I have been following Brittany and her blog Va Voom Vintage for many years now and she has cemented her place in the vintage blogging role of honor with her helpful tutorials, style posts and my favourite Vintage House Wife posts. I was thrilled when Brittany said yes to being interviewed for Glory Days Magazine and shared a little insight into her life. Check out Va-Voom Vintage and her recent 40S FASHION CALENDAR Challenge! I’m looking forward to participating.
SPL: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a housewife from the suburbs of St Louis. I live in a little 1930s house in a historic town near the Missouri River with my husband, Pj and our two little ones, Olivia (age3) and Rhys (age 2). After my daughter was born, I spent a lot of time in my pajamas until one day I realized that I can be just as comfortable in a day dress and I’d feel a hundred times better about myself. In December of 2009, I started my blog, Va-Voom Vintage. I have always loved fashion history and when I found out that there were people out there wearing pieces of history every day, I wanted to do it too! I started my blog to document my new love for vintage and my personal style. After blogging for a few years, I opened my Etsy shop to share some of my finds and started an e-zine, Hey Doll! Vintage Magazine as a way to involve the community and share our passion and inspiration with each other.
SPL: How do you keep the balance between being a mama, blogger and magazine editor?
Oh, that’s such a good question- and one that I get asked frequently. Aside from the blog, the ezine and my kids, I also have a lot of time consuming hobbies like knitting, gardening, sewing and just relaxing for a while! The key for me is a solid, reasonable schedule. I have a really wonderful daily calendar to tell me when it’s time to work on the next issue or blog post or throw laundry in the wash. It took a long time to get the schedule to work well for me but I make sure to spread out all of my tasks and fun time throughout the week so I have a little time for everything vintage and lots of time for family. I also wake up very early to schedule my twitter tweets, whip up some breakfast and water the garden. Although my kids are very small, we do a lot of activities together too. My daughter, Olivia loves to help me wash dishes so she can play in the bubbles or sit and cut up bits of scrap fabric while I sew. I realized a long time ago that the best way to balance life with small kids is just go with the flow! I remind myself that a blog post can wait for later, while they’re napping and when its time to play, the garden weeds can wait one more day. In the evenings after bed time, I often do stay up a little later to tidy up the house for a fresh start the next morning and give myself a few minutes before bed to set my pin curls and wind down.
I started my blog when Olivia was just three months old so my kids have been a big part of the blog since the beginning. They often appear in outfit photos and they’re excellent thrift store shoppers! Olivia is starting to get a really good eye, which makes me so proud. A few weeks ago, she spotted a really cute sun tea pitcher and she’s helped me pick out quite a few vintage items for the house. Today, I found a few throw pillows for the sofa but she said, “No, mommy. I don’t think so” and I had to put them back. The best thing that I have to help me balance everything is my husband, Pj. He is my blog photographer and also helps wrangle the kids when I need a little extra computer time on weekends.
SPL: I notice that you share a lot of your knowledge via tutorials, what inspires you and keeps you motivated to share what you know?
More than anything, my readers inspire and motivate me. They’re so thirsty for knowledge, like myself and always have great questions about beauty, fashion, sewing, blogging and vintage lifestyle. Every email from a curious reader or question about “How’d you do that thing?” inspires me to write a tutorial. Although photographing the process of sewing or styling something is time consuming and not easy with the little ones around, I love to show others how to do things on their own. I’ve always been a do-it-yourself kind of girl. I can’t go to craft fairs or anything anymore without thinking “I could make that myself!” When I figure out how to do something really neat or make something that no one thought they could make, I put that on my to-do list for tutorials. Every once in a while, I feel like I lose my tutorial mojo or I run out of ideas and then a reader sends me an email asking for help and it all comes back to me!
Most of my tutorial inspiration comes from learning about the way life was back then. Weather you wear vintage fashion or live in a vintage home, there’s always the desire and need to learn. Why did clothes look like that? Why were these fabrics popular during that period. When you learn the history behind the things you love to wear and surround yourself with, it all comes quite naturally. I often get questions from friends and readers like “Do you think this dress is from the 40’s or 50’s? How Do you know?” I always suggest they read and look at photos from that period. What was happening in that decade that influenced fashion? What was invented that year that gave way for new interior design?
SPL: Do you have a favourite decade for fashion and what do you love about clothes from this time?
I’m a history and fashion lover so the 1940s is my favorite decade for style. From 1940 to 1949, there was so much going on that had a serious impact on what people wore. History always dictates fashion but the 1940’s- what an amazing time for style! Unlike the fabulous 1920’s when many people could run out and buy the most gorgeous silk frock they could find, women had to get really creative and resourceful with their fashion choices and that’s how I’ve always lived my life.
As a teenager, I spent a lot of summer days with my Great Grandma Alma. She was a young woman in the 30’s and 40’s and she taught me how to sew my own clothes. She told me stories about the feed sack dress that her mother made for her first day of school and about the satiny dress she wore to her school dance. She came from a very long line of talented quilters and many of her best tales involved something that was sewn. Life was very difficult and at times, scary for women who lived in that time but they made the best of it with what they had and managed to look classy and glamorous. Grandma may not have had a dime in her pocket to buy a burger from the street vendor but she could take a needle and thread and look like a million! Although I adore my full skirted, fancy 50’s dresses and am really starting to love some of the crazy prints of the 60s, I love my boring grey, brown and navy 40s dresses most of all because behind each of those simple frocks is the story of an amazing woman who could wear that dress every day for a week and you’d never know that it wasn’t the same one. 1940’s fashion is for the tough girl who really knows how to take care of business and look good doing that and that’s what I strive to do every day.
SPL: Where do you like to hunt and shop for new items to put in your wardrobe and home?
I’m a mom on a budget so my favorite place to shop is the thrift store! Missouri is an amazing place for vintage. It’s not as popular here as it is on the coasts and other parts of the world so vintage is very plentiful and affordable in our thrift stores. We have several fantastic stores in my home town and they know me as soon as I walk through the door. I’m proud to be teaching my kids to be good thrift store shoppers at a young age as well. The little ones always look forward to thrift store outings so they can pick out a new book or movie.
Living in Historic St Charles, we have a lot of beautiful old homes full of antiques. When spring and fall roll around and the weather is nice, they open up to the public for wonderful estate sales and garage sales full of hidden treasures. The best goods can be found when you’re brave enough to dig. I’ve been to a few warehouses and private estates that required a dust mask and safety glasses to get in and find the best vintage. I love the thrill of the hunt and getting dirty. Every day is another vintage adventure!
If you would like to check out Networth and more exciting vintage related articles then check out Glory Days Magazine. Subscribe to Glory Days Magazine and receive THREE Antipodes lipsticks! Check out Miss Victory Violets review of the three shades here.
All images by Pj Sherman unless otherwise stated.