Thursday, April 1, 2010

Creating a Vintage Look

If you have vintage taste and a pauper's budget, there are alternatives to the albeit lovely, but expensive Posh Girl Vintage and similar type shops.  Of course there's local thrift stores, Ebay, grandmothers' closets, and Etsy, as well as vintage patterns waiting to materialize at the next sewer's whim, though it can be a chore to sort through.  However, the reward is pretty great for those persevering enough.

For my bridal session with Mariko, I knew that I did not want to pack my wedding dress for a cross country flight.  I began to look for a vintage inspired outfit that was under $100 and would pack easily.  For three weeks, I searched everyday for new items on Ebay and Etsy.  On the last day I had to order items if I wanted them to ship in time, I ran across 3 perfect pieces.

First I searched for the dress because all of the other accessories depended on the era, shape, and texture.  I used "white dress small" as the search terms in the vintage section of etsy.  I sifted through roughly 35 pages and marked potentials as favorites to return to later.  As soon as I found this little number, I knew that I really had something that I could build a vision around.
I was drawn to the ethereal qualities of the sheer cape as well as the shape of the dress.  No matter how cute a dress is, if it doesn't work with your body shape, it's not worth buying.  I have shoulders that I can show off, but hips that I would rather not.  This dress would accentuate my shoulders with the v-neck and disguise my hips with a cinched waist and more free flowing skirt.

Next, I searched for a head piece of some sort.  I wasn't sure if a flower, headband, or veil would work best, and after searched through literally hundreds of pages of results, I decided to narrow my search to "vintage veil."  Well, hello lover!
The netting was just perfect and so was the price.  I did debate mixing a 60's leaning hat with a 70's leaning dress, but the condition of the hat was exceptional and I bent my era rules a little. 

I threw out the only pair of white sandals that I owned in a fit of rage over sore tootsies last year, so I determined that I should also search for some footwear as long as I was striking lucky.  Within 30 seconds I had this pair of pumps in my shopping cart waiting for check out:
I was pretty darn proud of myself for finding and purchasing all of the articles within about 1 hour of searching and all for under budget!  Here is the cost breakdown:

Dress: $30 + Free Shipping
Veil: $8.76 + $9 Shipping
Shoes: $7 + $7 Shipping
Total (including shipping): $61.76

For those who get discouraged and feel like they keep getting skunked while looking for vintage deals, one of the keys is flexibility.  Yes, I would have loved a party dress with crinoline; but given my time frame and budget, I needed to be open to other styles in order to make sure I found something that fit.  Also, the dress I chose had a few small rips along the seams and could have used a few stitches to replace two hooks on the back.  Since I was only wearing the dress for a short time, I opted not to fix those minor problems.  If I were going to actually get married in this dress, I would have done the simple mending and saved myself a bundle.

Are you having success in your vintage wedding wear searches?  What are some of your tips?

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