…and you should fall in love too.
behold, my closet (below). i’m sure my readers can see just from a glance that it is chock-full of vintage. why should you love vintage?
1. quality: vintage clothes are on the whole, better quality than the clothes made today. even the polyester was of a different level – skipping the 70’s… when buying, note that quality poly dresses and blouses (for example, from the 80’s) should be thicker and have weight and heft, and should flow away from the body like silk.
2. uniqueness: not only are most clothes today mass produced, they are mass produced in poor taste. while many people enjoy “ego clothes”, or clothes that gain coveted status purely from their price tags, why not throwback to the good old days of glamour and take pride in your clothes because they are one-of-a-kind?
3. price: depending on where you shop, vintage should be easy on your budget. unless you’re looking for something specific, such as vintage kenzo, yves saint laurent, chanel, lanvin, alaia…etc., leave the vintage boutiques to those with pockets deep enough for them. thrift stores and other resale shops can hold a wealth of old-to-new items for the keen of eye.
now that we’ve covered why, let me give you a few simple tips on how. first, be sure to buy something of good quality. for example: gentlemen, if you want a warm vintage coat, buy wool; ladies, it’s best to buy dresses in silk if you can. wool keeps you warm while cotton keeps you cool; silk keeps you cool when it’s hot but doesn’t leave you unprotected when it’s cold. (this doesn’t apply to chiffon…) don’t just go by looks, buying a quality vintage piece means you can be sure a piece that is as old as you are the moment you bought it also has the ability to grow old with you. one very important rule is don’t be swayed simply by a big name – even if you stumble across vintage chanel or gucci, if the piece is tattered beyond restoration, or even an expensive restoration, walk away. this rule also applies to clothes that don’t fit quite right. if an alteration looks like it’s moving far beyond reasonable, don’t buy it. finally, this is not a costume party – buying vintage is an investment; try to purchase pieces that are classic, and can be worn many ways, and for many years.
my fascination with vintage started in high school, and has become an obsession. my collection has grown to include vintage fendi, coach, louis vuitton, chanel, bill blass, oleg cassini, geoffrey beene, oscar de la renta, diane von furstenburg, victor costa, ralph lauren, tahari, henri bendel, diane fres, etienne aigner, givenchy, carolina herrera, as well as limited edition pieces from saks fifth avenue and neiman marcus. the prides of my collection are probably my furs – rabbit, mink, wolf, and fox. those for animal rights can certainly appreciate recycling old fur, as well as the added benefit of the profit from selling donated furs bought from thrift stores and many resale shops goes to charity. keep in mind when buying fur that mink and fox are the most coveted, while rabbit should be the cheapest to come by. raccoon and monkey fur were also popular, but are not as easily injectable into the modern wardrobe, in my opinion. the most valuable pieces should be made of whole pelts – you should not be able to tell color difference between pelts, or see a seam. knowing how to care for these pieces protects your investment. do a little research on how to care for your items, whether they be silk or wool or fur. for example, a common mistake is hanging clothing for long periods of time in plastic. if you’re not careful, clothes can mold when stored this way. another mistake is boxing up or bagging fur – fur should be allowed to hang freely. a little bit of know-how can save you a lot of grief in the long run.
so you’ve had your crash course – but the best part of vintage shopping is the hunt!
have fun, and good luck!