Saturday, 10 July 2010

Old Photos, New Inspiration

Discussing the importance of old photographs in a recent post made me realise that I had a wealth of inspiration sitting under my nose (not literally), in the form of old family photos. The past can inform us about the styles that used to be worn, and which basics have survived the test of time after fifty years. So, to start with, I discovered this photo, from 1960, featuring what most girls would give their right arm for this season - rolled up shorts. It's just a shame he was a little early with the trendsetting. Personally I'm living in my shorts at the moment, because they're just about the only comfortable things that you can wear without feeling too girly all the time. Don't get me wrong, I have more than enough skirts and dresses, but they just don't have enough pockets for all the rubbish I carry around with me (phone, keys, etc). And no, I don't care how fashionable they're meant to be, I'd rather die than wear a bumbag.

Another family photo, this time taken in Paris in 1966. I'm not sure this look would be street style blogger material, but you can't fault the sense of this photo being natural. Also, if you're going to be a tourist, at least be an inconspicuous one, as seen here. There is no sign of the obligatory souvenir hoodie (or, indeed, one of the aforementioned bumbags) which make today's tourists seem like clones. Handbag, pencil skirt (featuring the kind of chequered pattern seen frequently in Christopher Kane's clothing for this summer), cardigan, sunnies - simple but effective and giving a nod to the always co-ordinated chic of French ladies.

This is another 1960s photo, or possibly late 50s. The headscarf is something that I would love to emulate, but I have a feeling that my interpretation would be as successful as Bridget Jones'; in the first of her films, she wears a headscarf for a dirty weekend and it flies off within minutes, leaving her hair resembling a bird's nest. Anyway, back to this outfit - with bows on her shoes and a simple chequered shirt dress, everything ties in nicely together, but you can tell that she has made an effort to look this good. I swear if I ever went caravanning then I would not be able to pull this one off, but somehow it works.


  1. I never thought to look at family photos in this light. We've got lots but stupidly I pass over them without a second thought. Inspiration, no; evidence of the cycle of fashion, no. And identities disappear. Dad's alright on his siblings and his aunts, uncles, and cousins but before that the history's gone, as completely as the bodies have decayed. All photos should have information on the back of them. I enjoyed the post. Love, Alec

  2. Well I did reply to this comment but then my computer helpfully crashed... sorry! Yes, I completely agree about photos needing information on the back - my relatives seem to be very good at doing this, but nobody these days really prints out their photos, let alone writing about them on the back. It's a shame because so much is lost over the years. I really enjoy looking through old photos; even though I didn't know the people in them personally, I feel like I can get to know them through these images. Clothes tell me a lot about their personalities.
    Thanks for your comment, by the way - it's always nice to get feedback! :)


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