Outfit: my first ever ‘vintage’ piece

I realised the outfit posts on this blog are becoming as much about the ridiculous UK weather as vintage style recently, so today I’m going back to what we’re all here for (unless you really do enjoy me complaining about the wind) – the fashion.
And what better way to do that than to share the piece that kicked off my vintage-inspired wardrobe? This Tara Starlet top, while not true vintage of course, was the first item I remember buying that was distinctly vintage style. It was part of my determination to create a more grown-up work wardrobe for myself back in my early 20s and, as you can see, it fits like a glove. I don’t really know why I was drawn to it particularly, other than the photo of the model really sold it to me (quite likely it actually was Tara back then as she used to model a lot of the styles herself in the early days of the brand). I also knew it would be versatile and that I’d never find anything like it in modern shops.
I still think it’s one of the most special separates I have and I love it all the more because it has such nostalgia attached to it. Where would I be without how great it made me feel? I could be sitting here wearing those chunky heeled sandals you see every girl wearing and… the 90s. Neither of which would look remotely good on me (the latter I know from copious photographic evidence). So there you have it, the piece of clothing that started it all.
There’s actually another first in this post – it was the first time I’d ever worn flats with a full skirt. I know, it’s all groundbreaking fashion all the time on this blog… but you have to understand, I’ve been convinced this was a no-no for my height for so long it was a shock to find it didn’t look all that bad after all. And it was all the better for walking around the Norfolk coastline on a very brief trip this year.
So… this isn’t my best set of photos of all time (note to self, on a sunny day wear sunglasses to avoid squinting in 98% of photos and just give up in 40mph wind already). I couldn’t quite bring myself to delete them though – the seaside location and stormy clouds (surprise surprise, it rained relentlessly a couple of hours later) were too lovely.
Tara Starlet gingham blouse, 50s black swing skirt, red peep toes and a frame bag


Vintage style gingham blouse, 50s black swing skirt, red peep toes and vintage frame bag


Vintage style gingham blouse, 50s black swing skirt, red peep toes and vintage frame bag


Eternal Collection poodle brooch on gingham blouse
Tara Starlet gingham blouse, 50s black swing skirt
Tara Starlet gingham blouse, 50s black swing skirt, red peep toes, vintage frame bag


H&M red knot peep toe pumps


Vintage style gingham blouse, 50s black swing skirt, red peep toes and vintage frame bag
Top: Tara Starlet (veeery old)
Brooch: c/o Eternal Collection
Belt: Marks & Spencer (similar)
Skirt: Peacocks (similar)
Shoes: H&M (last year’s)
Bag: vintage
I would love to hear what kicked off any of your vintage style collections too?


  1. September 10, 2015 / 12:47 pm

    I love that top! You always look so good with the pops of red.

    I'm trying to think back now on my first ever vintage purchase…I'm not 100% sure I remember it correctly. It could have been a pink and red floral cotton day dress. I have a large collection now. That first purchase started a tsunami of vintage purchases. I love the idea of wearing something no one else will have.


    • September 12, 2015 / 8:26 am

      That's good, as I seem to still be putting pops of red with everything 😉

      Weirdly I don't own a single actual vintage dress! I love the idea of vintage but I just prefer the ease of repro…

  2. September 10, 2015 / 4:37 pm

    Cute top! It's funny how the little things can spark a fashion journey.

    I'm a lapsed goth, but I'd bought odds and ends of vintage for years and used to swap 20s mixtapes with a friend I'd meet at goth clubs. What really got me to plunge headlong into vintage was going to the launch of Susan Crawford's pattern book 'Vintage Gifts to Knit' and meeting someone who dressed vintage all the time. It was a light went off in my head – she did it, and I could do it too!

    • September 12, 2015 / 8:28 am

      Ha, I guess you'd probably call me a lapsed goth too if you look at what I was wearing in my mid-late teens… I love that your journey was inspired by someone who dressed vintage! There is an influential woman in my story too – she didn't dress vintage all the time but just touches here or there and I thought that was just fabulous…

  3. September 10, 2015 / 7:27 pm

    Such a cute top! I love the combination of b&w gingham and red ric rack edging. Too cute! Love this cut too! And yay that you've ventured into the dark side with your flats and full skirt. It looks good on you!

    • September 12, 2015 / 8:29 am

      It looks much better on me than I thought it would in a million years! I still prefer heels though 😉

  4. September 10, 2015 / 10:27 pm

    That top is so lovely, I had no idea it was Tara Starlet! Their clothes are amazing, I always get excited when their new collection comes out 😀
    I think my first "vintage" (not true vintage mind you, reproduction) piece was a black and white gingham PUG dress. It's funny to look back actually and think of the piece that began this passion for vintage inspired looks 😀

    • September 12, 2015 / 8:30 am

      I think I could legitimately call myself one of Tara Starlet's oldest fans – I've been following them for ages. Actually I have a few Tara Starlet pieces I've never worn on this blog, and as two of them are wool-type dresses I think it's time they made their way on here for winter 🙂 I love that both of our first 'vintage' pieces featured black and white gingham – twinsies!

