Style Evolution: The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I sense a split over Christmas Day outfits.

It’s unlikely to cause wars, or serious family rifts, but it seems some people see Christmas Day as an opportunity to spend all day in pyjamas, while others spend quite some time picking out festive finery.

Personally I fall firmly into the latter camp. I like to dress up and will take any excuse to do it. Generally my Christmas Day goes as follows:

9am Eat Breakfast in festive pyjamas.
10am Spend significant amounts of time changing into carefully planned Christmas outfit.
11am Go to the pub
2pm Eat large Christmas Dinner
3pm Decide carefully planned Christmas outfit is now mysteriously too tight and change back into festive pyjamas

I might only wear it for 4 hours, but the Christmas Day outfit ranks alongside the Birthday Outfit as one of the most important decisions of the year. Thanks to Christmas Day camera proliferation, it’s also one of the outfits I can document going back many years.

At the moment I am pondering what I’m going to wear for Christmas this year. For the first time in over 10 years I will be spending Christmas with my family, so this years outfit is obviously of vital importance.  I also have no money to spend on anything new, so I’m going to need to get imaginative with the contents of my existing wardrobe, though lets face it, I probably have enough to be getting on with.

Yesterday I was scrolling through this post of vintage photos of women with Christmas trees. I got a funny feeling from scrolling through all those photos of people smiling in their best frocks next to Christmas trees. It’s like a snapshot in time, and all the trimmings of Christmas are so recognisable. I couldn’t help but wonder whether they had a nice Christmas, how their year had been, and what happened to them in future. It made me feel a little melancholy, but that’s probably just because I’m in a funny mood all round right now.

Hopefully todays little stroll back through the ghosts of 8 years of Christmas past won’t have the same effect. I always like a scroll back down memory lane (in case you hadn’t guessed I’m a big Time Hop fan!) and it’s interesting to look back at my changing style and realise how what was going on in my life affected what I chose to wear on Christmas Day.

2008

This photo comes from my first year of blogging, though I hadn’t quite cottoned on to the outfit post thing properly and this one never made it onto the blog.

I remember being short of cash, so I dressed up a jersey M&S dress that I bought in a charity shop, and basically lived in, with a length of ribbon, some red shoes and red earrings. The shoes were New Look red satin ones that I’d had a few years. They died shortly after, but they were never particularly easy to walk in!

I think I thought of my style back then as classic with a touch of vintage inspiration.

2009

I do not like this years outfit, and I’m not sure I liked it at the time either. Still very short on money for new clothes I had again gone for the “add red to stuff you already have” option, but I don’t really like the red tights. I think I was going for cute and quirky, but to be honest that’s never really suited me. I like the quirky side, but cute doesn’t really work for me. I’d also attempted 40s style hair, but all the curls fell out the minute I stepped outside. Underneath that coat (which is from Next and at least 12 years old now and still going strong!) I was wearing a red jumper I bought off eBay.

After 2 years of blogging I was just starting to find lots of vintage bloggers, I think I still wasn’t sure if I was a fashion blog, or a vintage blog, or what any of that even meant.

2010

Moving into the peak of the vintage boom, I was full on 30s style for Christmas 2010. I had my short midi cut and fetching new blouse from Heyday. I loved that blouse, but unfortunately I had to let it go because my massive upper arms just didn’t fit through the sleeves and it was incredibly uncomfortable to wear. The beret and the red fakelite jewellery were Christmas presents that year and although you can’t quite see them I was wearing Christmas tights too.

I was in full on “never go out without red lippie” mode this year. I’d discovered lots of vintage bloggers and was really experimenting and learning. I always set my hair and put it back in pin curls every night. I also had a little more money, the blog had started to grow and I had received freebies from a few brands, so I felt like I had a lot more choice in my wardrobe.

2011

I think this was one of the best Christmases I remember having in recent years. We’d been in our house for 5 years and I think it’s the only house I remember living in where I felt like I’d properly settled in and had things how I wanted. We used the nice vintage china to eat dinner off and it was the year that the big 70s tree arrived in our lives.

I felt like Mrs Christmas in this outfit, with the fur-trimmed boots and I loved my slightly longer hair too, which stayed in curls all day.

