What goes around comes around, especially when we’re talking about fashion. Nothing is really new in the fashion industry, so why buy brand new items that imitate a style that was popular 25 years ago when you can buy the real deal and feel authentic?
Shopping for vintage clothing requires a lot of patience, but can be extremely rewarding when you score some unique pieces and discover the real history behind the clothes that your favorite brands make today.
Vintage clothes hunting has never been easier as it is today when much of the business is moving online, whereas a decade ago you had to rely on the few brick-and-mortar vintage shops in your town. Now, the choices are endless, which can also be bewildering so you need to know how to avoid a few traps.
Can you really wear that?
When you’re browsing page after page full of funny, funky bright-colored items it’s so tempting to hit the Buy button, but before you do that you have to consider the wearability. An oversized sweater with a cool logo might look just perfect, but can you wear it at the office? Does it match the skirts in your wardrobe? If it’s something you’re going to wear once, just for the novelty effect you might want to reconsider.
The best strategy is to figure out beforehand how a certain piece fits with the clothes you already own. As a rule, you should always strive to combine one vintage item with an outfit comprised of your regular clothes. Dressing vintage from head to toe is not something you can easily pull off.
When in doubt, stick with the classics – you can never go wrong with a cardigan, a cashmere sweater, or a little black dress, and they are pretty easy to wear.
Know your fabrics
Before you start looking for vintage clothing you should learn a bit about the way clothes used to be made.
Did you know that clothes made before 1960 were usually made from rayon, silk, or taffeta, while items dating from the 1980s are mostly polyester and lycra? At the same time, garments made before the mid-60s had metal zippers, pinked seams, and union labels printed in blue.
Labels are very important if you want to avoid fake vintage. Back in the 1950s manufacturers didn’t bother much with labels, the company name and a logo were considered enough information. In the 1970s, labels started mentioning fabric type and size. Care instructions were added in the 1980s, while the complicated label with information translated in several languages is a thing of the 1990s. Do check if the label on a piece of clothing said to be from the 1980s matches the description.
Know your measures
This is important especially when shopping for vintage clothes online, sizes from the 1990s differ from those we know today. When you go to a traditional store you can pretty much figure it out if they fit, but when you shop online you could try to see if they can offer you the size in inches so you can measure them against an item in your closet.
These are just a few pointers to help you navigate the wonderful world of vintage shopping where you can find so many items that will help you stand out from the crowd.