Out with the new, in with the old

 

There is something to be said for sticking with classics rather than constantly chasing trends, writes ROSEMARY MAC CABE

In the early noughties, something odd happened in fashion. Instead of buying new clothes that smelled of cheap, man-made fabrics and came from Asia, young people began to look to vintage shops for their “new” new look. Stars such as Sienna Miller and Kate Moss espoused the kind of devil-may-care attitude that seemed to go particularly well with vintage dresses and floppy fedoras, and the likes of Urban Outfitters and Topshop began to sell vintage clothing.

Soon designers followed: Ossie Clark and Biba experienced a revival, Diane von Furstenberg released a range of her classic prints on classic wrap dresses; and Orla Kiely’s brand of 1970s wallpaper kitsch grew in strength .

There is something to be said about dressing – and decorating, and eating – in the style of a bygone era. As you’re not paying attention to trends, you’ll never be out of sync, and you can stick to what suits you and what you like without feeling as if you’re behind (or ahead) of the curve.

Certain shapes, prints and designs will never go out of fashion: the pencil skirt, the shirt dress, the tailored suit and the flared jean are timeless.

It would be easy to lay the blame for a vintage revival at the feet of one Lana del Rey, but the interest in old-school dressing was around long before she was, and will certainly be around long after the dust has settled on the third re-release of Born to Die. Michelle Williams, Christina Hendricks and Ginnifer Goodwin have long been attending red-carpet events dressed in vintage-style gowns.

Even the young guns are at it – songstress Taylor Swift seemed to experience a kind of throwback to the 1950s when she got her bangs cut in (that’s fringe, to us Europeans) and has since been seen rocking a natty style of vintage dress, all pea coats and full-skirted dresses. Amanda Seyfried copied del Rey’s old-school glam hairstyle for a recent Les Misérables event, while Emma Stone has long been a fan of vintage-inspired dresses (although Stone, to her credit, is sure to lay the praise at the feet of her stylist, Petra Flannery).

Dressing in an old-school fashion is not for everyone – sometimes the joy of fashion is in discovering and exploring what’s new and modern and surprising – but there is a certain freedom afforded by the knowledge that you’ll never go out of style.

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