I am having a love affair with vintage clothes! I never thought I would be that girl searching racks and bins. Even in my 90’s Grunge phase, I was the one buying the new flannel shirts and army boots at the mall. Feel free to judge me. I was always so jealous of my friends who could pull together the most random pieces and look effortlessly perfect. I would try and end up looking like a homeless orphan.
Vintage has always been a hot trend. There has never been a time in history where it was uncool to wear another time in history. Well, maybe I would hold off on wearing chain-mail vests and hoop skirts but then again, maybe you can work that kinda thing.
Through the years, I have learned what looks good on my body and what message I want my clothes to communicate. No matter what you like to wear, wear it with confidence because ultimately, you should be wearing the clothes and the clothes should not be wearing you.
Here are a few tips to help you sort through the grandpa cardigans and 70’s polyester jumpsuits:
1) Accentuate the positives. Most people are able to find one part of their body they really like. Whether it be the top or bottom half that you feel the most confident about, build your wardrobe around those aspects. No matter what your size or shape, if you have the confidence to pull it off, run with it.
2) Prepare a fashion game plan ahead of time. Do a little research on seasonal trends, what look you are hoping to acquire and gain inspiration. Flip though some magazines, scroll through Tumblr or check out Pinterest. If you feel overwhelmed, think about who you know or maybe a celebrity whose styles you really like and use those pieces to best fit your style and body-type. At the very least go with a colour scheme in mind. This will help narrow your search and keep you focused.
3) Vintage clothes shopping is a marathon. Be sure you are in a good frame of mind. Make sure you have the time and patience to rummage through racks and spend a decent amount of time trying articles on.
4) Wear your best foundation garments. Be sure to wear a good bra and whatever underclothes you would typically wear. I always wear pantyhose and Spanx (Ain’t no shame in it!). It not only gives you a better understanding of how the clothes will work for you but provides a good barrier between you and unwashed items.
5) It’s not you, it’s the garment. Do not get frustrated if you are usually a size 10 but finding vintage clothes to be fitting smaller. There are a number of reasons why trying on clothes is upsetting to some people. Keep in mind that standard sizes have fluctuated over the years or the original owner of the articles may not have followed the washing guidelines and thus, shrunk or warped the fabric or seams.
6) Look for brand names. This rule is not because I encourage anyone to become a “Label- Whore” but because brand name names hold up better. There is something to be said about high-end brand names and it does have something to do with the original price point; quality. The designer of these garments realized that their name was on the label and on the line and that the wearer was a walking billboard. No matter what you end up picking out, be sure to check that the zippers work, the buttons are all there and that there are no rips or stains.
7) Natural materials and fibers. Wool, silk, leather and 100% cotton linen are good finds. These materials and fibers hold up better over time than compared to polyester and synthetic. They also breathe better on the body.
8) Bring a trusted friend. Aside from the company while you shuffle and sort, a “Bin Buddy” can give you positive insights that a mirror sometimes can’t.
9) Accessorize. Look at the scarves, belts, brooches, hats, shoes and costume jewelry. Sometimes it can be a small accent that pulls a whole look together. I love to add a small belt around my waist to cinch a dress better to my hips or break up a patterned A-line skirt and solid colour blouse combo or vice versa.
10) It is what you think that matters. If you are comfortable and confident in a range of patterns or pieces, go for it! It doesn’t matter the size on the tag or the era it was made, if you feel like a million bucks in a $2.99 Hawaiian shirt then, by all means, shine on!
Keep your look fun, fresh and true to you! Now, cue Macklemore’s “Thift Shop” and get your vintage archaeological dig on for that diamond in the rough.