Vintage Girl Gang
Fighting guys on motorbikes is pretty hard, so you need to look your best while doing it. Because clearly that’s something that I do on a regular basis, or at least in my mind I do. Imagination leads me to some ridiculous outfit ideas, mostly inspired by stories I want to write or characters I’m working out the kinks in for projects. It’s strange, but inhabiting a person’s clothes can really help you lock down who their are as a person and, as a writer, that’s incredibly helpful, as well as being good fun.
I think there is a strength in make believe that is overlooked or seen as childish, but why should it be? Why should we stop telling ourselves stories or dressing up just because we’ve passed an arbitrary age marker in our lives? There is so much in the world that is utter rubbish, that to deny ourselves fun because “you’re an adult now” is pointless, and, in my very humble opinion, unnecessary.
Using stories as a place of inspiration in all aspects of my life has helped me the understand motivations and ideas in them a lot more, and that has informed my own writing. I don’t just use my clothes, I also use music, basing playlists round characters (my own and those that I love by other people) to compliment my life, as well as to make me think deeper about either what I’m reading or writing.
Sorry this has been a bit of a ramble. Shall we move back onto the clothes? Yes? OK.
This outfit is inspired by the Japanese girl gangs, with a touch of 1950s vintage thrown in for good measure. I love mashing up old and new, pulling ideas from different places to see what comes out. With this, it stemmed from a conversation with a friend about a dystopian comic idea I was having and how cool it would be to see these looks put together, how that would create an interesting aesthetic for the characters and the world they were part of. I love the Japanese girl gang style and how it’s feminine yet strong and hard, it’s a look all of it’s own and I felt it would be great for the aesthetic I was going for. So I had to try it out.
I put this look together for a night out, figuring I could probably get away with it in the low light of a bar, even if I decided it didn’t work for me. That being said, it worked great and I really loved this look. Sounds so ridiculous, but it was genuinely wonderful moment of “wow this really works!” which is rare for me. Normally I know when I get dressed how an outfit is going to make me feel, but this was so on the fence that it was a revelation that I actually liked it. Aren’t I a ridiculous human? I know you think so. But what can I say? It was a success and that makes me a happy ‘Olly.
I’m going to start with the colour palette of this look, which I feel like with this outfit it was the most important element. I knew what styles of clothing I wanted to use, but the black and white (and silver) is the most striking part of the look. I felt, since I wanted to go for a quite unusual style, that keeping the colours simple would be better. Plus the look I was basing this off, is very mono-coloured.
With that in mind, the sailor top is the next obvious step. It’s a cute shirt and the style reflects the Japanese school uniforms which I love. Again, that’s very classic with this look. It’s a vintage Laura Ashley top, that I wear a lot (I really love it) because it’s super versatile but also quirky. Unfortunately, sailor blouses aren’t the easiest things to get hold of, but you can find some very good and simply tutorials on how to make either the whole blouse or just the collar. You can start with this one or this one.
The jacket is actually one of my favourite items that I own. I got it in a sale for £2 (yup, two whole pounds) and it’s so comfy and easy to wear, it goes with pretty much everything (though definitely not plus fours, even though I’ve tried). I also love the patch “Viva La Femme” which is not only awesome but great for the aesthetic of this look, don’t ya think?
This style of jacket adds a really cool punk/retro vibe to the look, makes it look like you don’t care and you’re a rebel, without going full leather jacket, which can sometimes be overwhelming. Again this jacket is invoking the idea of the school uniform, the varsity jacket of American high schools, contradicting the more traditional and classic sailor blouse but in the most complimentary way. Jackets like this are super easy to get hold of at the moment. Most high street shops have them, or ebay is full of this style. As for the patch? This jacket came with it, but you can find great ones on halfstitch embroidery.
I love how the skirt is both vintage and futuristic at the same time. The silver, almost holographic fabric (doesn’t quite show in the pictures but trust me, it’s great) cut in this quite old fashioned style, the long pleats and high waist, is everything. I love how it compliments the vintage style of the blouse while rocketing the look forward into the 21st century. It has it’s own vibe, and isn’t apologetic for that. I love that these skirts are in fashion at the moment and you can get them in all sorts of fabrics and colours. It’s worth look around until you find the perfect one for you, as there are as many variations as there are looks and you will be able to find the best one for your personal style. On top of that, these skirts are super flattering on everyone. Yes, everyone.
With the accessories I went pretty simple. Belt, bracelet, ring, necklace, the trademark pieces. Whoever, each one is a little statement in itself. The choker necklace is an obvious one. It’s leather, with that great pointed V shape creating the double layered look, while also mirroring the V of the blouse. It’s punk, it’s dystopian, it’s a bit risque, but most of all it’s cool. It’s also a little uncomfortable which is a shame. Again, chokers are really in and you can get your hands on them in most accessories shops or in the jewellery section of pretty much all high street shop. If you want something a little more unusual, like this piece, it’s off to etsy you must go, but there’s no harm in a little bit of a browse through the wonders of etsy now is there?
The cuff bracelet is silver and mimics a cage in appearance, with bars and studs in it. It feels a little “dangerous” as does the large ring on the other hand. These are ornate pieces for appearance alone, they are saying something a bit more – and though I hate the word – “edgy”. This look is all about combining things that shouldn’t quite fit together, and creating something that makes people look.
Lastly the belt. That big, chunky, black belt. It perfectly breaks up and balances the outfit. Without it, this could be shapeless and white, but with it, it sections the white and silver out, and defines the waist, not too much, but just enough. It balances, something that is often needed in a look that gets overlooked. If you’re wearing less colours, you need to make sure they are balanced or it will become shapeless and just a bit blob of that colour, but define the areas with a belt or something similar and you stop that happening.
I hope you’ve liked this week’s piece, I’ll be back next week, hopefully with a Back to Basics article.
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Written by Holly Rose Swinyard