Review // Very Vintage: The Guide to Vintage Patterns and Clothing

Very Vintage: The Guide to Vintage Patterns and Clothing

Written by Iain Bromley and Dorota Wojciechowska, and published in 2008, 175 pgs.

Despite the vague and encompassing subtitle: “The Guide to Vintage Patterns and Clothing”, Very Vintage has a much more narrow and specific purpose. It is organized as a segmented look at various influences on predominantly couture fashion in the 20th century, breaking up the century into eight sections, by decade after the 1940’s.  Rather than examining each decade with the comprehensive depth seen in costume history texts by Tortora and Eubank, or Valerie Steele, Bromley and Wojciechowska review historical events and people as one-shot entries, referencing trends that prove to continue decades in the future.

The book is dominated by large, detailed pictures, mostly in black and white, but later some in color.  The most unique element is the occasional pattern illustration, by Dorota Wojciechowska, rendered clearly and precisely.  In this text, she illustrates a basic kimono, a guinea dress, a 1940’s woman’s tweed suit, 1960’s Richard Shops dress, Biba catsuit and red stripe tomato suit, and a Teddy boy jacket.

Including a two-page list of sources for obtaining vintage garments, it is an interesting review of the couture industry and its most famous contributors.  While it has neither the breadth nor depth to be a consistent reference for 20th century fashion, I might turn to it as a starting point for some of the historical figures that it covers, especially the most famous designers, or for pattern details.


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