Rose's Wardrobe Interview with Nina @meldonina

Rose’s Wardrobe chat to modern vintage muse, writer, sewer and knitter, Nina, from @meldonina about vintage fashion, shopping small and living sustainably.

Hello! Please quickly introduce yourself.

Hi, my name is Nina (she/her pronouns, please), and I am a sewist and knitter living on the south coast of England with my wife and cat. I can be found on Instagram under @Meldonina

Photo from Nina's Instagram


What first inspired you to try vintage-style fashion?

I wish I could remember. This way of dressing has been a part of my life for a long time now, and I still remember how much setting my hair instantly did for my self-esteem. At some point, I thought, "If only you could always feel this good about yourself." Like many things in my life, it started with asking myself, "Why not?" and working backward from there. 


When did you start dressing differently?


Back in High School, I started dipping my toes into the bottomless pool of alternative dressing. I never had a goth phase, but I did have a preppy, 'classic' dressing phase that was replaced by a love for the 1940s in my early 20s. 

 

Photo from Nina's Instagram


Can you remember your first pieces, and what were they?


Unfortunately, I can't remember; I wish I could!


What are a few good items to get to start a vintage-inspired wardrobe?


I found looking at lists of what the average woman would have had in her wardrobe in the 30s and 40s very useful. In modern times, we tend to overshop and overconsume, and looking at how little people used to have in their closets makes a change in style way more manageable. 


In my opinion, three blouses, a cardigan, a skirt and a pair of trousers are a great starting point. Invest in a great coat, so you're always fully dressed outside and let the accessories mix up the rest. I'm more of a fan of separates than full dresses for versatility. 

Photo from Nina's Instagram


What is your favourite era for fashion inspiration?


The late 30s and early 40s.


Did you have any negativity when you started dressing differently?


Probably, but I've blocked those out very firmly. I now sometimes get comments about how I don't have any clothes to do the gardening or housework via my family. As someone who works from home and does the brunt of the home care tasks, I know how to swing a dishcloth in nice clothing. 

Photo from Nina's Instagram


What is your favourite thing about dressing in a vintage style?


It makes me feel good about myself, and that's a pretty priceless feeling. 

Photo from Nina's Instagram


A few favourite items in your wardrobe at the moment?

The pandemic has caused me to dress a whole lot less fancy, and at the moment, I adore dressing in dungarees. Aside from those, my favourite pieces are my me-made knitwear. Learning to knit was a long time coming for me, and now that I'm competent at it, there's never not a pair of knitting needles in my bag. 

Photo from Nina's Instagram


Do you feel your style has evolved ever more whilst wearing vintage clothing? If so, how?


There's a steep learning curve involved, and I think many of us cringe when we look back at our early forays into vintage. I looked a whole lot more costume-y and tried to pass off 50s things as 40s because 40s often came attached to a higher price tag. 


Once I could afford the pieces I liked, I had a brief obsession with historical accuracy before realising that I was, at least mentally, becoming a gatekeeping person. Not a nice way to be! 


Now, I like to infuse more of my own personality with my vintage and vintage style clothing. I don't want to look like I've stumbled out of a catalogue anymore. That way of dressing wouldn't fit my at-home writer and homemaker life. 

 

Photo from Nina's Instagram


Do you have any tips for finding sustainable vintage style clothing?


Slow down. The perfect wardrobe doesn't exist, and dropping a whole lot of cash on fast fashion isn't going to make it happen faster. All you'll end up with is a lot of 'stuff.'

Photo from Nina's Instagram


What are your favourite small businesses to shop from?


Since I'm primarily a maker of clothing myself, the main businesses I support are knitting and sewing supply shops. I have a pretty intense stash of fabric which means no fabric buying for me, but:


YAK, Brighton, for beautiful yarn


Swagman's Daughter for buttons and sewing accoutrements 


And Rose's Wardrobe, of course!

Photo from Nina's Instagram


Do you have any general tips for living sustainably?


If you aim for perfect sustainability, you'll probably burn out. Try your best every day, and don't beat yourself up. The fate of the world and the planet doesn't lie on your shoulders.

Photo from Nina's Instagram

And finally, do you have any top tips for someone who wants to dress in a more vintage style?


Watch movies and look at old photographs. Notice the differences between movie stars and real people. Get nerdy about the past. Even a pair of 2020s dungarees will look pretty damn old school if you get the hair right. 


Ponder what parts of the past need to stay firmly in the past. There are many parts of the vintage community that are racist, sexist and homophobic. See how you can distance yourself from those through mindful consumption of information. Listen to marginalised communities when they tell you that some behaviour is harmful. 

Photo from Nina's Instagram

We couldn't agree more! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Nina. You can catch up with Nina on instagram @meldonina.

THE TEAM

Rose’s Wardrobe was founded by Emma and Leanne after both having over 12 years of experience between them working in high street, vintage inspired, and fashion supplier backgrounds. The inspiration from Rose’s Wardrobe derived from Emma and Leanne’s muses - their grandmas and great grandma - Patricia, Edna, and Rose. The aim is to produce replicas of the beautiful clothes their grandmas wore, using colours, styles and prints from the 1940’s through to the 1960’s. Anna joined our team this year as our brand assistant. She is a recent fashion graduate and helps out with everything from social media to sewing. You can connect with Rose’s Wardrobe on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest. Have a look at where Rose’s Wardrobe will be here. Read our sustainability statement. Or, shop the collection