Monday 2 April 2012

Granny's Day Out: Singapore's hidden vintage gem

Despite its recent popularity and return in Vogue (thank you Kate Moss!), vintage is still an enigma for a lot of people who until today are hesitant to try it.

Some flatly refuse the concept and consider vintage no different than any second hand rags (yup back home they do!). 

And despite liking the idea of it, others just simply don’t know how to wear vintage and get confused with all the colours, styles and patterns and shy away to avoid looking like a costume character from an era long gone!

An eternal lover of everything vintage (from my wedding dress to my mom’s frocks, bags and shoes…) I am here to help! And I found just the right place to show you some tips and tricks in rocking vintage. 

The awesome Granny’s Day Out boutique in the historic and stylishly run down Penninsula Shopping Centre.

Granted this immense store already has something of a cult following and vintage loving tourists find their way there after its inclusion in the Lonely Planet guide to Singapore, but the store is still criminally short of getting regular mainstream attention.

Loh Hsiao Ying, the owner of this cool boutique has hand-picked every item and curated the shop in a way to make it easier for customers to find something ‘wearable’. However, if you dig deeper you’ll also find some unexpected blasts from the past which only contributed to my admiration to this vintage heaven!

One rule (made by me) before we start, when going for vintage, just have fun! You really don’t need to extensively know before-hand about trends throughout the eras. You’ll learn in the process so just enjoy!!

Tip 1: Mix modern with vintage
No one looks like they’ve just stepped out of a retro drama (unless it is Mad Men!), so make sure to wear the vintage pieces in a modern way. For this look, I’ve matched this 80s-90s denim corset with my figure hugging midi skirt and some colourful vintage accessories to give it a fun twist. Although every item here comes from a different era, the whole look works together and is most importantly, wearable but still retains a vintage vibe to it.

Looking like you just stepped out of the 70s isn't a great look, which is why mixing it up is a good idea.

Tip 2: Make it modern and trendy
While retaining that retro vibe is what some want to achieve, others might want to look trendy while wearing vintage. For this, pick a more understated piece like this black and silver dress which could pass as a modern party frock, accessorize it with more edgy pieces like the faded denim jacket and fierce heels. And Voila! You’re ready to party in style! The clutch adds that soft touch with the floral motif to complete an on-trend, discreetly vintage look!

Vintage also doesn't have to look old. Fluctuating fashions and timeless pieces mean you can rock vintage that also looks bang up to date

Tip 3: Balance the elements
Most pieces from the 70s and before tend to look ‘too girly’ with explosion of floral motifs and colours and very feminine cuts. The trick to wearing one of these frocks is to balance the look with a more modern key piece like shoes which can take the look from girly to playful yet stylish. Case in point is this too-cute orange dress. Once teamed with a pair of contrasting black oxfords, a black handbag and a scarf to add some seriousness, it looks much more stylish than just wearing a pretty vintage dress with girly pumps.

Tasteful Oxford shoes and an awesome silk scarf really make this look.

Tip 4: Add an unexpected element to create your personal style
While this exquisite black gown would look just perfect with a pearl or diamante necklace and equally elegant clutch in hand to rock any black tie party, it is more fun and personal to try and team it with unexpected accessories. A bold necklace and needlework purse add some contrasting textures  and colours to the silky and velvet dress and  make it your own instead of just a copy of a style gone by.

Who wouldn't look good with that necklace and clutch combo?

Tip 5: Go crazy with mixing prints
Believe it or not, vintage prints don’t work as well alone! If you team a statement printed Bermuda midi shorts like these with a plain top, it’ll look out of place. I mean come on, if you are fierce enough to wear these then why not play them up even more? As long as the cuts work, any print can work!
I’ve teamed these gorgeous flared shorts with a printed halter crop top, a retro weekend bag and kept accessories white but interesting to create my favourite look of the day! I admit it does take some confidence to pull it off but practice makes perfect so just go for it J!

Anyone want to buy me this retro bag?

Super hot shades and necklace cement the look

Straight out of Roman Holiday? Cheeky at the least! How to get noticed and look great!

 Tip 6: Make it work… and use a good tailor
Shoulder pads? OK know they’re a bit out there but how can you say no to a perfectly tailored vintage Thierry Mugler suit like this??? Well if you can’t here’s a way to make it work:  use a tailor and take those things out! I imagine the result to be just as fierce but nonetheless wearable.
Sadly there was no tailor on hand when I tried this suit on, so I decided to work it with a 90s supermodel pose… and a chunky pair of earrings for a full on OTT retro look!

Hello Dynasty...shoulder pads and 80s

Tip 7: Just be yourself
Whether it is a custume-y frock from the 70s or a rare Alaia velvet dress, go for what you love at first sight! The great thing about wearing vintage is creating a unique style using some one-off pieces which speak to you. Tips are there to help you but at the end of the day it’s you who knows best what works for you so  just have fun!

The best tip I can ever give - wear what you love and trust your gut instinct

Granny’s Day Out is located on the third floor of the Peninsula Shopping Centre on Coleman Street. Their website has just been relaunched on - including a brand new e-commerce store selling their jewelery. 

Which look did you like best? Tell me what you think in the comments section.