Renowned stylist, author, Queen of Thrift and 2021’s Revival Style Advisor Bay Garnett shares her top vintage sourcing tips and getting into the Revival spirit.
Getting into the theme is a huge part of the fun at the Revival: it’s the sustainable way to indulge your passion for fashion. You can go all out with your looks, unearthing a second-hand piece that belonged to a relative, ‘making do and mending’ a contemporary item so it feels and looks authentically vintage or purchasing something from your favourite charity shop or vintage emporium.
Here are nine of Bay’s style tips, from experimenting with a themed accessory or hairstyle to finding second-hand vintage looks for less.
1. The right accessory can make your outfit
“I love vintage belts. Throw one on with any outfit and it immediately adds style and sass. Belts are also brilliant at reflecting the mood you’re in; a chunky low-slung one for the bohemian mood, or a narrow, black patent one with a gold buckle for something more grown-up and Parisian. You can get so many great ones at charity shops and vintage stores. Just think about the outfits that you have already and what might look great with that added flair that a belt gives.”
2. Don’t be afraid to experiment to create a unique look
“Mix things up. Mix up a men’s tweed jacket with a great hat, a shirt and some high heels. Make it free and fun – and it will become a look that nobody else has in quite the same way.”
3. Spruce up your items ahead of the weekend
“Nobody needs to know that stylish dress you’re wearing has been buried at the back of your wardrobe for the past several years. Depending on the look you're going for, it’s always good for the clothes to look sharp. So get your trousers pressed, shirts wrinkle-free and change any shabby, sad, old buttons on garments.”
4. Charity shops are your friend – especially if you’re on a budget
“If you want low-budget, then head to a charity shop and not a vintage store. If someone else has done the editing and choosing for you like they do in vintage shops, it’s always going to be more expensive. Having said that, you do sometimes find brilliantly cheap vintage stores in small towns. Even in charity shops, I ask if there is a sale on or if they can bring down the price (if it seems overpriced). Oftentimes they do, so it’s worth asking, especially if you are buying a few things.”
5. You’ll find lots of treasures looking outside the designated “men’s” or “women’s” section
I get into the mood by heading to the men’s section. It’s amazing what you will find here – anything from a great trilby hat to the perfect oversized white shirt. It makes me stretch my imagination, which then makes it more fun. I always look around twice; firstly because I enjoy taking my time, but also because it’s so easy to miss a goodie on the first round of looking.”
6. Don’t forget about small details, like hair
I think there is so much room to play with hair around the era you are channelling, for men and women. I always love a hair flick with a pussy-bow shirt. I also think it's fun to mix the eras. A great 1940s waisted jacket with a men’s trilby hat and a hair flick would look super cool. I love the mix… and it makes the look original and just yours!
7. Look online for bits and bobs, too (especially if you're after more inclusive sizing and cheaper items)
“I go to eBay to search for something specific that I have in my mind. And hit the charity shops: Oxfam online is a brilliantly kept secret. They have an amazing vintage section.”
8. Scour every wardrobe you have access to – you might not need to buy anything new
“Raid your partner’s wardrobe to mix and match. Or your mother’s, or anyone else who has an interesting wardrobe. The most important thing is to have fun putting it together.”
9. Don’t overthink it
“My advice would be to make it fun. Clothes don’t have to be literal if you are channelling a decade. The most important bit is that you have fun and freedom putting it together. And that you feel great and confident in it.