Vintage Style and Glamour Q&A with Rachel Jensen
The meaning of vintage fashion has been evolving for the last 50 years ever since “dressing vintage” became something different than wearing someone else’s old clothes. Who better to talk to about all things vintage than our stunning brand ambassador, Rachel Jensen? We asked her a few questions about her 50’s glamour style, pinup trends, and her style inspirations.
What inspires your classic vintage style? And what drew you to it?
My passion for vintage style begins all the way back to childhood, when my dad first showed me two movies: My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn and Rear Window with Grace Kelly. I remember being absolutely mesmerized with the beauty in these films, especially the feminine style combined with the elegance of both Grace and Audrey. Later of course I discovered their brilliant costume designers being iconic Edith Head and Cecil Beaton, and so naturally I attribute their vision to the beginnings of my lifetime obsession.
While this love began as a young girl, it wasn't until adulthood that I actually gained enough confidence to fully embrace and own it. In meeting my husband, we actually developed and evolved in our sartorial passion together. Our wedding was vintage-inspired, but it wasn't until our time abroad that the passion was fully sparked. In 2009 we sold all of our belongings and embarked on a challenging move to Rome, Italy, where Eric attended an old-world tailoring school. This was the 2nd defining moment in my life, which shaped me into who I am today. I was immersed in the arts of old, and witnessed first hand what clothing used to be, and the hours of love and skill that went into the making of garments of bygone eras. Not only through the tailoring school, but living in a city practically as old as time, with remnants of this fact on every corner, only intensified my realization of where my passion lies.
Today, I return to the passion my dad instilled in me and immerse myself daily in old films, magazines, music, and architecture. My dad also grew up in the old country music scene in Tennessee, and passed down a 2nd passion of mine, music. All of these things contribute to my inspiration in vintage style, and who I am.
What makes an item vintage?
I have friends into modern fashion who often refer to their 90's pieces as vintage, (this is a little difficult for me to understand haha.) In my mind, vintage is 1970's and before. Often times, the quality of an item is very apparent when it is made (especially from the 60's and earlier). Today, there are many vintage-inspired brands that do a wonderful job at allowing us to re-live those days through their reproductions! I am ever so grateful to them.
Do you mix modern pieces in your vintage wardrobe?
In refining my style over the past few years, I feel that I've come to the place where I am rarely unsure about what I like. So, in modern fashion for example, I absolutely am open to mixing in pieces from modern designers, but they are very select key pieces that I know would complement my look. Although I won't pretend that they don't have elements reminiscent of the past, because the glamour of the golden age is just unbeatable in my eyes. What I think people often don't realize, is this doesn't mean an outfit won't be daring. Take a look at some of the gowns in the 30's, like Ginger Roger's famous ostrich gown in Top Hat.... a statement? I should say so! One thing I love about fashion from the 30's - 50's is actually the originality from one piece to the next, yet with glamour, elegance, and quality combined.
Have you noticed the rise in vintage fashion? Why do you think that is?
What I tend to notice, is that modern fashion always likes to have "takes" on vintage fashion. I remember a few years ago when a 30's-inspired hairstyle was a trend. I tend to not feel fond of these trends, in the fact that they are trends. My style isn't based on trends that come and go, it won't change based on what is "in" right now. I actually have a hard time understanding why fashion lovers want to follow along with what everyone else is doing. I do however love when a modern designer can successfully combine his or her innovation with a strong vintage-inspired aesthetic, to create a masterpiece. John Galliano's Dior was a rare time in which I believe this was achieved, and done well. Some current designs of Dolce and Gabbana have also impressed me in this way.
Is vintage clothing easy to find?
I would say yes actually, it is fairly easy to find thanks to our modern accessibility to the internet. There are countless shops on Etsy and Ebay with great vintage finds to discover.
Who are your style icons?
My favorite decades for style are the 30's- 50's, while 40's might be my favorite. Some specific style icons are Marlene Dietrich, Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Ginger Rogers, Myrna Loy, Betty Grable, Claudette Colbert, Grace Kelly, Carole Lombard, Joan Blondelle, Betty Brosmer, Joi Lansing, Diana Dors, Jean Patchett... just to name a few! ;)