When we see Ruth Shelley and Robert Oestmann arrive, we rub our eyes: have we fallen into a spatio-temporal fault? In the middle of filming a movie? Nay. This couple from Bilston, England, just doesn’t like the aesthetics of modernity, or its conveniences. The 1930s were their passion. Admittedly, idealized and fantasized years, without an economic crisis resulting from the stock market crash of 1929, the rise of Nazism and the beginnings of a war at the gates of Europe…

The couple organized their lives as if they were there. And it starts with the clothes. “We dress like this all the time, because we are in love with the style, insists Ruth. Robert mainly wears a suit, tie and flat cap, and I wear dresses from the 1930s to 1940s. I don’t wear the fashion of 1950s because it involves a lot of pants, and I don’t like that.” “I don’t appreciate the sound that modern synthetic clothing makes when I walk, adds Robert. Our wardrobe is unique and different from today’s extremely casual. There is nothing wrong with being casual , but it’s not for me.”

Whiskey salesman Robert’s Peaky Blinders look is a plus

Obviously, their haircut, or the way in which the mustache of the young man of 27 years is cut, are in keeping. Which doesn’t make them discreet, confirms Ruth: “You don’t have to be shy to wear this style, we are often the object of other people’s attention. But because we get compliments, people stop us and take pictures of us, which the elderly love, it’s nice.”

The duo not only wear old-fashioned clothes, they have also structured their daily life around this shared passion: Ruth and Robert listen to music from the interwar period, exclusively on the gramophone, cook receipts of the period and refuse to own a television. They have decorated their house with furniture from the 1930s, travel only on vintage bicycles or in their Morris Minor, an English car that they have restored. It must be said that they each have a job allowing them to assume this elegant eccentricity. Robert is a whiskey salesman, and his Peaky Blinders look is an asset. Ruth, she is a historian, her outfits pose no problem at the university, not to mention that she mainly works at home.

“Our tastes may be old fashioned, but we love them!”

This vintage lifestyle is also, according to them, a plus for their couple: “In our free time, we read, talk or cook. We listen to music and dance, we walk or ride our bikes. Our tastes are maybe -be old-fashioned, but we like them. We both have smartphones, because they are useful when we are alone to contact people, but otherwise we do not use them. Living like in the 1930s saves us from ‘being glued to Netflix or our screens and allows us to really be there for each other.”

Ruth Shelley and Robert Oestmann © INSTAGRAM LADYADEPHA

Lara T.
Lara T.

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