So here’s the next installment in my #vintage series where I get to know some great Instagram guys and gals you should definitely take a peek at!
Today I’ve been speaking to Jess and Ellie from @rubywoogirls
Hi Jess! Hey Ellie! Tell me a little about yourselves.
Ellie: I live in Kent and I currently work in the Registry office at my local college. As well as being a lover of all things vintage, I am a huge musical theatre nerd, an avid bookworm and I am constantly singing!
Jess: I live in Hampshire and work as a Military Tailor. I have always been a creative person, sewing and knitting are two of my passions. I am also a bookworm and lover of vintage films and musicals.
What first sparked your interest in vintage fashion?
Ellie: I have always felt that I was born in the wrong era, to be honest! I’ve been a bit of a history buff since I was a little girl, and the 1940s were always a period of particular interest. I think that my interest in vintage fashion came from that – I love how smart and classy the clothes were (Jess & I are both suckers for the crisp, clean lines of 40s tailoring!), and how red lipstick was seen as a morale booster.
Jess: I would have to say my mum first sparked my interest in vintage fashion. At the age of 16 I wanted a unique prom dress and she showed me her collection. From my gorgeous red 50s prom dress I was hooked! Through my degree (in Costume for film and theatre) I really honed in on my true love of the classic 40s look.
Do either of you remember what your first vintage/vintage inspired/reproduction piece was?
Ellie: The first vintage item I bought was a pair of Victorian /Edwardian cream kid gloves, at a fair in Suffolk when I was about 9 or 10 years old. They’re gorgeous, but sadly no longer fit me (they’re tiny!), so I might sell them on our Instagram page at some point – watch this space.
Jess: I ended up adopting a lot of my mum’s pieces so didn’t buy any of my own for a long time. I think the first piece I bought for myself was repro – a gorgeous Lindybop wiggle dress. I didn’t buy my own true vintage clothes until incredibly recently at Retro Fest. I’m now the incredibly happy owner of a gorgeous charcoal grey 1940s suit!
What’s your current favourite item in your wardrobe?
Ellie: I have two. The first one is my fabulous replica WAAF uniform, made for me by Jess’ fair hands – she’s so talented. I absolutely love wearing it. The second is a very recent addition to my wardrobe, and it’s a beautiful grey-blue 1940s jacket I bought at Retro Festival from Black Sheep Antiques. I feel so glamorous in it and cannot wait to give it its first proper outing very soon!
Jess: I think my current favourite is a gorgeous green with silver foil polka dot 1930s dress. I think it has all been handsewn and it has the most amazingly structured sleeves. I hadn’t worn it for three or four years until very recently and I have fallen back in love all over again!
You post a lot of photos from your adventures and events you’ve been to. What’s been your favourite event so far? What’s your favourite trip you’ve taken together?
Ellie: Salute To The 40s at Chatham Dockyard is a firm favourite for me, and I can’t wait to go again in September. My favourite trip we’ve taken together so far would have to be Retro Festival at Newbury, which we went to for the first time this year. We had such a great time.
Jess: I also would have to say that Retro Festival has been my favourite trip together. We are definitely planning bigger and further afield adventures in the near future! Another firm favourite has to be the 1940s Weekend at Tenterden Railway. Although it’s so little it was our first real Vintage Event together. And we are both suckers for a beautiful steam train!
Do you have any style heroes?
Ellie: There are so many lovely ladies on Instagram who are definitely style heroes for me. To name but a few: elegant.giraffe.vintage, hettiesky, rachel_maksy, noortjelaan, kirstiemydear and vintagemaedchen_by_victoria. Of course, it’s not just women who dress in vintage style, and I’d like to give a shout out to a couple of the gentlemen too: tomcarradine and bunnysvintagewardrobe.
Outside of Instagram, my style heroes are basically any women in photographs and films from the past – they are a constant source of inspiration!
Jess: As well as all the amazing people of Instagram that Ellie has already mentioned I would have to say that old photographs are the main inspiration. I will see a photograph and get fixated on one aspect, for example the perfect gibson roll!
I also have a love for Grace Kelly. Having seen the exhibition of her costumes and clothes at the V&A museum several years ago I aspire to have such a classic, elegant and timeless look!
Wearing vintage inspired fashion tends to get odd looks, finger pointing and the occasional laugh, do either of you experience this at all? How do you deal with it?
Ellie: I don’t (yet) wear vintage-style clothing every day, but have found that I do get some odd looks wearing it outside of vintage events. To be honest, I feel that I look my best in vintage clothing, so I don’t really mind! I’ve actually found people generally to be very complimentary, and I love it when we get told, as we have done a few times, that we look just like someone’s mother or grandmother when they were younger – surely that’s a sign we’re getting it right!
Jess: I can honestly say I’ve never experienced a negative reaction to wearing vintage inspired fashion. Maybe I’ve just ignored anything less that complimentary but I feel so happy when I’m wearing vintage that I don’t really take notice of what anyone else thinks, I do it for me! If my metal head fiancé can accept my quirky dress sense then a stranger in the street can!
Any words of advice for anyone who is considering vintage style?
Ellie: Don’t feel under pressure to buy something just because it’s from the period you’re interested in if you don’t love it, or if it’s out of your budget. Modern clothes can be styled to look vintage, and doing so can be a great way to develop your passion for vintage style. Very importantly, buy items you LOVE, be they repro or authentic vintage – you want to feel fabulous wearing them.
Jess: I would definitely say don’t feel pressured to buy “true vintage”. Its all in the styling and you can easily create a vintage look with modern high street items. And don’t get hung up on the authenticity. I began spending so long researching the perfect 40s this or the other but in the end realised if I love my outfit then I don’t care if I span 3 or 4 decades – it’s my own unique blend of vintage!
Thank you Ellie! Thank you Jess (congratulations on your engagement!!) 🙂