  5. September 11, 2015 / 1:09 am

    So gorgeous and I absolutely adore these photos! My first vintage piece was a 1950s dress and then my first reproduction piece was a Hell Bunny dress! x

    • September 12, 2015 / 8:31 am

      Glad you like the photos as I can't say they're my favourites! Good ol' Hell Bunny – one of my favourites at the moment 🙂 so excited for their AW stuff! x

  6. September 11, 2015 / 10:05 am

    I swear, I just about teared up reading about your first vintage style piece. What a touching, truly lovely post (and outfit), dear CiCi. Thank you for this awesome reminder that we should all give props to the piece(s) that set our vintage wardrobes into motion.

    ♥ Jessica

    • September 12, 2015 / 8:31 am

      Aw, Jessica, that's so nice! I'd love to see a post on your early pieces 🙂 x

  7. September 11, 2015 / 2:37 pm

    There are clothes and accessories that tell a piece of our history, they are a small but important part of us or our aspirations! You're really lovely with these clothes, I love the top and the bag is fantastic! I love stormy clouds, but I hope it does not rain in these days … I have to take a ferry!

    • September 12, 2015 / 8:33 am

      Thanks for spotting the bag – it was a gift from my parents and I love it 🙂 so classic, but also it has an extendable strap fixed with snaps which is just my favourite thing ever. I always like the look of storm clouds much more than I like the reality of them 😉

  8. September 12, 2015 / 11:08 am

    I don't know what kicked mine off…I know I had some retro/ gothy Hell Bunny dresses that bridged the gap and teased me over. I still have them but they don't fit my at the moment, I still love them!

    • September 14, 2015 / 8:23 pm

      Good ol' Hell Bunny 🙂

  9. September 13, 2015 / 3:51 pm

    I tend to shy away from wearing flats with longer skirts too, but sometimes it's the only practical option and I actually think your red flats look awesome with this full black skirt. The top is wonderful too! I can't remember what got me into retro looks, honestly. I tend to experiment with styled borrowed from most decades instead of sticking to just one, but I just love the 50s/60s silhouettes, always. So flattering!

    Jamie | PetitePanoply.com

    • September 14, 2015 / 8:26 pm

      I think the trick was wearing the right kind of dainty flats with this! I dont think I ever stick solely with one decade – that's the fun of having all of retro fashion to play with 🙂

  10. September 14, 2015 / 9:15 pm

    I love this skirt. It's so great and I always feel self-conscience when wearing flats with long hems, but sometimes it works. You basically killed it!

    • September 15, 2015 / 6:11 am

      I do usually too – but this was one of those occasions it actually felt ok. Thank you 🙂

  11. September 15, 2015 / 2:09 am

    Super cute! I just bought myself a pair of Swedish hasbeens and found your blog when I googled reviews:) Glad I did!

    • September 15, 2015 / 6:12 am

      Ah, thank you! Hearing from new readers, particularly those that stumble across it and then keep reading, basically makes my day!

  12. September 15, 2015 / 11:33 am

    You are gorgeous! I love your outfit so much, that Tara Starlet top is to die for, I have always wanted to try one of their items and every time I see one on someone I get know I have to!


    • September 15, 2015 / 7:45 pm

      Even with the squinting…? 😉 They have really unique pieces, but I don't get on with the fit being short, very often. I also find I'm right in-between their sizes, which makes getting fitted things a nightmare! The weird thing is that the pieces I have from their early days all fit beautifully…

  13. September 16, 2015 / 7:55 am

    As always, you look like a doll. Such a great post!

  14. September 16, 2015 / 5:54 pm

    Lovely top and nice to hear it's story. I like it paired with the plain skirt and the pop of red, great outfit!

  15. September 17, 2015 / 11:31 pm

    This is such a lovely and feminine look and suits you beautifully. I especially love the red detailing on the blouse. You have a real flair for putting an outfit together. I agree, the clothes we wear can have strong emotional associations, so there are certain pieces I'll never part with.

    Saba x


  16. January 31, 2016 / 6:05 pm

    I love that shirt. I rarely find a use for one no matter how much I like them on other people. My first piece of vintage is dressing up in my grandmother's mint green 'sexy' nightie thing at home. Still got it. My first repro vintage dress was from Hell Bunny via Topvintage.nl. I featured it here on my blog.


    I built up a small collection of repro vintage and got some 80s vintage things but I had to sell almost all of my collection for financial reasons but the one thing I have left that I will never sell is my Hell Bunny dress. That one was my first and always and will be forever kept.

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