Vintage Queen no 77: Stef from Austria Our amazing Vintage Queen number 77 quite enjoys standing out and she certainly does with her bright tights and fab mix of vintage skirts and dresses – a brilliant mix of vintage decades that absolutely deserves to get noticed! “My name is Stef, and I’m an Austrian living in England.I grew up in an old farm house in rural Austria lovingly decorated in country house style by my Mom. Weekends were often spent at car boot sales and flea-markets where Mom would upraise each stall’s offerings and haggle fiercely for antiques and curiosities that caught her eye. Soon I started my own collections of postcards and old photographs. I’ve always appreciated vintage, pre-owned things and loved to speculate about who they might have belonged to before me. However, my thrifting never extended to clothing until I moved to England, where I discovered charity shops and online shopping. Thirties and Forties fashion always made me swoon, even as a child. Film-noir heroines in their immaculate curls and tailored suits epitomized cool, composed perfection, stylized and unobtainable. As much as I wanted to, I didn’t feel confident enough to adopt such a distinctive style until much later. While studying photography at university I began collecting props for staged photographs. I went thrifting for all sorts of odd items for a series of playful self-portraits depicting dreams, family anecdotes and fairytale stories. Before long, I had amassed boxes full of oddities ranging from old GPO phones and doll house furniture to clothes. I gradually stopped thinking of the latter as costumes and they soon replaced the T-shirts and jeans which had dominated my wardrobe until then. Bored with current fashion I started to take inspiration from styles worn in films and began following vintage blogs. I learnt how to transform my limp hair using pin and rag-curls and became more bold and particular about the style of my clothing. I never buy anything I feel lukewarm about anymore. If it doesn’t sweep me off my feet it doesn’t belong in my closet. That way choosing clothes in the morning always puts a smile on my face. I don’t stick to items from any one decade exclusively but mix and match as I please. My wardrobe contains a centenarian blouse and a couple of Forties, Fifties and Eighties dresses and skirts as well as a number of reproductions and more recent pass-me-downs from family and friends. I own one pair of trousers but they don’t come out of the closet more than a couple of times a year. Since I exclusively wear dresses and skirts, I have become engrossed with tights. I have a pair in every colour of the rainbow. Bright and cheery – no good for blending in with a crowd but I have rather come to enjoy sticking out.” Read more about Stef on her blog.