“My name is Gemma, otherwise known as Retro Chick. I left my job all the way back in 2007 to become self-employed, and I am now involved in several projects with a vintage twist. I blog about vintage style at my blog Retro Chick, run a website called Vintage Norwich focusing on events in my home town, and I’m one third of the Historical Sauces, an entertainment and educational team focussing on vintage fashion and glamour.

I’ve had an obsession with dressing up all my life. My mother loves to tell how hard it was to get me out of the dressing-up box and into “proper” clothes. As an adult it took me a long time to find confidence in my own style and it was starting to sell and wear vintage that finally made me realise that I wasn’t a freak, my body is just a different shape to the modern average and vintage clothes often fit me much better. Since I became self-employed and started reading other vintage blogs, I think I’ve become so much more confident in myself and my style has really changed over the last few years.

I do most of my shopping in charity shops and highstreet sales, or I hunt down bargains on eBay. I’m always on a budget and I’m more interested in creating a look that I like than being strictly authentic to a particular decade. I keep an eye out for shapes, fabrics and colours that appeal to me and then work them into a vintage look. I love it when someone asks where I bought my clothes and is astonished to find out that they’re mostly highstreet. I think it’s all about using a little imagination, and good accessories!

I find myself mostly drawn to the late Thirties and early Forties, though I also love to dabble with the Fifties and even the Sixties. It’s what I think of as “lady like” styles that tend to grab me. I rarely wear skirts that fall above the knee, and I love hats, gloves and pearls. I love hunting for homewares and cocktail paraphernalia as well and have an unhealthy amount of mismatched Art Deco china, cocktail shakers and glassware covering every available surface.

What I love most about vintage is the freedom it gives me to play around with my wardrobe. I don’t feel any pressure to keep up with trends or look a certain way and I wear what I want, when I want. If I feel like being a Thirties starlet today and a Forties Land Girl tomorrow, I can.”


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