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How I Still Play Dress-Up Today

Kids playing dress up is the cutest
Kids playing dress up is the cutest

Updated June 26th, 2020

As a little girl, I had a wild imagination that came up with elaborate worlds full of characters, plots, and costumes. Raiding my mother's closet and costume jewelry was the highlight of my day as there were many beautiful things I hoped to own, too, when I grew up. Playing dress-up is something that most little girls do because it allows them to explore the adult world for a short period of time. Unaware of the commitments and challenges that come with adulthood, my little girl self couldn't wait to grow-up, get a job, and buy my own pretty dresses, make-up, and shoes.

How Fashion Personalities Came to Be

Many fashion personalities found a love for moms clothes as children when they were able to play dress-up. That's what set the tone for their careers. They were influenced by their mother's style, tastes, and wardrobe like I was. They watched in awe as items were added to the closet and jewelry box. Their mother's rooms became staging areas where fashion shows were planned and executed sometimes without their parents' knowledge.

Moms Clothing That Was the Flashiest Was My Favorite to Wear

My love for bright colors and bold patterns likely came from influences outside of my mom, however. She didn't own a lot of flashy clothing. She made practical choices using solid colors that she could mix and match with other things. Her primary wardrobe color was black, but she did have some grey, browns, and blues to wear, too.

There was a wide gold lame belt I coveted as a kid. A pair of knee-high slouchy boots that also fascinated me. A sweater dress that was all the rage. A pair of sparkly striped socks my dad had given her as a gift when they were first dating.

I can picture these items to this day and had we not moved so much when I was young, she'd probably still have those items tucked away in a corner of her closet. I was even allowed to play dress-up in high school in my dad's fringed vest from when he was a teen. I was really into vintage fashion and would spend hours scouring racks at vintage clothing stores and thrift shops in search of the perfect ballroom gown or jumper.

How to Shop for Vintage Clothing Like a Pro

Many bloggers, YouTubers, and A-List fashion personalities such as actresses and talk show hosts wear vintage clothing because of how unique and affordable it is. In 2015, the Huffington Post published an article titled How to Wear Vintage Clothing Without Looking Like You're Wearing a Costume. In it, writer Rebecca Emily Darling doesn't criticize a theatrical look. In fact, she prefaces the article by stating that you can be influenced by any type of fashion trend that you want. She states that if it makes you feel good and allows you to freely express your spirit and creativity, go for it!

Shopping for and wearing vintage clothing requires a certain level of skill, however. Choosing the right garments and caring for antique clothing the right way can help prolong the lifespan of the items you choose to buy. I speak from experience when I say that it's always helpful to try vintage apparel on before committing to purchasing it. Sizes are deceiving, and some clothing is meant to be worn loosely while other looks better when it hugs your body while you play dress-up.

Here are some tips I agree with when scouring a city in search of the perfect vintage dress or pair of shoes:

  1. Look at everything you want to buy closely. See if there are rips or stains on the garment. Check to see if zippers work and if all the buttons remain on the clothing.
  2. Note how the clothing needs to be cleaned. Is it dry clean only? Can you machine wash it? Does it require the delicate cycle? If you wear strictly vintage, this may be the determining factor for whether you buy it or not. If you can't launder it easily, it may be too much of a hassle to keep.
  3. Does it match other items in your wardrobe? Being able to mix and match vintage clothing with pieces that you already own gives you more wardrobe options for less money. If you can wear one piece several different ways, consider it a bonus. A little black vintage dress provides you with numerous options for wearing it.
  4. Buy the best quality items you can afford.Take good care of what you have by making minor repairs and cleaning the clothing according to manufacturer's suggestions.
  5. Mix new jewelry and accessories with vintage clothes. It's a look that seldom underwhelms. You're able to freshen up a classic look with modern accessories. They're abundant, too, making it easy to select the right jewelry and handbag to complete your vintage look.

The basic tips listed above are helpful for women who haven't outgrown wanting to play dress-up in moms clothes. They ensure that you buy the best quality clothing with the money you spend. You don't want to arrive home after a fantastic day of thrift store shopping only to discover that not one single piece of clothing fits the way you hoped it would.

Take a few pointers from a fashion personality. They live, breathe, eat, and sleep clothing. They've taken a few knocks for the team and have a lot of valuable advice to give on how to pull together the perfect vintage look. You can use their blogs, videos, photographs, and movies to inspire your own classic wardrobe. Before you know it, you may be the next big style icon because of your unique style and desire to play dress-up in vintage clothing and shoes.

Look out, Audrey Hepburn! There is a new fashionista on the horizon!


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