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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Are You Too Old For Vintage?

I'm basically a vintage clothing newbie.  Though I have long admired vintage clothes and owned and worn a few vintage items, I didn't start really collecting vintage and vintage reproduction clothes, and dressing in period styles on a nearly daily basis until last year, around my thirty fifth birthday. 

One of my first full on vintage outfits made by Time Machine Vintage.  I wore it to the jazz age lawn party last year.

Around that time I decided in the spirit of you only live once that since I love vintage style clothes, I should wear them, every day, even if I'm just walking my dogs.

 I admit however, that initially as most of the vintage bloggers whose sites I  had been lurking on for months where younger then me, I wondered if perhaps I was a bit too old for vintage.  
 I did what any one confronted with a conundrum does these days, I googled it.   I actually didn't find too many articles, but many I did find, such as this one from XO Jane, seemed down on the idea of woman past 30 wearing vintage.  The feeling being that it might look dowdy, matronly, or costumey. 

My opinion people should wear just want they please, be it sweat pants or evening gowns, regardless of age.   Since embracing vintage style I have feel more like me and I find a new pleasure in getting dressed everyday. 


  Today I turn 36 and I am more in love with vintage style then ever and I plan to keep on wearing it for as long as I'm on this earth.  In that spirit hear is my list of slightly older ladies, both real and fictional, who show that vintage style can look fantastic at any age.

1) Poirot's Miss Lemon

I am so enamored of Poirot's Miss Lemon, I did a whole post on her here, as played by Pauline Moran on the Masterpiece Theatre series that I frequently lose track of the murder plots in the episodes of this show, because I'm too busy drooling over Miss Lemon's outfits.   I consider Miss Lemon the ultimate 1930s style icon, but Poirot is packed with other gorgeous examples of vintage style worn by ladies of all ages.

2) Fashion Journalist Lynn Yaeger

Lynn Yaeger may not wear strictly vintage but this fashion journalist obviously has eccentric retro influenced style and doesn't let age stand in her way of looking unique and fabulous.  Here is an article about her vintage collecting.

3) Katherine Hepburn-

Granted when she was wearing it, it wasn't vintage but Katherine Hepburn had a successful film career in the late 1940s and 1950s when she was in her 40s, making her a rarity at a time when younger actresses where de rigeur.  

4) Lucille Ball-

Again, the same issue as with Katherine Hepburn, but when Lucille Ball was at the height of her TV fame she was in her 40s.   Her cute 50s house dresses would look amazing on a woman of any age today.

5) Agatha Christie's Miss Marple as played by Joan Hickson on the 1984 to 92 series,

 understood that the key to true style is to have a uniform.   With her trademark straw hat, tweed suit, and carpet bag she had an eccentric and charming uniform.  Was it matronly, yes, but it had a lot of charm too.

6) Miss Marple as played by Geraldine McEwan on the 2004-2009 series.

McEwan's Marple is a bit more dressed up then Hickinson's but the essential components of the look: straw hat, carpet bag, and tweed are there.

7) All of the older ladies of advanced style.  These women sport many amazing outfits, from classic to kooky, and vintage is a frequent element.   If you ever get tired of seeing teenage models plastered across magazine covers and advertisements, then this blog is the anecdote.  It is a wonderful celebration of the creativity and style of older people.  The best part is it isn't just superficial style the blog tells the women's, and sometimes men's, stories all of which show that older people can live exciting and full lives.


All of the above images are from Advanced Style.

I'm sure there are many other wonderful examples of older people with great style, vintage and otherwise, if you have any additions to my list I'd love to hear them.


  1. Happy birthday! You look very pretty in your vintage style clothes!
    I do regret that I didn't wear young people's clothes when I was young. Now those clothes just look wrong on me. I think it's great you wear what you love every day :-)

    1. Im sure there are styles you can look totally amazing in. There are things I wouldn't wear now that Im in my 30s but I think if you take a look at that advancd style blog youll see some older people who look pretty fab in supposedly young clothes
      and thanks for the b day wishes

  2. Happy Birthday!!! I don't think I could pull it off but you always look fabulous!

    Pug Hugs, Ellen

  3. Happy birthday Kate! I love your style!

  4. You might like the "Miss Fisher Mysteries" Australian TV series. SHE says at least your Vintage is older than SHE is....except maybe Lucy.

    XXXOOO Bella & Roxy

  5. A big thank you for finding the advancestyle blog. I'm 63 so this is right up my ally. I immediately put it on my reading list. I have read about the same age issue with dressing vintage. I don't think there is any one answer.It really depends how you put it off. I like the way you do it.

    I'm mainly am interested in mid century furniture and don't really get to much clothes from the earlier eras. But I have a growing collection of vintage Rodo purses that I carry every chance that I get. And I have bought my share of Vogue vintage reproduction patterns. I have a jacket from the '48 that I am just itching to make. Some vintage is timeless.

    For me, I like to add a little vintage for just some flair. especially my vintage silk Poodle scarfs. I like what you are doing. Keep it up! OK, enough of my rambling!

