What’s Your Unique Retro Flavour?

What’s Your Unique Retro Flavour?

I started watching Betty Boop cartoons when I was about 10 years old. I remember being absolutely drawn to this grooving, singing, sassy cartoon woman on TV. She definitely contributed to my retro flavour…

I had no idea what it was about her, I think it was a mixture of the hair, her voice and the way she walked… but even as a small girl I literally have memories of wanting to be just like her. I always loved her hair.

Miss Charlotte Cake

I started dabbling in vintage and pre-loved clothing when I was a fresh 18-year-old – before then I liked it, but it never really went anywhere. I had finished high school and got my first job in a second-hand clothing store here in Auckland called Recycle Boutique.

I loved working there, and even left to go and do a year-long certificate in Travel & Tourism… only to return and ask for my job back later because I missed it so much.

Miss Charlotte Cake

I love flicking through other people’s unwanted clothing and finding treasures. Being a staff member meant getting dibs on all the new stock so I was in a good place to buy items that never even made it to the clothing racks.

The mixture of clothing that would come in was a treasure trove of pre-loved gold. I loved buying new style fashion, but also mixing it with vintage pieces. 

Miss Charlotte Cake

Working there cemented my love for 1940s and 50’s vintage and alternative fashion. I loved the way clothes were made and the fit on women’s bodies back in those days and longed for the same wardrobe for myself. However, I still enjoyed wearing modern style fashion with a vintage twist.

I never felt fully confident diving head on into wearing vintage/pin-up style. I used to wear vintage dresses with modern cardigans, t-shirts over the top! 

Miss Charlotte Cake

I remember buying so many items that I told myself I would wear ‘one day’ – as I didn’t have the courage then.  I’m sure some of you can relate to this. I used to buy jeans that were a size too small and hung them up in my room as a physical goal to reach ‘for when I’m that size’ (ridiculous right?).

I brought vintage and pin-up dresses that I wasn’t confident to wear, but thought ‘one day’ I would be able to put them on and walk around comfortably and confidently.

Miss Charlotte Cake

As the years went by, and I got older and wiser I knew that there was no point in feeling the way I did about myself. ‘Life is to short’ and all those wise clichΓ© words… I gradually started incorporating more and more cute, vintage and pin-up style dresses into my everyday wear and eventually it was all I wore. 

Miss Charlotte Cake

I’ve actually asked my mum about what she remembers from my days as a youngster – as well as my late teenage years and her memories of my fashion sense as I was growing up and finding myself…

“Charlotte’s introduction to alternate fashion came as a baby; her Grandmother used to make her clothing made of material that she may have saved from her own childhood, and had very old-fashioned taste. So in the post would arrive very unfashionable fussy dresses, cardigans and trousers, which Charlotte would have to wear while her Grandmother was around. That was a fair bit of the time. At play centre, she was always straight into the accessories drawer. Handbags bigger than she was, and too-big shoes were the order of every day.

Charlotte had a particular penchant for taking several colours or styles that were all hideous in their individual status, and making them into an ensemble that popped.

She went through the Glassons and Supre stages, the same as mostly every other teenage girl in New Zealand, but came out of that stage when she discovered op shops. And to that end, she has never looked back. A piece of this, a selection of that, and when Charlotte puts it together, it works! She has the knack of seeing what an ensemble will look like big picture, and is single-minded in her drive to find just the right piece”.

Personally… I don’t feel like I’m myself unless I have a retro styled outfit, 40s or 50s styled hair and some red lipstick on. Only then, do I feel alive and ready to take on whatever my day throws at me.

Miss Charlotte Cake

What influenced you to begin wearing and embracing your own clothing style? How has your unique style evolved over the years?

I find it really interesting learning about others stories so let me know in the comments below



Leave Me A Comment



  1. November 11, 2016 / 7:22 am

    What a lovely and gorgeous vintage collection,i really adore these outfits.

  2. Rachel
    March 13, 2016 / 9:21 am

    This is a great piece about how you have developed the Miss Charlotte Cake style we know now. I have loved old movies and classic post-war Hollywood glamour style since I was as girl, but I never thought of ‘vintage’ or ‘alternative’ styles as applying to me at all but now, 30 plus years later I have realised that I wore my mother’s early 60’s silk cocktail dresses or sheath dresses to school ‘discos’ when my friends were wearing jeans. My 21st dress was a tailored black velvet cocktail dress made to a 50’s Very Vintage Vogue pattern. I have always been very conservative in my style, but never particularly fussed by what is ‘fashionable’ or trendy. However it took until my late 40s and a chance response to a FB message from another lady looking for similar-minded friends to find the retro and vintage scene, and feel like I really know who I am and how I want to dress for the first time in my life. Red Lippy Forever!

  3. March 12, 2016 / 5:11 am

    I love this post, Charlotte! I suppose I’m a bit like you used to be – lots of pretty vintage style dresses in my wardrobe that only come out on special occasions. I do love op shopping, and I have regular clothes on rotation that I picked up second hand for a song! I guess my style would be to take vintage items and give them a little style update with new things πŸ™‚

    • March 14, 2016 / 2:16 am

      Yes! Such a good idea having staple vintage and opshop pieces that you can easily change the look of with accessories πŸ˜€

      • March 14, 2016 / 2:17 am

        I love that you were wearing your own unique style at the school disco instead of jeans! Talk about glamour at a young age! And yes, red lippy forever <3

  4. March 10, 2016 / 8:03 am

    This was so cool to learn a bit more about you and your story. I feel like I don’t really have much of a personal style, but I’m starting to develop one a bit more. I’m embracing my size and style, and i like a little bit of vintage inspiration too.

    • March 10, 2016 / 9:11 pm

      Aww thank you Lena, it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now and thought I would pop it all down in a blog post so I’m glad you like it πŸ™‚ I love that you are embracing your style and size, I think it’s wonderful! And of course, you can’t go wrong with a bit of vintage πŸ˜‰ xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking for Something?