Vintage Vibes

Rachel Muckley discusses vintage vlogging and its influences on much more than just fashion

The year may not be 1942 but that hasn’t stopped the ladies who YouTube in the most glorious way possible – delivering authentic vintage beauty tutorials – from living it up like Grace Kelly is the current style icon and Teddy Roosevelt is still the US President. Every inch the pin-up gals of a modern time, they are here to take us way back into a bygone era.

These vintage-beauty savvy vloggers, such as Lisa Freemont Street, Cherry Dollface, A Vintage Vanity and Ashley Marie to name a few, offer regular updates on hairstyling and makeup instruction inspired by the icons of times past. Think Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake and Carole Lombard.

The combination of barrel loads of setting lotion, over-night hair patterning and taking the ‘brows on fleek’ situation to a whole new level, means the ‘distressed’ look is not an option. Not in jeans, not in manes, and definitely not in peep-toe kitten heels – what would that even look like?

Tutorials generally follow the whimsical path of a run-through of the technique or demonstration being filmed with a film noir filter and the sounds of Ella Fitzgerald playing over the scene. And the result is admittedly lovely.

Although not culturally boasted in this day and age, the ever-expanding popularity of vintage beauty online may surprise you, and perhaps one reason for this is the fact that it offers both moderate and more intense looks; the former capturing a casualness more familiar to women of today. With almost half a million people subscribing to each of these online profiles, and taking an interest in this concept, it is enough to give these women a just reason to continue giving a voice to something that is so appreciated.

What’s perhaps the most interesting aspect of reigniting a left behind beauty ideal is the fact that these YouTubers appear to adapt ‘vintage’ into their everyday lives, as well as in front of the camera. As has happened with vloggers who had the inkling to pick up a pin curl clip, you might well and truly find yourself adapting your whole life to reside as a screen siren, and not just wanting to look like one. This gives the whole purpose of the videos a higher significance by showing that these stand-out looks can face a modern society.

Beginning their vlogging journeys with hair and makeup tutorials exclusively, slowly but surely (as the number of subscribers increased) many have given in to home décor, travel diaries, clothing collections, and baking recipes to compliment a retro taste. Who would have guessed that DIY victory rolls or breakdowns on original Revlon lipsticks would succumb to what it has…

Nowadays, you can build a successful career from this, with the opportunity to travel the world to host workshops, meet and greets and conferences. And that’s exactly what Cherry Dollface has done. Speaking to the beauty guru earlier this month, the YouTuber told of the perks of the job and what ‘vintage’ really means to her.

“Vintage styling has allowed me to travel the world meeting girls that want to stand out and be unique,” she said. “I have the lucky job of making them feel even more beautiful and glamorous than they already do!”

To escape the premonition of a cult-like sisterhood of time-warped clones, that some will inevitably jump to, it’s crucial to mention that within this community there exists huge opportunity for personal style and originality. By simply watching a handful of videos from various YouTubers, you will quickly notice that different styles and objectives to vintage beauty are freely expressed. While some prefer the Ava Gardner formality and simplicity, others rock sleeve tattoos and rockabilly hair quiffs. Some remain strictly loyal to make up tricks from the past, others choose to mix and match between traditional and art deco-inspired looks.

We must remember, these women are brave. And I say that without any hint of condescension. The point that they’re completely true to themselves with a look different enough to present an opposition to the pressures to conform to what is socially trending, is very admirable and shows great strength of character. Crucially, they’re saying that individuality is key and should be expressed without fear of judgement. Haters gonna hate, and all that…

In any aspect of life, attempting to introduce something that is no longer or not yet considered the ‘normal’ way, is a thing to pay attention to. These are usually moments of social break-through and of change. So put your brave face on, the time has finally come. Forget smokey eyes and beachy waves, prepare to be busy setting finger waves and jiving to Bing Crosby.