I'm struggling with how to introduce the next Vintage Girl Gang member, so I'll just list some of my reactions to the photos she sent over:
THAT DRESS. THOSE BOOBS. THOSE SHOES. HER HAIR. WOW. OMG. THOSE SHOES. THOSE COLOURS. THAT DRESS. HER HOUSE. THOSE COLOURS. THAT DRESS. HER HAIR.
On repeat for approximately one gazillion instagram images that she sent me. It's easy to say that JennaBellaBat (or as I call her JennaBellaDingDongSwitSwooSwoonerama) is my latest Vintage Muse when it comes to bold sassy style. It was high time I asked her to snuggle up to the Pigeon bosom so I can sniff her and stroke her immense and massive hair.
What is it about vintage that does it for you?
I've had a love affair with all things from a different era for as long as I can remember.
I remember being away on holiday down in Lancaster, when I was about six or seven and my mum taking me to a vintage fair they had/have in the town hall, I remember looking through the packed rails of colourful dresses and beaded beauties, my mum telling me when they'd have been worn and by who️ .
I've always had such a strong connection with 60s and 70s styles growing up with my grandparents, looking through old photos and slides of them in their younger days admiring grans funky dresses. Also when I was a younger at home many remnants remained in their house from then too, kitschy prints on homeware their old 1960s Whitefriars colourful glass and their Tretchikoff hanging on the wall since they got her as a wedding present in 1963. Even stuff they'd watch on telly and music they'd play, it's always reminded me of home and being little.
Then by the time I started secondary school I'd discovered music; my first favourite being Pulp and again they had a lot of 70s retro styling in their videos and the way they'd dress so that kind of reaffirmed my love and I've pretty much been dressing like that ever since. Just as the years have passed I've learned more and had more influences and loves filter through from music and film but it's always followed a similar theme.
Your Instagram feed has some eye candy photos of you modelling your glorious finds, who takes these pictures for you? Tell me some behind the scenes of how the shoots work.
I just like dressing up like I did when I was small. My photos are almost always taken by my long suffering husband when he finishes work, I'll reapply my lippy and we'll trail out the back yard gate to the little back lane and he'll snap away then that's that, I've done it so often now that we know the best time of day for the light and stuff, I try and do it when there's nobody about as I am extremely self conscious and feel very silly when we are spotted! I'm not sure the neighbours get it so I sometimes get a funny look!
I had tried a few times over past few years to take one everyday for a year but failed both times and I've had every intention to start a blog but, again, I'm not very technically minded and my computer skills haven't changed much since the CD ROM days of Windows 95!
Being into a vintage scene usually goes hand-in-hand with a love of music/film/culture in some way. What influences you and why?
I've been into music as long as fashion, my parents were punks in the early 80s so I was raised with that, then I came of age in the mid 90s discovered pulp as well as all the other indie bands of the day as well as the old punk rock records. My style grew along with my music taste. I loved how a lot of the 90s indie scene was a retrospective of what had been before so that lead me down discovering earlier bands and my English teacher's suggestion, when I was 12, of The Smiths and Joy Division.
It all went hand in hand from my Mum's 70s punk records to 90s Indie. All the 80s bit filled in the blanks. I had a love for 60s pop and Johnny cash is my Granda's favourite too, again films I'd discovered coming out in the same time were now classics like Trainspotting and Pulp Fiction.
What era do you prefer wearing and why?
I do love most eras and I'm a sucker for a nice dress, I do love bright silly 60s and 70s styles the best. At heart I like to look a little bit like a Scooby Doo extra, love the bright clashes and psych prints, silly collars and little girl style baby doll shaped dresses
️But I'm really open to most eras, if I like it I wear it and that's that the older I've got the less I seem to care. I remember once I'd think "I like it but I'm not brave enough" but now I wear anything if I liked it.
What's your favourite item of clothing and why?
Really couldn't narrow it down I have a lot of dresses I love.
I guess it's probably the staples that make the outfit, one of my favourite things to wear with virtually all my dresses is white or cream tights, they literally go with all dresses and instantly add to the vintage vibe.
I won a pair of almost destroyed Levi men's 501s on eBay a few years ago for 99p and they are the only jeans I wear on my none dress days ️
I also love a Mary Jane or a good Chelsea boot I think they go with almost anything anytime of day too!
Where do you shop for your vintage?
Here, there and everywhere. I don't go anywhere without going into a charity shop for a rummage, I can look at a rail and skim through with just a glance now and can pinpoint a find or not! I've always shopped in charity shops and remember when I was in school back in the 90s, little 60s/70s bits would be so easy found in any charity shop whereas now it's like sieving for gold!
I get a lot off eBay and etsy when I'm feeling flush and don't mind the shipping charges!
What's your proudest vintage moment?
Probably my wedding day.
I wore my grans wedding dress when I got married in 2012. She'd worn it on her wedding day in 1963 and it still had pieces of confetti in the lace from her day.
To see my Gran and Grandad's faces on our big day and the compliments on the dress made me feel 50feet tall ️
Finally, who's your vintage Muse and why?
I've quite a few! I've always had a girl crush on Courtney love in her 90s kinder whore days.
I adore Poly Styrene and other early punk girls for mixing up bits of all sorts, DIY and one off looks.
David Bowie is always a go too for inspiration too ️ and I've always had hair envy of Fenella Fielding, Sybil Faulty and Elvira ️ the bigger the hair the closer to God!
I love how Jenna dresses her four children in genuine vintage, embracing retro style across her entire life. Luckily, the kids seem to love it as much as she does, meaning Jenna gets some cracking photos of her beautiful tribe.
And when you manage to pull off some awesome twinning poses, well, that just makes your entire family the cutest one I have ever had the pleasure of watching grow up through Instagram.
Jenna, you're a true Vintage Girl Gang member, attracting love from any respectable vintage lover across the globe. I salute the way your stories, clothing and beautiful home are all genuine and filled with love. Thank you for letting me share your Vintage life, here are some red smackers across your gorgeous cheeks.