2012

By 2012 everything was up in the air again as we’d moved house and most of it still looked like a building site. We didn’t even have a kitchen in properly until about 3 days before Christmas. This meant I felt a lot more low-key about the whole Christmas outfit thing and just didn’t have the energy. I wore a fair isle cardigan and Heyday swing trousers with my red glitter shoes. I attempted to add a touch of glamour with some stick on glitter eyeliner, but it felt like I had grit glued to my eyelids so it didn’t last the day! Fact fans, that red jumper under the cardigan is the same red jumper as was under my coat back in 2009. Never let it be said I don’t get mileage out of my clothes.

This year I’d also had my hair cut into a bob and was still half way through getting rid of that red dye and turning it blonde, hence the strawberry blonde tint. 2012 was also the year I started running, and I’d started to feel a bit of pressure about the whole vintage thing. “Vintage” was a big buzzword and constantly being fitted into that box had started to feel less like fun experimentation and more like a chore. Like I was letting people down if my hair wasn’t perfectly curled and my lipstick perfectly applied. I think this was part of the driving force to moving to a more low maintenance hair style!

2013

I’d obviously got my Christmas outfit mojo back by 2013! My hair was blonde, the new fireplace was in so at least one room in the house felt festive and organised and I had an awesome new Christmas novelty print Fleur dress. I feel a bit like I was starting to settle back into my style this year. A style that took inspiration from vintage styles, without being period perfect and was a lot less pressure.

This was the year I started playing Roller Derby. Pretty much all my presents this year were Roller Derby related.

I am also looking at this photo now and thinking I should go and clean my hearth as it has considerably more clutter on it right now!

2014

The year of the Christmas jumper and the selfie stick! I’d had a fringe cut in, and for the first time in ages I’d got back into curling my hair occasionally, for fun, rather than because I felt obliged to look a certain way.

This was the Christmas of epic colds. I felt Ok on Christmas Day, but Mr Chick was a ball of snot. By Boxing Day I was also ill and we spent much of the holiday period feeling very sorry for ourselves indeed.

Still, at least I had a selfie stick.

2015

Last year was the year of the 12 days of Christmas Outfits challenge, so this photo wasn’t actually taken on Christmas Day, but it was exactly what I wore on Christmas Day! I loved this outfit, I would wear it again this year, but then when I do a Christmas outfit retrospective again 2015 and 2016 will have the same outfit and we know that won’t do. That skirt is still available on Chicwish.

This was the year we went to the pub at lunch time (I like my Christmas outfits to have a wider audience) and then nearly got trapped there because it started raining and I refused to ruin my very expensive green suede shoes by walking home in the rain.

All this retrospective Christmas fashion hasn’t helped me decide what to wear this year one bit. But it has made me feel a bit more festive.

Bring on Christmas!

8 Responses
  • Suzanne
    December 14, 2016

    This was a fun trip down memory lane with you.

    bisous
    Suzanne

  • Louise
    December 14, 2016

    Wow. I, historically don’t tend to put too much thought into my Christmas day outfits but, after a few years of life upheaval feel that I’m getting back to me again so, I may put in more effort this year. 2013 is my fave.

  • Jandrew
    December 14, 2016

    Cheers from Canada and good tidings to you! Being a lover of all things Vintage ,I really enjoyed your trip of Christmas pasts.Love the red 2011
    Thanks Jandrew
    DRESS THE PART
    http://jandrewspeaks.com

  • Ewa Macherowska
    December 14, 2016

    Love this post! 🙂

  • Ivana
    December 15, 2016

    OMG! Do I read your blog from 2010?! Always loved your “relax vintage ” ( or realistic!) , but always glamorous style! Thank you for sharing all this years with us.
    Merry Christmas!

  • Selina
    December 15, 2016

    I love your 2011 the best. I don’t dress up for Christmas because I don’t celebrate it so it is pjs at home but we do have a family meal and I’m the only person who dresses up. My reconstituted family now consists of 3 women and 6 men and I’m the only woman who likes dressing up so I wear a sparkly top because anything else is wasted on them and I don’t go out anywhere anyway. 2 years ago it was a mint green sparkly knit, last year was a red and gold sparkly knit and this year I unintentionally bought a bronze orange sparkly knit so I’ll be bringing that out this year

    https://retrocasual.wordpress.com/

  • Marion
    December 16, 2016

    Thank You for giving us a tour of your outfits through the years. Your Christmas novelty print Fleur dress is my favorite.
    Marion

  • Akram Taghavi-Burris
    January 2, 2017

    It’s always nice to take a look back. I love your wide range of styles and outfits. I especially love your green striped skirt and green shoes from last year.