At first glance young couple, Ruth Shelley and Robert Oestmann, look like they’ve bagged the perfect outfits for a fancy-dress party.
But their 1930’s attire is no passing whim; in fact, they share a passion for living in the past. Not only do they wear vintage clothing, listen to wartime music on their gramophone and refuse to own a TV, they’ve even decorated their home to match their favourite period in history.
And they have little doubt that the lack of modern technology in their daily lives has brought them closer.
‘In our spare time, we read, talk or Robert cooks and I help. We have a few original cookbooks which are interesting from a historical point of view.
‘I prefer baking so make my own bread or welsh cakes on a griddle. We listen to music and dance, go on walks or cycle on our original vintage bicycles. Sometimes we ballroom dance to 1940s music.
‘Our music taste may be old-fashioned but we like it. We both have smartphones as they are useful when you’re alone to contact people. But Robert would ditch his phone in a heartbeat.
‘For us, this lifestyle is beneficial for our relationship. We are present in the moment as opposed to glued to Netflix or on our phones.’
Robert, who sells whiskey for a living, is a keen cook and loves experimenting with recipes for him and Ruth, a research historian, to share.
And there’s little doubt that the couple turn heads in the street.
Ruth says: ‘Robert and I dress like this all the time because we love the style. Robert favours suits and a flat cap and I love the dresses.
‘It isn’t something you could wear if you are shy as we do get stared at a lot. We don’t mind at all. The elderly love it as it’s like a flashback for them. Sometimes people stop us and ask for photos which is totally fine.’
They own vintage bikes and Robert is currently restoring a Morris Minor.
Robert admits: ‘I’ve never liked the sound modern synthetic clothes made when I was walking. Our wardrobe is unique and different to today’s extremely casual look. There is nothing wrong with casual but it’s not for me.
‘I might lounge around in chinos and a flannel shirt when working on my car. But most of the time, I wear a tie and jacket. I like to make sure I’m looking presentable.’
One of Robert’s favourite dishes is a ‘Depression Era Meat Loaf’ from 1938.
He added: ‘I love playing around with new recipes. I’m originally from British Columbia, Canada, so this recipe gives an insight into the lives of a rural Ontario Canada community. It’s a simple meatloaf and uses a can of tomato soup. Perfect’.