Vintage outfits often get a bad wrap. Some girls complain about everything from the odor to the old lady vibe. Well, get it dry cleaned and I bet your grandma had pretty fresh style back in the day!
A piece officially becomes vintage when its 20 years old so vintage is not just flapper or 50s floral dresses. If you wear an old backstreet boys T shirt to the bar, congratulations because you’re already vintage. These additions can work with any aesthetic or style and that’s what makes them so great.
Whether a single piece or an entire outfit, Vintage is a way to add unique flare to your look. With so many girls out there following the same #trends, Vintage empowers you to express your personal style. Bellow are some tips that have helped me navigate the world of vintage. Happy hunting!
Let me be blunt; my favorite part of vintage shopping is it allows me to build out an insane designer wardrobe I could never afford new. Take for example this grey Dior suit. I paid almost nothing for it and wear it all the time, dressing it up for work and down for play. The wonderful line cut from fine wool accentuates my frame and never looks stiff. This is from the 90s but is still relevant today. Even Song of Style dropped a similar line with REVOLVE.
Leather jackets and outerwear are also great items to buy vintage. These pull double duty, protecting you from the elements and looking sexy. It’s hard to go cheap because they won’t keep you warm. Also all that exposure will undoubtedly age a garment, and a high quality leather jacket will look better with every rain soaked romp from bar to bar with you Saturday night besties.
I get asked a lot about shoes, I love buying them used but it’s not for everyone. It’s really satisfying to score Prada pumps for a fraction of retail, but it’s no fun to imagine someone else walking a mile in what are now your shoes. I say find high quality shoes, have them resold and cleaned, then inspire envy from the ladies at brunch.
Your family may seem stogy now, but you definitely got the fashion gene from somewhere. The older ladies in your life definitely spent their earlier years looking great all over town and have the wardrobe to match. Sizes and priorities change, pushing design treasures to the back of the closet. It’s definitely worth asking to have a look.
Start a fun conversation with your mom and grandma about their style and the trends in their day. Tell them what you like about that period and how it connects to current style. Ask them if they have any interesting pieces hidden in the back of the closet you can have or borrow. The point is to make it a positive shared experience, not just you raiding their old clothes. This is a great opportunity for bonding and looking fly. Win Win!
This is where some can have hang ups about buying vintage. Let’s be honest, a lot of vintage is wearing dead people clothing. While this can be a tough pill to swallow, it doesn’t have to be. These clothes were loved by their owner, they deserve a second chance at life. Often they have not been worn for years and are in great shape. Just take them to your local dry cleaner.
Now that your mentally prepared, it’s time to find your target. Estatesales.net is great place to locate upcoming sales by zip code. A lot of the sales are online auctions so there is no reason to leave the comfort of your own home. I recommend getting there early to score the best deals. Find your local estate auction houses and get on their mailing list. It’s also worth keeping your ear to the ground with friends and relatives for upcoming sales.
Chances are you’re thinking of the local Buffalo Exchange, but not all consignment stores are created equal. Some consignment shops feel more like cute boutiques than a second hand store. Take Designer Revival on NYC’s posh Upper East Side for example. The have dressed everyone from the Olsen Twins to Catherine Zeta Jones, offering a hard to find upscale selection.
Not everything has to be everything is fancy. Beacon’s closet, with locations across NYC, is a great starting point to find vintage flair the doesn’t break the bank. Every city has hidden vintage stores, use the old Google to find one near you.
You love to shop and you love to travel, why not combine the two. Some of the best vintage deals can be found abroad, especially in Europe. Think about all those inspiring Euro women filling up you Pinterest board, their used clothing must go somewhere. It can be a a lot of fun to explore international vintage shopping and learn about a foreign culture.
A great place to begin is Paris, and one of my favorite stops is Lorette & Jasmin. This small boutique is one of the best known consignment stores in Paris and is a haven for hard to find vintage items. They even have a purse rental service if you want to flaunt in the city of lights.
This goes for all vintage outfits: GET IT TAILORED! A good tailor can take the awesome dress you found and make it fit just right. They free you to focus on material and fabric and liberate you from a lot of size constraints. Everything from dresses to denim respond to the tailor’s scissors. Just make sure to try it out with something not so pricy before you hand off that vintage Dior.
I love the thrill of the chase, running around a big city uncovering fashion gold. Vintage can be onerous if you look at it like a chore, but if you relax and enjoy it will add some sparkle to your weekend. The prices are lower so you can take more risks with your look. A Def Leppard T shirt with a Hermes scarf, why not!
When you get into it, you will begin to notice other cognisati on the street. Give them a nod, they are in the club. If you meet them in a private place, have a quiet conversation about where you’re sourcing the next big find. Shhhh, don’t let the other girls find out.
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