Last Updated on May 25, 2023 by Dominique de MerteuilHome » Vintage Outfits »
Spring has sprung, and all I can think of, aside from the release date of season two of ‘The Gilded Age’, is to get my vintage wardrobe properly ready for primavera.
And as I stroll along the streets of Warsaw in the new-to-me glorious 1953 Weathervane suit by Handmacher, in an elegant off-white colour with just a hint of delicate mauve, I can’t stop thinking about its original owner and where she might have worn it.
You see, this suit belonged to the seller’s glamorous mother. I’m fortunate that dear Melissa passed this treasure to me. And I would like to honour her by making the fabulous Handmacher suit the star of my article on springtime fashions.
After all, the famous Weathervane line of clothing was created with spring and summer in mind. The new addition to my growing collection of the 1940s and 1950s Handmacher suits came in a variety of colours and I’m checking the GEM app, my favourite vintage shopping platform, every day to find one in pink.
THE SPRING OUTFIT
In the picture, I’m wearing the Weathervane suit from the 1953 ad, a 1940s belt and my favourite 1950s hair snood.
The little 1950s/1960s wicker purse is by Koret.
Photography, by the one and only Gregory Michael King.
Spring Fashion Ideas 2023 Not Just for the Vintage Purist
For those of you who love the vintage aesthetic but prefer to buy from contemporary designers, don’t despair. Even though this website is dedicated to fashions from the bygone era, I will include spring outfit examples from current collections.
Remember though, every designer borrows from the past, and if you insist on buying a brand-new garment, quality is more important than being up-to-date so invest wisely.
LEARN THE HISTORY OF THE HANDMACHER BRAND.
‘I feel at my best in suits…wear them everywhere…I like the way I can change them…simply adore the little navy suits with a touch of white in the spring.’
These are the words of the suit-minded woman, and this is her fashion story. The “little navy” she loves has a pleated, buttoned-in pique frill this year. Also for the town, she may have Molyneux’s famous grey-green jersey with a jacket snug over the diaphragm -or a new officer’s blue covert cloth with a longer jacket. Her beloved plaid tweed will have a pleated skirt and pockets. Pin-dot faille makes a dressy dinner suit. Honourable mention to pique hats, bright bags, tailored pumps.Ladies Home Journal, 1940
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE SUNGLASSES!
The Vintage Ensemble Story for Spring
There is something so complete and so right about a well-turned-out ensemble, that it may be compared to a person with perfect poise. It is at home in every circumstance. And in addition to being so right as it stands, it has a charming, open-minded way of lending itself to change.Wilhela Cusham, Fashion Editor of the Journal, 1940
I’m mad for plaid in winter but prefer slightly more delicate gingham patterns in the spring, like the 1940s Handmacher suit you see me wearing in the picture below.
- The early 1940s Handmacher suit
- My favourite 1950s/1960s Koret wicker purse
- Contemporary shoes
How to Dress in Vintage this Spring
The vintage fashion mavens will surely agree that a vintage skirt suit is always the perfect choice for spring but it’s only one of many options available. Let’s not forget about the power of a simple shirtwaist dress, the comfort of capri pants and, of course, ballet flats which are an integral part of any spring outfit.
As you can see by the example of this simple yet very elegant 1950s suit, it can be dressed up or down with the help of accessories, thus changing its look completely and making it suitable for day and evening attire.
The belt is your best friend this and any other season as it can elevate the outfit and it helps to make the waist look smaller.
When choosing a belt, be it a skinny one or of the corset variety, always opt for the quiet luxury. The understated elegance without a visible brand logo.
The Shirtwaist Dress Never Goes Out of Style
Ease, comfort and informality are the key elements for daywear regardless of the season. Of course, vintage clothes, even the simplest ones are a perfectly adequate choice for the evening.
A low-maintenance vintage shirtwaist dress in your favourite colour will be ideal for warmer days. And a light retro cardigan in matching or contrasting shade, adorned with beauteous buttons, is a must this season.
‘One of the three fashions made with “Orlon” in Givenchy’s spring collection, this dress comes in wonderful Riviera pastels-Casino pink, Capri turquoise, San Remo lemon. In the U.S., by David Crystal. About $40. Sizes 8-18. In New York at B. Altman; Neiman Marcus; California, I.Magnin and other fine stores. “
Suzy Parker in the Casino pink Givenchy shirtwaist dress. DuPont Orlon ad from 1954.
