Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Wearing retro clothes (Farmer's market?)

Whether or not you sew, if you admire vintage and retro style, you may wonder where you'll actually wear the darling clothes you make or see on Mod Cloth and around.  Wanted to share a story about where/when I wore this dress that I made in April...

So, I am so happy it's summer!  Granted, the weather has been completely nuts here (sunny one day, rain floods the complex's basketball court the next, back and forth...) but I am happy we had nice weather for the first Tuesday Marketplace of the year!

Tuesday Marketplace is the Tuesday evening version of a farmer's market we have in Hillsboro, 20 miles west of Portland, where my parents live.  They have a great Saturday farmer's market, and a Sunday one in a newer part of town, but they also have this great market Tuesday evenings where everyone comes out, eats vendor food, buys fresh produce and locally made goodies and treats, and runs into neighbors.  They also have a vintage car contest (every week, I think?) and lots of dogs on parade, and babies dancing to the live music on the stage in front of the courthouse.  It's a really fun, kind of old-fashioned (but still popular!) event that actually started maybe 10 or so years ago, although the Saturday morning market has been going on for a while.

If you have anything similar in your community (you probably do!), I highly encourage you to go every week!  My parents always, always, always see several people they know, there is always great local produce, and the kids seem to have so much fun walking around.

Anyway my mom is the president of the local historical society, and they have an off-shoot called Vintage Hillsboro, where they celebrate the history of the town with special events (a "cemetery drama," a vintage Christmas party...), and to promote an upcoming event they have and to fit in with the theme (a retro band called the Twangshifters was playing)...

Anyway, my mom invited me to come dress up with her to promote their event for Vintage Hillsboro and say hi to the band, so I had an excuse to dress up in retro 50's clothes!  I wore the dress I made and blogged about here (it's a halter, but I pinned the straps straight down to work with the necklace) and she wore a sort of retro dress she made.  Of course we wore pearls!
As you can see the weather's a little cloudy but warm enough to just wear a light sweater, and take it off to show off your dress ;).

We walked around the market and bought fresh strawberries and locally made Italian ices, with my cousin and her darling 17 month-old, also in retro clothes!
How cute are the little ruffled socks and Mary Janes?  She is a great sport about dressing up and always looks cute.

People walked up to us throughout the evening and told us we all looked so nice, or how cute our dresses were, or where-did-you-get-your-dresses.  I dunno if they could tell we were dressed up for something, or if they thought we were just classy, dressed-up people.  Haha!  I would wear this kind of dress any old time, for pretty much the same occasions as I would wear a clearly modern dress to; that's part of the fun; mixing up retro styles with a few modern touches.  I probably wouldn't do the French twist thing any time, but the dress, I'm up to wear whenever!

There was also a booth of lots of retro-clad girls, the Pin Up Dollies, who dress up for cute retro pin-up girl pictures and go to classic car shows to raise money for the USO and the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.  Such a fun idea and for a good cause!  They were all so cute lined up by their booth, but most of them were over dancing to the band when I came up for a pic.  It's a great cause, and the girls all love dressing up in peep toe heels and red lipstick.

So there you have it... two excuses to wear cute retro or vintage clothes right in your neighborhood.
Of course, if you're Zooey Deschanel you don't need an excuse...

How gorgeous is that white dress??

Scarlett Johansson also pulls off the vintage look for everyday...

As does Katy Perry, of course, in shorter versions than the originals.

What about you?  Do you ever rock the vintage/retro dress look, or do you just admire from afar?  It is fun to look cute in a dress no matter when you wear it, but some times are better than others!!


  1. You and you're mom look adorable! I've never looked so cute myself at the farmers' market, lol. Usually I have just rolled out of bed.

    Oh and I must agree, we could all use a little inspiration from Zoey. ;)

    Bre @ http://theredbungalow.blogspot.com

  2. I try to rock as much as possible, even to work! Doesn't always happen if I'm running late in the morning, but I do my best.

  3. Your dress is adorable in action, great job! I'll do the vintage look now and then, and I just feel so pretty and feminine. And I love Zooey's girly retro style too!

