By Laura Nash
The Sewing and Stitchery Expo has long been the place to show off your creative garment finesse, and this year will be no different! Having attended the Expo as a vendor since 2012, year after year it’s been a pleasure to watch people go from simply reminiscing to boldly embracing the mainstream return to vintage. Have you made the move to retro? If you like to feel beautiful, confident, and love getting compliments, then why hesitate?
Hello, my name is Laura Nash and I am the owner, designer, pattern maker, and instructor at Sew Chic Pattern Company where I design “Modern Patterns with Vintage Style” at SewChicPatterns.com. Today I’m going to help you visualize how easy it is to make the move to retro, and hopefully debunk any arguments you may have against adopting this trend for yourself. So get ready to plan your Expo retro wardrobe!
Retro Style, also known as “vintage-inspired,” is about a return to the clothing styles of the early first half of the 20th century and ranges from totally authentic looks to second-hand vintage or new vintage inspired separates that are paired with totally modern elements and accessories.
What is truly vintage can get confusing, but typically garments have lots of unique details, use classic fabrics, and feminine silhouettes. Pair your outfits with a simple Mary Jane or ballerina flat shoe. Classics like these can go with anything.
To give your outfit a more authentic air, add accessories such as belts, gloves, a small hat, or a fastener.
If you’ve never worn a petticoat before, you can ease into it with a petticoat with less fullness. One word of caution. Not enough fullness or fullness in the wrong body areas can add visual weight. What you are looking for is structure to enhance the shape and silhouette of your dress or skirt, filling in the area around your legs. The fuller your skirt circumference or the heavier the fabric is, the more fullness your petticoat needs to help the garment hold its shape. Lighter fabrics and less fullness look great with a lighter petticoat.
My standard go-to top for skirts and pants is a plain (often white) t-shirt worn with a button down sweater that matches my separate. I admit that I have a whole drawer full of these sets!
Retro need not be form-fitting. At first glance, this is the pattern everyone calls my “Lucille Ball” outfit! Envision yourself wearing this stylish silhouette!
Have you ever said to yourself “I’d like to wear retro” but think you’re just too old? Let me introduce you to Judy! Isn’t she adorable in this cotton house dress? She is the focal point of the room! Age is no reason to avoid wearing what you love.
Maybe you think you can’t wear retro because you have a full figure? Not so! Wear styles that smooth over the tummy, flare at the skirt and broaden the shoulders to give the illusion of an hourglass figure. Notice how my friend Jocelyn has accessorized with a bright bag and wears a flower in her hair to draw the eye to her face. These bright colors make us happy to just look at her!
Think creatively when considering your favorite retro looks. Southern Belle displays formally but is easily made to look casual and visa versa as above.
As with any project, I encourage my students to add a unique detail that will lean it toward their personality and give it that “pizzazz” that makes it uniquely their own. If you’d like more info on how to dress retro, check out my One Neeedle Expo class #1039 “Harmony in design, dress, and body type” or my trunk show #1040 “Style Me Vintage.”
Join me and my booth crew at the Pavilion #925/923 at 5 p.m. Friday for a little soiree and celebrate your style of Retro with us!