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A shirtwaist dress is the quintessential investment piece that never goes out of style and it’s appropriate for any occasion. You can wear it with ballet flats to work or statement heels for a girls’ night out.
THE PERFECT RETRO SHIRTWAIST DRESS FOR SPRING
The Must-Have Footwear this Spring
French Sole ballet flats are the perfect footwear to compliment any vintage outfit this spring, and that’s why I have them in abundance. They come in every colour you can possibly imagine and are extremely comfortable which makes them the perfect travel companion.
Orange, coral, pink and green are my favourite colours for shoes in spring and summer as they look great when paired with a black dress or a 1950s pencil skirt.
THINK PINK THIS SPRING
Is there a more divine colour combination than pink with black? I don’t think so.
The Amelie pink quilted ballet flats with the black patent toe accent are currently on my wish list. They would be perfect for strolling around Paris this spring.
Photography by Gregory Michael King.
Get a pair of the perfect ballet flats!
I feel love, Paris Paris
Love to love, Paris Paris
I feel love, Paris Paris
Love to love, Paris Paris
Feelings so close to my heart.”
Colour Palette for Spring 2023
It’s interesting but not entirely surprising to see so much 1950s colour influence in this year’s fashion and beyond.
Best Colours for Vintage Clothes in the Spring
Popular colours for any vintage ensemble in spring and summer.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with pastels. They are not just for little girls and if an old-school goth like myself can pull it off, so can you.
I’m wearing a 1953 pastel suit paired with the 1940s belt and hair snood in the picture.
Coincidentally, the camera is from the exact same year as my outfit.
Pastels are Always the Right Choice for Spring
Delicate pink, pale blue, subtle yellow and delicious apricot are the perfect colours for spring and summer. After all, nothing screams more 1950s, than pastels.
SHOP VINTAGE DRESSES FOR SPRING
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Grey & Beige
Stand out or blend in this spring, dressed in vintage clothes in the most understated colours that make for the perfect canvas.
Show off your larger-than-life costume jewellery, colourful belt or brand-new pair of shoes against a cream, beige or grey dress.
My grey vintage fashion outfit for spring.
- Late 1940s skirt suit
- 1950s blue-grey gloves with stripes
- Antique cameo brooch
- FS purse in leopard print
“Janet Taylor designs a feminine mood for spring…uses a new fabric, with the soft airs of chiffon, the wrinkle-free talent of jersey. Celanese chiffon jersey of acetate rayon.”
Stand Out This Spring with Red Vintage Accents
I adore red but must admit that I incorporate the colour mainly into my winter wardrobe. I do, however, always wear bright red lipstick which always adds a touch of glamour.
The fire engine red lipstick, favoured by no other than Marilyn Monroe, is a must-have for every vintage fashion maven who wants to stand out this spring.
All my lovely readers get to enjoy 25% off their entire first order on all Bésame cosmetics!
Don’t be afraid of a bright red dress, particularly when it’s vintage.
I’ve been forever looking for a 1950s suit in a darker shade amongst the most powerful of colours.
For now, I shall enjoy my red vintage gloves and favourite red lipstick with just a hint of orange.
The Monochrome Vintage Styling for Spring
The Ever Fresh Navy & Black for Spring
Don’t be afraid of dark colours in spring. Vintage dresses and suits in navy blue and black are the perfect choices all year round.
My favourite 1940s shirtwaist dress in navy blue is the perfect spring attire for the casual-chic look.
I accessorised it with a 1940 purse, a 1940s patent belt and a canotier hat from Birds and Fresia.
Spring Forward with Vintage-Inspired Clothing
For the retro-loving ladies, where past meets present, I found some interesting contemporary pieces in pastel and my favourite gingham pattern.
I hope that my post inspires you to incorporate authentic vintage clothes into your spring wardrobe.
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ClaireApril 26, 2023
Wow! Wow! Wow! The pictures are beautiful, and the suit looks like it was made for you.
Dominique de MerteuilMay 14, 2023
AnneApril 26, 2023
I love your styling! Are all your clothes vintage, or do you also wear reproductions? The suit is so beautiful it could be worn to a wedding.
Dominique de MerteuilApril 26, 2023
Thank you! As of 2023, I have three cardigans and two blouses that are vintage reproductions. Also, I own several Pikeur riding breeches, ballet leotards and a few non-vintage designer pieces, mainly Vivienne Westwood. All my other clothes are true-vintage.