  6. OK, one more thing. You might enjoy another blog I read,, Lizzie Bramlett is very learned in the area of vintage clothes, to the point of a scholar.

  7. Super happy birthday wishes!!!

    Excellent post and topic, dear Kate. I share your belief that one is never too old for vintage. I began sporting it at 15, will be 30 in less than four months, and plan to keep on wearing vintage clothing and styles for the rest of my life. Will some styles with an especially youthful feel to them become less common in my wardrobe as the years go on? Likely, but ultimately, no matter my age, if I want to wear something that makes me happy, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will!

    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* One of my favourite over forty vintage fashion bloggers is the immeasurably stylish, and uber knowledgeable, Joanna from the blog Dividing Vintage Moments (

  8. We hope you had a birthday filled with magic, fun, and adventure! Enjoy what you love and live what you enjoy no matter your age! Life is too short!
    Happy Birthday from all the girls at redberrycottage! We love the retro style and the new blog!

  9. We think you should do what feels good for you and what pleases you. You are never too old and style is style whatever age. Boo hum-bug to anyone who thinks age is a barrier to dressing vintage. Go girl and you look mighty fine in it. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  10. I could hardly say it better than Molly! I think you look lovely, and --to me-- your being in your thirties lends authenticity. I see you as someone real, not someone who "dresses up"--if you know what I mean!

  11. Wonderful thoughts. I too am a vintage loving lady of 36..eek soon to be 37 in 3 days and just like you I got into the game in my 30s but I will be honest I never thought about whether I was too "old" for vintage when I started wearing it. I just knew I liked..sorry loved wearing pieces of history. I was recently in Vegas for Viva and the vintage fashions were insane there but amongst the young 20 somethings were some absolutely gorgeous women in their 40s, 50s, 60s etc. wearing some great vintage and they look amazing! (Including my mother). So age should never be an issue. Wear what you love for as long as you want to is my mantra. You look fantastic btw and Happy birthday!


    Just found your blog and love it! I am 33 and a soon to be mom of four. I realize I don't fit the expected image of a pretty young thing blogging about and wearing vintage styles, but I think it's important to wear what you like, what flatters your shape, and what you enjoy. I find myself much more confident about how I look in vintage than I ever would have ten years ago. I hope that by sharing my love of wearing vintage style clothing I can encourage other women to be who they are and have fun with dressing each day no matter what age or size they are.
    I also wonder if there are or will be styles I think too youthful for me as I age, but so far haven't felt that urge. I'm currently sewing up a 1940s ruffled sleeveless pinafore maternity dress, because I want to.
    My husband also loves it when I dress vintage(ahem, stockings are awesomely sexy). There's nothing more sexy than being happy and confident in what you're wearing.
    Hope you keep wearing what you like, and you might want to check out Lisa Freemont Street. She blogs and has a ton of videos on YouTube and is in her thirties, and I think she always looks amazing in the vintage styles she rocks.

  13. This post resonates with me so deeply! Happy birthday, darling!

  14. Interesting piece. I don't think age should come into it at all! Far better to wear clothes that reflect your personality, that you feel good in and that make you happy. I am the same age as you and have never considered this question. In fact, I feel like I am just get time into my vintage wearing stride and feel like I will be wearing it more and more as time goes on.

  15. I'm over 30, I enjoy vintage, and I don't care what other people think. Why should only young people be allowed to wear old styles? If you look at vintage photos of "ordinary" people instead of Hollywood starlets, you will see well-dressed women of all ages.

  16. Happy Birthday!

    I'm 47 and I've been wearing vintage for about 30 years now. I wear more of it now then when I was in my 20s, mainly because now I wear what makes me happy rather than worrying about other people's opinions.

    I'm not head-to-toe vintage, I don't do vintage style make-up or hair, and I do mix old with new. A lot depends on my own mood. I can put on a dress one day and feel kinda frumpy in it and decide not to wear that dress. But then the next week I can put on the same dress and feel great in it.

    I had to laugh at a comment in the 'XO Jane' story that you linked to. Someone said that Dita Von Teese was looking 'Nana' - I don't think there is anything 'nana' about the way Dita dresses!


  17. Hi. Great article and I love your choice of style icons. I don't want to think about there being a "too old" point for vintage style, because I'm only just starting to explore it myself at 32. I think that complete vintage looks aren't for everyone, regardless of age, just as complete modern looks aren't for everyone. I'll probably be more of a mixer of styles, and I'm far too lazy to style my hair everyday and I don't wear much makeup.

    I think the key argument against there being a "too old" comes up in your icons. Vintage styles weren't always vintage, they were just fashion, and women of all ages wore some version of that era's style. As I age, I do consider some styles of clothing to be too young for me to personally feel comfortable in (though I have no problem with other women wearing them), but I'm not going to wipe out whole decades or everything "vintage" for that reason! Lots of vintage styles are ideally suited to more mature women anyway.

    I have to say that when I looked through the Advanced Style book, it made me want to be older! They are amazing inspiration. More exciting was how much my 82 year old grandmother lit up when looking through it. She was totally re-inspired about fashion and it was wonderful to see.


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