It’s the ultimate must-have accessory for rainy days and now that autumn is here, we can’t wait to get shopping for brollies at our favourite market, Portobello Road.

SBP Team x

 

 

Vintage Finds: We Heart Vintage Bow Ties

bow ties are cool

Sometimes, we come across the most amazing gems at Portobello Market. Portobello Road in London is the city’s most iconic place for vintage shopping and you’re bound to come away with the most unique vintage finds at the end of the day. And one of our favourite finds is the vintage bow tie. These treasures date back to the 17th Century and were first worn by French aristocrats in Croatia; they became hugely popular in the beginning of the 19th Century and by the 1880s, the bow tie had become a staple for the everyday gentleman.

bow ties are cool

But we’re not here to talk about men’s fashion today. Because the beauty of the vintage bow tie is that it looks just as awesome on a woman. In fact, we always collect bow ties (and we still get excited when we find them at vintage markets) because they simply work so much magic into the female wardrobe.

bow ties are cool

bow ties are cool

If you came to see us in our selfie booth for LFW a few weeks ago, you might have seen some of our favourite bow tie pieces there. These little beauties are perfect for styling up a simple shirt and jeans combo – or can be worn with a cute collared dress. The look you create can be a contradiction of masculine and girly or can be totally androgynous; it’s completely up to you how you want to feature the bow tie in your everyday look.

vintage bow ties how to wear

Vintage bow ties are totally one of a kind and it’s always pretty exciting when we manage to source one. These quirky accessories are super cool and uber chic so sign up to Style By Portobello and look out for them in your monthly box. If you receive one, make sure you tweet us an OOTD photo – we’d love to see your take on it. :)

SBP Team x

Is the 90s Vintage? Yes It’s Official, the 90s is Totally Vintage Darling!

A few years ago, it was questionable. But today, there’s just no doubt about it. 90s garments are totally vintage baby and it’s one of our favourite decades here at Style By Portobello. A few years ago, fashion designer and consultant Patricia Dillion said these conclusive words: “The 90s are now officially classified as ‘vintage’ because we are two decades on a new generation is starting to discover and enjoy the creative fruits of musicians, designers, artists and film makers who delivered their ideas 20 years ago.”

And many fashionistas will second that opinion. So there we have it. Is the 90s vintage? It sure is! So if you’re looking to get that 90s look, what should you be shopping for? Here are some of the most iconic looks from the to help inspire your next vintage outfit…

90s Grunge

is the 90s vintage

When it comes to the 90s grunge look, Drew Barrymore is our go-to girl. She took this trend and used it to shape her bad girl reputation. To emulate Drew’s sexy grunge girl appearance from the 90s, make sure you keep your eye out for gothic garments, lots of black and textured fabrics – and don’t forget the badass leather and dark lippy to complete your look.

90s Tartan & Checks 

is the 90s vintage

The tartan look spins off from the grunge trend but we think it truly deserves to be a trend in its own right. This pattern is so versatile, even to this day, and can be styled in so many different ways. Go for a Clueless inspired two piece (so Miu Miu) or do the everyday Jen-An look with a simple check shirt.

90s Neon & Shellsuits 

90s neon shellsuits

This has got to be one of the most iconic styles of the 90s – and one of the most memorable surely! This colourful decade drew inspiration from the 80s with its love for neon and mixed shocking colours with sporty looking shell suits. Far from ‘sports luxe’, this look has become a popular choice for 90s fancy dress. But we think there are cool ways of styling this trend in a chic, subtle manner. Try teaming skinny jeans and a plain t-shirt with a 90s bomber or add a ripped neon t-shirt to Levi shorts for a festival look.

90s Denim Dungarees

denim dungarees 90s

There was no escaping denim in the 90s. The working man’s fabric became a wardrobe necessity for young fashionistas and one of the most iconic garments has to be the denim dungaree. We love a pair of dungs and they’ve become a massive comeback trend today.

90s Friendship Bracelets

friendship bracelets 90s

Wow, when we think of 90s friendship bracelets, it really does remind us of how powerful a piece of jewellery can be when it’s backed by youth culture. Friendship bracelets could make you or break you; more is more and less is simply not good enough! This is tres Saved By The Bell darling – and accessories are also one of the easiest ways to redesign your look, don’tcha know?  A simple bracelet can transform your OOTD in seconds!

If you love accessories as much as we do, make sure you sign up for the Style By Portobello subscription box to get vintage accessories delivered to your door every single month! Or sign up for our exclusive newsletter to hear all about our offers, discounts and more styling tips!

SBP Team x

Mod vs. Rockers: Take Our Mod/Rocker Quiz to See Which One You Are!

It’s probably one of the most famous fashion battles of our time. The Mod vs. Rocker story seems to be one of the most iconic cultural conflicts of the sixties and some fashionistas strongly believe that they fall into one category or the other.

60s mods fashion

But here at Style By Portobello, we appreciate all elements of 60s fashion and that includes styles taken from both the Mods and the Rockers. Not sure where you fall in the Mod vs. Rockers dispute? Take a our little quiz and find out now! ;)

60s rockers fashion women

Q1: It’s cold outside…..which coat would you rather be seen in?

A) a leather biker jacket
B) a parka coat
C) actually, I prefer a fur coat thanks

 

Q2: You need a new ride…..what’s your vehicle of choice?

A) a Harley Davidson
B) a cute Mini with monochrome finishes
C) I'd rather get a lift with my boyfriend

mod vs rocker quiz test

Q3: It’s the weekend….what will you be wearing? 

A) jeans, a Gene Vincent t-shirt, leather jacket and creepers
B) sexy minidress with knee high boots
C) my pyjamas, I'm staying in

 

Q4: You’re in an old vinyl shop in Shoreditch (‘cos you’re cool like that)…..what do you find?

A) some late 50s/early 60s rock n roll track that only cool people like me will recognise
B) 'My Generation' by The Who because it's awesome
C) a whole selection of stuff, I love all music

mod music 60s the who

Q5: You’re staying in to watch a film with your boyf…..what would you rather watch? 

A) The Girl on a Motorcycle by Jack Cardiff
B) Nowhere Boy: A Chronicle of John Lennon's Early Years
C) Miss Congeniality

 

Q6: You’re going on holiday…..which book will you take for the beach? 

A) I'd rather be out drinking than reading books
B) something pretentious but stimulating
C) I'd rather read Vogue

 

Q7: You bump into your old school teacher at the airport…..what would she have to say about you? 

A) "you were an absolutely rebel at school, thank goodness we expelled you!"
B) "you were always more interested in music and fashion than your studies!"
C) "I don't remember you. Who are you again?"

mod vs rocker quiz test

Q8: You’ve got a great holiday tan and you want a makeover…..what do you go for?

A) rock chick eyes and a nude lip
B) Twiggy inspired eyelashes and bright orange lipstick
C) a mix of both styles, I don't follow the rules

60s mod makeup twiggy

THE RESULTS: WORK OUT YOUR SCORE! 

If you answered mostly As, you’re likely a rocker chick. If you answered mostly Bs, you’re most like a Mod chick. If you answered mostly Cs, you probably don’t care about either. And if you answered an even mix of A,B and C then you’re probably a very well-rounded, eclectic individual!

We hope you had fun taking our Mod vs. Rockers quiz. This quiz was designed just for fun, not to be taken seriously – so don’t go reinventing your wardrobe with leather or Union Jacks just yet! ;)

And for vintage accessories from the 60s and other decades, make sure you sign up to our monthly subscription box.  Or join our newsletter to get the latest news on vintage/retro fashion and exclusive discounts.

SBP Team x