It is because of a recognition of this real vs. ideal distinction that, more often than not, more personal photos are what I look to for vintage fashion inspiration; I find when I aspire to mimick the looks of vintage starlets too closely I end up feeling the same way I used to feel when drawing inspiration from modern magazines (stressed and a little depressed). This is in no small part due to the fact that the carefully photographed and professionally stylised images are too hopelessly perfect and elaborate to be attainable by clumsy and impatient ole me. Simply put, while I find images of vintage starlets absolutely transcendent and glorious to look at, I have to remind myself it is as unrealistic of me to aspire to look like someone from the 30s who had access to an army of people devoted to making their hair, makeup, wardrobe, and body flawless, as it is to attempt to emulate modern day models and movie stars on a daily basis. Illustrations from vintage catalogs are probably equally unrealistic, but the clothes (especially the cotton dresses and house frocks) are endlessly inspiring and feel more attainable and wearable for everyday. That is just me. Or maybe not: the blogger behind the now defunct It'll Take the Snap Out of Your Garters shared this commitment to looking to real people for vintage inspiration and I was so happy when she uploaded pictures from her massive collection of photos.
My especial favourite set was the series of photos taken from a 1935 yearbook she had bought online. I have to repost them here because, simply put, they embody pretty much every aspect of 30s fashion that I live and swoon for and am more likely to wear on a daily basis: 1) the hairstyles (note how short many REAL mid-30s hairdos were worn--contrary to the hairdos in so many movies I've seen supposedly set in the 30s [sorry, it's a growing pet peeve of mine]); 2) the dresses: calf length, with amazing details like bows, jabots, ruffles, ascots, deco buttons, amazing collars, etc; 3) the blouse and skirt separate looks; 4) the fabrics said dresses and blouses are made of, like plaid, polka dots, stripes (I am a major sucker for patterns); 5) shoes!! Of course, there is something so poignant about these images. Very Dead Poets' Society. Carpe Diem! Final notes: 1) does anyone else wonder when and why student fashion took such a sharp left turn since the 30s? 2) I literally got CHILLS when I spied the girl in front row centre of the first image because I swear she is wearing the EXACT capelet dress I now own and wore to Whitehern Manor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Freaky!! Awesome!; 3) last pic is of what I would have worn for yearbook picture day: my Able Grable Irene Henderson.