  4. I love your dress! I think you've inspired my next project! I just started sewing and I've been looking around for inspiration. If you have any ideas for simple, cute starter patterns, please let me know! http://silverrosesewing.blogspot.com/

  5. I love love love the vintage look and would wear it everyday if I had enough of it!! :)

  6. Anonymous6/10/2010

    I had to laugh, I'm always rocking this look, but never thought of it as retro. Guess when you live in the south, floral dresses with pearls are just a way of life! Love the pictures of your family!

  7. I love vintage styles but don't really know where to wear them. I have a gorgeous sailor style pencil dress that I am still yet to wear. I also have a super huge petticoat that I love! We are going to Wintersun which is a rockabilly festival this weekend and I am looking forward to being able to wear my petticoat.

  8. Not necessarily retro dresses, but I think just wearing dresses is a little retro, and it's a shame. I love dressing up, and always do seem to get strange looks. I think it's perfectly appropriate to "dress" whenever going anywhere, but with our casual society, it's becoming more and more unusual.

    However, since seeing someone else looking nice always makes me happy, I figure I'll just keep right on, and perhaps the rest of the world will catch up!

  9. I wear vintage dresses quite a lot, but I often do things like shorten them, or wear circle skirts without a crinoline to 'dress them down' a little, or to modernize them. I love the vintage look, but I sometimes feel a bit costume-y if I go totally vintage. Sometimes something as simple as a modern haircut with a vintage dress brings it into the 21stC
    you can check out the way I put together vintage and modern on my blog - www.black-swans-pond.blogspot.com :)

  10. Love it!! Hope to do it again this summer.

  11. Great post! I very much enjoyed reading this! And, the retro dresses are adorable!

  12. You and your mom look fantastic! I LOVE all of my vintage dresses and wear them any chance I get. I agree with some of the other comments in that I do get asked why I'm so "dressed up" from time to time because everyone else, especially at work, are always so casual. I wish everyone would dress up more - it's so fun!

  13. I love wearing retro style dresses! They are just so beautiful! I pretty much want all of Zooey Deschanel's clothes, that blue dress in 500 days of summer was gorgeous! I found a couple of great vintage and vintage inspired dresses at a yard sale they were $1 each! One was an Anthropoligie retro styled dress that fits GREAT and the other was a white dress from the 50's that won't seem to fit my ribcage :( but I can't part with it! I love getting great dresses at estate sales and antique stores! I also have a passion for vintage purses, I think it's a great vintage pop to any contemporary outfit. Thanks for the post!

  14. This post is so inspiring and encouraging. It’s not only fun and fashionable to wear vintage looks, but also gives more options for self expression :)

  15. Anonymous6/14/2010

    I agree 100%: the farmers market is the perfect place to rock out vintage dresses. You and your Mum look amazing.

    I havn't managed to find any throw back clothes for myself. But I did score a beautiful bunch of vintage baby and toddler dresses from the 30s-50s.

    I can't wait to see my niece in them! Once I get a little (lot) better at sewing I might attempt to copy some of the great details and make my own toddler clothes.


  16. i try to wear something retro or vintage every day, only whe i'm not leaving the house i'll lounge around in jeans and t-shirt. especially in the summer i always wear a dress or a skirt. i love how flattering and feminine vintage styles are, especially compared to what i find in today's shops for the same price.

  17. That baby is absolutely adorable! So chubby and healthy and happy looking! Love it, love everything on your site by the way.

  18. Calling all retro girls to my rescue!

    I have entered a contest to win a walk-on role on the retro-licious show "Mad Men".

    If you would take two seconds to vote for me, I would really appreciate it. Just go to my blog, or use this link to go straight to my photo page.


    Thanks a bunch!

  19. i had no idea Hillsboro had so many fun things going on!!! Been here for seven years! i found this page (and learned so much more than what I was looking for) by googleing "retro clothes tutorial". Hoping to see what I might be able to whip up on my sewing machine to match my cat eye glasses I picked up at Hollywood Vintage in Portland. Thanks for the info and great dresses! Maybe I'll see you this summer at the Tuesday Market!!

    1. Always nice to hear from someone local! Hillsboro has a lot going on but still feels pretty quiet sometimes--except during the markets! They're awesome!



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