Auntie Maureen and I were introduced last year on Facebook through a mutual friend (thanks, Kimberly). While visiting London in the fall, I took the Tube to Walthamstow and met the charming Auntie M in person at her shop (Brown Paper Bag) within a shop (Penny Fielding Gallery & Interiors).
Auntie M hails from all over having been born in The Netherlands, lived in the UK and also in Austin, Texas as a teenager. She studied art history at University of Utrecht in The Netherlands and Communications and Audio-Visual Production Studies. At the Royal College of Music in London her studies included Music and Musicianship and Creative Leadership.
Currently Auntie M splits her time as DJ and running her own business selling vintage men’s clothing. Sporting vintage full-time, she always looks splendid.
Auntie M and Over Dressed for Life recently had an e-mail chat about vintage clothing.
How long have you been wearing vintage?
I have been wearing vintage since my sisters and I discovered a trunk full of 30s, 40s and 50s clothes plus uniforms our mum had saved up as a dressing-up box.
Why do you choose to dress vintage full-time?
There is something magical about having the power to transform your daily experience of life, of people, of events. By shifting perspective to times gone by, an otherwise humdrum day-to-day can be transformed into something not quite here, not quite of this world, of this time. By believing in the clothing and the style of, say, 1937, the character that emerges from this vintage transformation is no less who I am, I have merely chosen to piece my identity together from memories and sentiments from the past. In the Western world we all have the privilege of designing our person as life does not merely happen to us, we can stage it as befits. And that is why I opt out of what is fashionable or on trend now and instead create my own historical bubble and experience.
Do you stick with one era or switch around? Do you mix eras?
My style sits around the start of the 1930’s to early 1940’s. While that is to me the most exciting decade for women’s fashion design both in make-up, hair as well as clothing, other decades and styles are equally impressive. Just not for me.
What inspires you about vintage style?
Wearing a genuine vintage piece of clothing is as if I put on a cloak of memories and emotions. The charge of the garment’s history excites me. No one else owns this garment anymore, it is unique and highly personal. And that in addition to the craftsmanship, the tailoring, the quality use of materials, the drape of cloth, the architecture of wearable designs topped with stoles, bags, hats, gloves, heeled shoes is all about the feminine form. It inspires me every day.
Mixing modern with vintage – yes or no and why?
If you mean modern reproduction vintage clothing I would personally recommend as vintage pieces do disintegrate, rip, fade over time and become unwearable. If dancing is your cup of tea, a nice repro dress will save a genuine collectible frock from suffering the sweat and strain. I am also in favour of mixing and matching vintage with new fashion. It is all about finding a style you can afford, suits your body shape, your colouring as well as your lifestyle and makes you feel like a million dollars!
What are you favorite spots for vintage shopping?
What do you enjoy about selling men’s clothing?
Who is you customer?
My customers are young on-trend hipsters who enjoy mixing up styles. But also chaps who take their vintage styles very serious, and musicians, actors, even a magician. Plus classic gents who favour the heritage of garments over cheaply made fashion rags. And often enough women who want to make a statement with a men’s suit, a boyfriend blazer or big belted shirt.
Any vintage style tips you’d like to share?
Wear a hat!
Agree on that, Auntie M. Hats are really a must for any and all outfits. Thanks for chatting with Over Dressed for Life.
Readers, contact Auntie Maureen at firstname.lastname@example.org