Vintage view of an old-fashioned girl

By Jessica Elgot, January 10, 2011
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Judy Berger

Judy Berger

There is barely a current fashion trend that doesn't owe its provenance to the latter half of the 20th century: sweetheart necklines and below-the-knee pencil skirts from the 50s, ladylike A-line shift dresses from the 60s and batwings and beading from the 70s. Naturally, the high street faithfully replicates the fashion of these eras but, as many women have discovered, why buy new when you can be totally authentic with vintage.

One woman who has been buying vintage since long before it became cool is Leeds-born Judy Berger, founder of the Affordable Vintage Fair.

A former personal shopper at Selfridges, Ms Berger was responsible for the fashion stalls at the vintage event of 2010, Vintage at Goodwood, which attracted more than 30,000 vintage fanatics, including Daisy Lowe and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

Ms Berger, 33, has always had a passion for nostalgia. "I think it began in the early 90s, I was at art college, deconstruction was in and Kate Moss was the icon. I was trying to find my own style."

Vintage Hervé Leger dress, £1,550 and Chanel bag, both Vintage Rewind

Vintage Hervé Leger dress, £1,550 and Chanel bag, both Vintage Rewind

The biggest trend at the moment, she notes, is the voluptuous, late-1950s look inspired by the TV series Mad Men.

"We all became quite messy in the early noughties, fashion was very casual, not put together. We now have a backlash with a huge resurgence in women wanting to look smarter and show off their figures. Clothes are stricter, not slouchy," says Judy.

She advises vintage virgins to seek out coats and handbags which have the most impact and the least issues with fit and cut. Most vital, she maintains, is to make the look your own: "Don't be afraid to change it because it's vintage. Shorten it, alter it, customise it. The whole point of buying vintage is to wear it how you want to."

Last updated: 11:15am, January 10 2011