When I wrote the review for Vintage and Secondhand London I alluded to having been asked to review another book which, indeed, I had. I received my copy of Wearable VintageFashion by Jo Waterhouse and Claire Bridge from Vivays Publishing a few days ago and excitedly sat down and went through the entire book at once and was very pleased with what I saw. You won't find pieces by big name fashion houses that you may see in other books but you will find a whole heap of gorgeous pieces selected from the authors' own vintage shop and some borrowed from friends.
The intent of the book is to showcase vintage fashion from the 1920s through to the 1980s with a chapter dedicated to each decade as well as a 'vintage street fashion' section at the back. The emphasis, of course, being on vintage as wearable fashion.
As you can see from these photos there are coloured tabs for each chapter/decade so it's very easy to look up what you want without having to scour the book.
The layout design of the book is very pleasing to the eye and makes it easy to flick through at one's leisure as almost every page has photos of gorgeous pieces, mainly selected from the authors' vintage boutique Second Hand Rose, to look at. Each chapter follows a similar format with a written introduction of the typical fashion of the era followed by sections such as daywear, evening wear (with look-books for each toward the end), icons and get the look. I love the idea of 'get the look' as they have taken vintage snapshots of everyday people (family photos, etc.) and picked vintage items that match the essential features of the outfits. It's done very cleverly, as well.
In the introduction Jo and Claire state that their intention with the book was to fill the gap that they saw when trying to provide their customers with inspiration with other books: plenty of information but not enough photos to illustrate. And I think they've achieved exactly what they intended to. The information provided may seem sparse, then, in comparison to other texts but gives a great overview. Coupled with the well-picked photos, this book makes an excellent illustrative summary of the fashion of the twentieth century that would be very helpful for someone just starting out in the world of vintage and wanting to get to know their eras. And it was still a lot of fun to read through for me (I've still a lot to learn but my point is that I'm clearly not a newbie, as it were.) Oh, it is all womenswear, as well.
Jo and Claire have also done a great job of illustrating how styles are recycled throughout the eras covered within this book and how they are still being recycled now, which I think will help their readers cultivate their own eye for pieces that will suit a specific era whilst not necessarily having been made at that time.
I loved the addition of the street style section at the back as well (not pictured), which really brought home the idea implied by the title: that is, of vintage as wearable fashion (as I think other books often present the pieces like they would be in a museum setting). Also, you may just find a picture of yours truly wearing one of my favourite dresses in this section (I was asked to be in it long before I knew I'd be asked to review the book) so receiving the book was extra exciting for me.
The book is currently available on Amazon, for pre-order on Book Depository and possibly elsewhere.
TL;DR: a valuable, colourful and fun addition to a vintage lover's book collection, especially those just starting out.
Andi B. Goode