I’ve been considering a new style direction for Spring. I want something that includes fun, vintage fashions, with a hint of preppiness mixed in. The look should be flattering and ladylike, and be flexible enough to adapt to the changing weather over the next couple of months.
I started thinking about the elements that usually crop up in my wardrobe around this time of year- cardigans, mid-length skirts and comfortable shoes, as well as on-trend items such as loafers, floral prints and lace. When I mixed these elements together, I came up with a fun, playful style direction, which I like to call ‘Glamour Nan”.
I stole the name from the Nanageddon episode of The Mighty Boosh. In that episode, Vince Noir disguises himself as Glamour Nan, “an old lady who was quite saucy in the fifties”. I love this idea, and wanted to work with the concept of styling nana-esque garments in a sexy way.
The best starting point for the Glamour Nan look is the humble op-shop. Spend an afternoon scouting your local church and charity shop for garments that have a bit of an ‘old lady’ appeal. Here is a shopping list of items you might like to look for:
– Knitted cardigans. Look for anything with a textured knit, whether it’s fine or chunky. Pearl or ornate buttons work well with this look. Keep an eye out for any cardigan with an embellishment, like embroidery or beading.
– High-necked blouses. Select blouses with pretty prints and interesting buttons. Blouses with pleats and pin-tucks are brilliant. Choose blouses that button right up to the neck and which have interesting collars.
– Tweed skirts. Choose skirts that fall below the knee, in tones of grey, black, green or navy.
– Strands of beads.
– Stylish shoes. Both heels and flats work nicely with this look. If you’re going to wear heels, opt for a pair with a stacked or kitten heel- no stilettos. Choose shoes with a rounded toe or a square-toed court shoe, and shy away from pointed toes. Shoes with embellishments, like buttons, are brilliant for this look.
– Silk scarves and shawls.
– Dresses with long, full skirts and long sleeves. Go for a demure print or a full, classic colour.
– Big handbags. You don’t want to cross over into the more modern oversized handbags though. Find something that’s relatively large, but not too large. Chain handles and ornate clasps are a good finishing touch.
– Hats. Little cocktail hats and wide-brimmed sunhats are perfect.
The colour palette for this look is classic and broad. You can wear pastel shades, like mint, frosted pink, mauve and lemon. Darker shades of mustard, rust, emerald green, navy, chocolate, charcoal and black can be used to anchor the look. If you want to add a burst of colour, try royal blue, amethyst and rose pink.
Now, at first glance, you might think that these garments and colours together would look quite frumpy and unflattering. They might, but not if you take further steps to make the look sexy and gorgeous. It’s time to add the glamour to your outfit. To take the look for ‘Nana” to “Glamour Nan”, try these twists:
-Keep your clothes fitted. You don’t want to show too much skin with this look, but you also don’t want to obliterate the shape of your body with baggy garments. Choose clothes that fit you well and hug your curves.
– Cinch your waist. Use a belt or a scarf to pull in the waistline of baggy cardigans and dresses. By highlighting your waist, you create a sexy hourglass shape.
– Add sexy stockings. If you’re wearing a skirt, add a raunchy edge by pulling on a pair of seamed stockings. They’re subtle and give just a hint of sauciness.
– Style your hair. If you leave your hair limp and tousled, you are going to look pretty frumpy. Instead, try a vintage-inspired up-do, which will look polished and prim, while highlighting your gorgeous neck. If you don’t like wearing your hair up, set your hair in cascading curls and then brush them until they gleam.
– Wear a strong lip colour and a defined eye with a perfectly-powdered complexion.
– Finish the look with dazzling jewellery. Brooches, beads and chunky rings are a wonderful way to add a bit of sparkle to this look. There are plenty of cheaper vintage reproduction pieces available, or you could wear true vintage jewellery if you are lucky enough to have any.
The key to this look is keeping things polished and looking well-groomed. If you left your hair and makeup undone, and wore a baggy cardigan with a tweed skirt and stacked heels, you run the risk of looking a bit drab. By doing your hair and makeup, keeping your clothes fitted and carefully accessorizing your outfit, you make the whole outfit look a bit more deliberate, and less like something that you threw on without any thought.