Vintage style blogger, Claire Culley, is a dedicated follower of preloved fashion. We caught up with her to talk about her favourite designers, where to snap up some retro threads and how style-conscious modern girls and boys can breathe new life into old looks.
Tell us about yourself?
By day I work for Preloved and by night I moonlight as a writer and style blogger. I’m really just a normal, slightly awkward girl (I blame my height and my knack for getting myself into embarrassing situations) who eats a lot of cake, wears pretty vintage frocks and will ramble to anyone who will listen.
You’ve got a blog recounting your retro adventures
My blog, http://shescalledclaire.blogspot.com, is centred around vintage fashion. Some days I post outfits I have styled up with my vintage and second hand finds. Sometimes I feature vintage events I have been to or other vintage shops around the country and sometimes I jus
t ramble about whatever I feel like talking about.
Where did the idea come from to start your blog?
Vintage has always been in my life. I love the idea of wearing something that has a story. Each dress I put on feels like it has a history and that’s really quite special. Especially in this day and age when you can go to a party and find at least three people wearing your high street dress and probably looking better in it than you do. I started the blog as I wanted to start writing every day and get my style of writing out to the masses. Combining it with vintage just seemed like the sensible thing to do. Plus it gave me the excuse to dig out all the clothes I’ve been collecting over the years and wear them all again. I hope that the blog will also inspire people to wear more vintage and to show that even pieces that you find in a charity shop can be worn and styled to look bang on trend.
How do you decide what to wear each day?
I have to be honest here. I don’t really plan my outfits when I get dressed in the morning. I also don’t plan what I’m going to write about that day. I just kind of go with it and hope for the best. It’s pretty much like a bomb has hit my bedroom each morning and I would imagine it’s probably quite amusing to watch me find something to wear. Obviously I have to factor in my shape and height into my choices. I’m 6″ so a lot of vintage clothes come up quite small on me which can sometimes be a bit frustrating. Although I generally find there’s a way round the lengths. Thick tights, long cardies and praying I don’t get caught by a gust of wind usually seem to do the trick.
What’s been you favourite outfit so far?
I would have to say my favourite outfit has been one of my nanna’s dresses. She had such an amazing style and always looked so beautiful. I’m lucky that we were the same size as all her dresses fit me like a dream!
It sounds like your nanna had a real influence on your style?
It was actually my nanna who first got me hooked. She made a dressing up box for me and my cousins when we were little full of her old clothes, shoes and jewellery and we used to spend hours dressing up in them. I’m lucky enough to now own and wear some of those pieces.
Is there a particular period you love above all others?
I love the fifties, in particular the clothes, the hair, the interiors and the music. If I could go back in time, even just for a day, I would definitely go back to the fifties.
What’s been the reaction of family/friends/strangers?
Everyone I’ve told about the blog has been really supportive, although secretly probably thought I was a little bit crazy! I’m also lucky enough to have very stylish friends who have lent me a lot of their vintage pieces too.
Give us some tips for mixing and matching?
One of the main things I am trying to concentrate on is to show people that you can wear second hand items and bring them up to date. My advice would be to find a classic vintage piece and then accessorize it with high street or designer pieces. That way you know you’re still on trend while expressing your own personal style.
Who are your favourite designers?
At the moment my favourite clothes designer is Elizabeth Lau – her designs are super cute and very vintage inspired. One of her frocks is currently on my wish list! I also adore Lulu Guinness bags.
Where’s the best place to pick up vintage pieces?
I find lots of my pieces on Preloved, and vintage fairs are great places to pick up pieces as there’s literally thousands of lovely vintage wears all under one roof ready for a good rummage.
Do you think clothes were made better in the past?
Yes, you can definitely feel that a lot more care and attention went into creating them. The stitching and the fabrics are much better quality than anything you would find on the high street these days.
Who are you vintage inspirations?
Alexa Chung. Obviously. There’s nothing that she doesn’t look good in and I take a lot of inspiration from her. I know that she’s a favourite among most gals nowadays, but I just love her effortlessly chic style. I also have a special place in my heart for the classics – Audrey and Marilyn. Two ladies who always looked amazing and whose style we still talk about and aspire to be like to this day.
Why do you think vintage is so popular?
Lots more people are getting into vintage now which does mean that the bargains get snapped up quicker than usual. However, it does mean that we are seeing a change in the way people dress. We’re starting to develop our own style rather than all walking around like clones. I really like the idea of this. It really promotes individuality.
Does your passion for vintage fashion extend into other areas of your life?
I love vintage furniture, I would LOVE to own a classic car and you can normally find me hanging around at Goodwood Revival each year.
Aren’t you too young for all this old stuff?
Absolutely not! I like the fact that I’m taking old clothes and making them current.
There seems to be loads of vintage wear for women, can men get in on the act too?
Totally! In fact there is already a big vintage scene for men. I’m just hoping more men catch on soon as I do find a man in vintage rather swoony indeed.
If you could have just one vintage item of clothing, what would it be?
It would have to be a fifties’ Chanel suit. Simple, classic and timeless.
Do you ever fall off the vintage wagon and go into Gap or New Look?
Haha, yes! I wear a lot of high street pieces and mix them with vintage pieces too. Basically I get to experience the best of both worlds and what girl doesn’t like to shop, eh?!