Wednesday, 12 July 2017

#VintageGirlGang - Silly Gilly

If you use Instagram and you're a vintage lover, you're bound to have stumbled across the next addition to our #VintageGirlGang. 

The drool worthy Silly Gilly has been on my Girl Gang radar for ages. Her photos are glamorous, soaked in 1970s style and double-tapable until your loose perm drops out. 

Ladies, please welcome Gilly:

Talk me through your vintage journey? When did you realise that the past suits you best?

Until I was about 16 I tried to follow the fashion of the time in a bid to be 'popular'. It failed. Even as far back as the age of 12 I felt connected to 'the past'; I discovered classic films thanks to my school dinner lady lending me her recorded VHS tapes (remember those?) of the afternoon film on BBC2. I became utterly obsessed with Audrey Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire whilst my peers were more interested in Britney Spears. By the time I reached 17 there was a Sky Channel called Granada Plus and I became intrigued with 70's 'Coronation Street' and other British 70s shows such as 'The Professionals', 'The Cuckoo Waltz', 'Nearest and Dearest' and 'No, Honestly', to name but a few. Around the same time my mum opened a previously permanently closed wardrobe in her bedroom which was full of late 60's and 70's clothing and accessories and offered them to me. It was meant to be, and I have never looked back. 

The Cuckoo Waltz

What era suits you best and why? 

The 60's and 70's. In fact, someone asked me once what year I felt I was in, clothing-wise. I'm not a slave to any decade and I like to put my own slant on things, but I would probably say I veer from 1969 to 1971. I have tried wearing clothes from the 30's - 80's, but for my figure the 60's and 70's style just works and it holds the most interest for me print, shape and colour wise. I love how one day I can be a mod, the next a hippie, as they are styles I particularly covet. 

What's your favourite item of clothing/go to outfit? 

I have a 70's brown suede coat with a huge faux fur collar and cuffs. I adore it but I can't do it up anymore; I love it so much but try as I might, no possible replacement can match it. I think the coat is the most important part of an outfit...for a constantly frozen person like me it is the item of clothing people see you wearing the most, so a good coat is vital.

No matter what I'm wearing, I throw on this coat and I'm instant 70s chick.

What's your favourite vintage household item? 

I am slowly building my vintage household collection since being flooded on Boxing Day 2015. Much of it is reproduction but I do have one very treasured piece that was sent to me after the floods. It was a 60's orange vase in the hobnail style from Essentially Eagle Vintage's stall at Stockport's Vintage Village. My friend Lynn (A Vintage Habit) had seen how much I loved it and after our awful time bought it for me and sent it over to me to cheer me up. Every time I look at it I think how touched I was at such kindness, plus it looks blinking amazing!

We all love to look to the past for a bit of inspiration. Who's your vintage muse?
I take inspiration from lots of places, from my mum's style in the 60's and 70's (when old ladies used to shake their sticks at her for wearing short skirts!), from British 70's sitcoms, to vintage-loving friends who inspire me such as Vicky Brearley (go follow her blog, Vintage Vix!) However, it will come as no surprise to those who know me that my muse is Jefferson Airplane/Starship powerhouse vocalist Grace Slick. 

I became interested in her and her music about 5 years ago when it was suggested I resembled her in hairstyle (a fringe covers up a multitude of sins) and fashion. As soon as I watched a 60s performance of her singing 'Somebody to Love' wearing a dress she had made from a bed sheet,  I was utterly hooked. I love how she started off in her first band, 'The Great Society', wearing roll necks, mini skirts and gogo boots and then forged more of a hippie look with her kaftans before opting for 70's dagger collar shirts and flares in her latter career. In the 80's she dressed as wild as possible and didn't give a stuff what anyone thought. I love that. Nobody should feel tied down to a certain look; sadly there can be some snobbery with vintage purists. I wrote an article about Grace's Woodstock look for my husband's website, Clothes on Film.

What's your most desired item that you've not managed to get yet? 

My most coveted piece would be a 70's Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress with long cuffed sleeves and a stand collar, like the one Cybill Shepherd wears in 'Taxi Driver' (1976). 

According to my husband Christopher Laverty's wonderful book, 'Fashion in Film' (available in all good bookshops, plug plug), this type of DVF is called a 'Jeanne'. 

How do you find the people on the street receive your style? 

Really, really well. I am a primary school teacher and the children really love it when I wear crazy, bright-coloured clothes. I have educated them in all aspects of vintage! Funnily enough, when I first started at my present school one of the office staff later told me she thought we were studying a topic on the 1970s and thought my dedication to the subject was wonderful. It was only after a couple of weeks she realised it was my actual attire! It's lovely to get comments from shop assistants and every now and again someone will come up to me and ask where I purchased an item. Last month, I was nominated for and won 'York's Most Stylish Woman' run by Maude and Tommy, an independent clothes shop in my city, which was a huge honour. The best compliment though was when I was shopping in Aldi wearing my red 60s coat and yellow tights and a little old lady came up to me and told me how lovely I looked.

Where do you buy your gear? 
Anywhere cheap! My first port of call is charity shops with which I am somewhat obsessed - I can't visit a new place without checking out its chazzas. In York we have a Sue Ryder charity shop with a vintage section, in Selby nearby there is a vintage St. Leonard's Hospice and in my hometown of Stockport there is the original vintage charity shop, Barnardo's Vintage in Cheadle which is a gem of a place. They hold lots of vintage events and I was privileged to take part in one of their vintage fashion shows. In fact, Stockport has become somewhat of a vintage Mecca since I left the place in which I was brought up. There are some nicely priced vintage shops around the market place - 20th Century Stores has many fantastic sellers, including the wonderful Tin Trunk who keeps me in deadstock jewellery and Snygg has incredible 60s home ware. Also in Stockport is Pear Mill Vintage Emporium which is full of vintage sellers, some very reasonably priced. 

The highlight of my calendar however is Vintage Village at Stockport Market Hall, which takes place the second Sunday of every month. It's a super event and has the BEST sellers, including Kinky Melon's Retro Boutique, The Queen's Drawers the last! Yes, Silly Gilly Vintage made its first appearance at a vintage stall and there's no going back! I have been selling on eBay, Facebook and IG too which is where I make a lot of my purchases - myvintagebeau is great at finding me holy grail pieces like my recent pair of 70s St Michael 'Rupert' plaid flares!

This little interview with Gilly has been enlightening and a mini education. I feel honoured to be able to add her to my #VintageGirlGang and urge you all to get double-click happy on her Instagram feed.

You've well and truly earned your stripes, lady!


  1. Fabulous interview with the delightful Gilly and nice to see the orange vase again
    Lynn- Vintage Habit on Instagram

    1. I love that orange vase and the story behind it. I too, was caught in floods. December 2013. I didn't know it, but I was pregnant t with Stanley at the time. We were in the car trying to escape being affected by the flood coming, but it got into the car, affecting the electrics. The whole car stopped working - doors and windows, everything. It's so scary.
      When we eventually got home, the house hadn't even been touched! We should've bloody stayed there!

    2. Oh that's horrible, it's like a bad nightmare. Thank goodness you've come through it 👍


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