Why do we love Vintage Fashion so much?

Why is vintage fashion back on trend? Why do we feel so drawn to fashion from the 50s and 60s? Call me crazy but I am the kind of girl who feels really nostalgic about those amazing two decades after WW2 when people rebuilt their homes, their confidence, when there was so much optimism for the future, when there was very little technology and every new gadget was rather seen with scepticism to then being fully embraced by the masses, when advertising, as we know it today, was invented; when people took it easier and spent more time with the family;  when girls started getting crazy (and naked) at pop concerts (the Fab Four Beatles became a global sensation). 

These might feel like cliches but the 50s and 60s were a Renaissance in modern times. I am a girl from the 70s and 80s and If I had a time machine, a nice De Loren supercar (like the one Michael J Fox used in Return to the Future) I would set the time to go back as a 20 year old woman in the early 60s.

One of my biggest passions is early 60s fashion. Over the years I have read a lot of books as well as watched films and TV series all involving one way or another 60s fashion. Here I am sharing all my sources of enjoyment with regards to vintage fashion.


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Why do we love all things vintage? Never before Mad Men-style floral frocks with belted waists from the late 1950s have been so popular. Mad Men is not just an amazingly looking catwalk in a TV series. It has made us realise that vintage fashion is classic and trendy at the same time.  More importantly, it is so fascinating for us now as used as we are to mass-produced high-street fashion or cheap ‘made in China’  reproductions. The uniqueness of custom-made clothing from the 50s and 60s has a huge nostalgic appeal these days. The quality of the 50s and 60s garments is much better than the clothes made today.  Fashion history repeats itself and it’s no surprise that current fashion is influenced by vintage fashion trends.  But I have the feeling that this is here to stay rather than being just a phase. Vintage fashion styles will probably be integrated into new trends all the times and will keep inspiring designers from all over the world.


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My Mad Men Reading List

Being such a Mad Men fan, I have read all sorts of books about the Sixties and Vintage Fashion and here are my favourite ones:

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My favourite of all these titles is THE FASHION FILE: Advice, Tips and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of ‘Mad Men’ as it is the ultimate insight into the fashion choices behind the show. Emmy-Award winning costume designer Janie Bryant offers readers a peek into the dressing room of Mad Men, revealing the design process behind the various characters’ looks and showing every woman how to find her own leading lady style – whether it’s vintage, modern or bohemian. Bryant offers advice to ensure that a woman’s clothes convey her personality. She covers everything from where to find incredible vintage clothing and accessories to how to pair those authentic pieces with modern shoes and jeans. And just so the ladies don’t leave their men behind there’s even a section on making them look a little more Don Draper-dashing.

Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond

Fans of the show Mad Men are dying to know how accurate it is. Was there really that much sex at the office? Were there really three-martini lunches? Were women really second-class citizens? Jane Mass says the answer to all three questions is unequivocally “yes.” Her book, based on her own experiences and countless interviews with her peers, is a fascinating tell-all account of life as an ad woman in the male jungle of Madison Avenue.

vintage fashion paper dolls

MAD MEN: THE ILLUSTRATED WORLD is an engaging celebration of the life and times of the ‘mad men’ of Madison Avenue in the early 1960s. This book is by turns funny, kitschy, sophisticated and wry, and this full colour miscelleny is both a memento and a stand-alone salute to the time of slim suits, prosperity, cocktails, and the golden age of advertising. With chapters on the office, the home, fashion and beauty, mainstream and counterculture, travel and rainy day activities, this all-encompassing anthology is the only companion a fan will ever need. The only official MAD MEN publication, this tie-in to the wildly popular and cult television series captures the spirit of the era as it might be imagined on one of Sal Ramano’s storyboards.

Mad Men and Philosophy: Nothing Is as It Seems

Mad Men and Philosophy Nothing Is as It Seems

Mad Men is unquestionably one of the most stylish, sexy, and irresistible shows on television. But the series becomes even more absorbing once you dig deeper into its portrayal of the changing social and political mores of 1960s America and explore the philosophical complexities of its key characters and themes. This book brings the thinking of some of history’s most powerful minds to bear on the world of Don Draper and the Sterling Cooper ad agency. You’ll gain insights into a host of compelling Mad Men questions and issues, including happiness, freedom, authenticity, feminism, Don Draper’s identity, and more. Mad Men and Philosophy will give Mad Men fans everywhere something new to talk about around the water cooler.



It’s a shame that TV series Pan Am was axed because I truly enjoyed watching people always over-dressed not just on planes but at any opportunity. Interesting enough, according to some reports and interviews, it was challenge to dress the entire cast as if they were in 1963 because our 2014 body shapes are different and at some point during the series the actors were asked to stop working out.


Pan Am series girls in uniform vintage fashion

Pan Am vintage fashion





Pan Am captured the era of ultimate femininity from the early ’60s with super-sexy A-line dresses and pencil skirts. A line dress has a hip-cinching shape which is extremely flattering to the figure, no matter what the occasion.

How to recognise the different styles of vintage fashion

How to draw Vintage_Fashion book

Even if you are not aiming to become a fashionista, the book How to Draw Vintage Fashion Celia Joicey (Head of the Fashion and Textile Museum in London) and Dennis Northdruft (published by www.thamesandhudson.com on 22 September 2014) provides useful tips from top fashion designers to identify styles based on all kinds of inspirations, including key decades, such as the 1960s and 1970s; musical trends, such as rock ’n’ roll and folk; and cinema. I love this manual as it is easy to read (even for people who have no clue about fashion, because in reality it is aimed at children aged 11+). Feature boxes look at the detail of accessories, including jewellery, bags, belts and shoes. Iconic fashion pieces are showcased throughout and the book closes with a useful section that looks at the design process, from creating a mood board and following a brief to developing a vintage collection.

Leading designers including Paul Smith and Anna Sui open the book by explaining how they go about finding vintage inspiration for the design process, giving examples from their sketchbooks, whilst models, stylists and fashion bloggers explain why vintage fashion is so on-trend right now. There are sections to show how to draw a fashion template (croquis), including guidance on body proportions and how to turn a stick figure into a full figure.

How to draw vintage fashion is a practical, hands-on, step-by-step drawing course aimed at children aged 11+ that will also appeal to young adults who are studying fashion, or who want to have a go at designing their own collection.



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