Book review & author interview: Style Me Vintage – Clothes Style Me Vintage, Clothes – a Guide to Sourcing and Recreating Retro Looks (Anova Books, currently £5.89 on Amazon, available from 1 February) is the third book in a series on vintage styling, which has so far covered hair and make-up. Written by London-based vintage stylist and personal shopper Naomi Thompson, the book covers a variety of styles from the Twenties to the Eighties. Jam-packed with honest, no-nonsense advice from what to look out for when shopping for vintage to how to remove sweat smell (vodka apparently!), Style Me Vintage – Clothes, is a great introduction to period styles and vintage shopping. Each decade features various styles from daywear to evening looks, casual and more formal outfits, including advice on accessories, shapewear and swimwear. The looks are meticulously put together and beautifully styled without ever feeling too cliched – a mistake so many other vintage styling books seem to make – or too out-there for modern re-interpretation. Although those new to vintage will benefit the most from this lovely little guide, it still makes an enjoyable read for long-term vintage fans eager to discover decades they don’t normally dip into or coo over the brilliant examples of timeless vintage fashion that are being showcased. Want to find out more? Well, we’ve met up with author Naomi Thompson, who runs a personal vintage shopping service at Vintage Secret, to discover what first attracted her to vintage and to get her top tips on vintage shopping. QueensOfVintage: Tell us a little about yourself – what do you do? Naomi Thompson: Hello! Well I do a lot of things, but mainly these days I enjoy helping women of all shapes and sizes (and ages) find wonderful vintage outfits, key pieces to mix with modern wardrobes or even entire collections of vintage clothing. Basically as little or as much as they want as long as they look great and feel special. This is what I do as personal shopper. I am also the proud mother of Style Me Vintage, Clothes – a Guide to Sourcing and Recreating Retro Looks, and I write for a number of publications and pop up on the telly every now and then. When I am not doing that then I am generally found to be drinking tea with my gang of vintage girls, The Vintage Mafia, or stomping around like a woman possessed in Portsmouth, where I live. QoV: Your book is about recreating vintage styles – how did you get into vintage? Naomi: It was mainly the influence of my grandmother Margaret, who was way before her time and started collecting interesting items of clothing long before they were popular or held the value they have today. She still has a tremendous eye for quality, but she can’t get over how much stuff sells for now. I don’t think she ever paid more than a few pounds for anything, yet she passed on to me an amazing collection from the 1800’s to the Fifties. It also very much stemmed from the teenage horror that comes with feeling like you need to keep up with everyone else. I remember girls at school bragging about the designer clothing they owned and not really wanting to be a part of it. This has also developed my strong belief that you should be able to wear whatever you want, if it makes you happy, without being judged or criticised. QoV: Do you have any personal style icons? Naomi: Apart from a phase aged 14 of wanting to be Courtney Love, I have never really had style icons per se. I admire anyone who is comfortable with their own style. This kind of confidence oozes out of people who don’t give a dam what fashion dictates. You can spot a nervous dresser a mile off. I have recently become slightly obsessed by women of an advanced age who have retained a fierce style that would put many younger ladies to shame. I’m currently on a mission to get girls out of leggings and baggy tops that destroy their waists. QoV: What do you think is the biggest hurdle for people trying to get into vintage? Naomi: Their own fear that it isn’t for them or that they are the wrong shape, which is why I try and teach people as much as possible about the classic shapes and cuts, what suits them and why. Once you have mastered the art of vintage dressing you can take those skills and walk into any high street shop and buy with ease. QoV: What are your top three tips for a successful vintage shopping trip? Naomi: 1) Go with an open mind – you never know what you might find. On that note , don’t be afraid to try things on. 2) Wear something that is easy to get out in and out of. You can’t just slip vintage clothes over modern clothes. They quite often have very little ‘give’ and are either a perfect fit or not a fit at all, which is why vintage can look so stunning and structured. 3) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most good shops known their stock inside out and will be able to advise on fit. QoV: Are there three items you think any vintage lover should have in their wardrobe? Naomi: 1) A good dramatic coat of any era can jazz up a plain outfit and make you feel like a million dollars 2) A pair Of Freddie’s of Pinewood jeans (pictured). These are not actually vintage but are the best repro jeans I have found. The waists are very high and will go with vintage blouses or jumpers, which tend to be much shorter than modern ones. 3) Not an item per say….but a selection of vintage hats and handbags are a must and can still be picked up relatively cheaply. QoV: What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about vintage? Naomi: That it smells and that there isn’t something for everyone. That there are no bargains left (there certainly are!). QoV: Which are your favourite vintage shops? Naomi: That would be telling my secrets. You will have to come shopping with me! 3 Responses Brigitte @ Cheap Vintage Clothing January 22nd, 2012 Loved the article. This is why I envy London and all the events that are put together there. I have a lot of buyers from the UK and can see why now. If I’m ever there an appt with you would be lovely! Reply Naomi Thompson January 23rd, 2012 Thanks Brigitte, pls do drop me a line if you are in London 🙂 Reply Penny Dreadful Vintage January 25th, 2012 Can’t wait to get stuck into my copy 🙂 Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.