„Do you know why I like sales shopping? Because I know, that if I keep enjoying that certain piece once the season is over, there’s a big chance that I will always enjoy it.” – my friend told me recently. Working in the fashion industry (and other ones as well!), we are constantly exposed to a risk of impulsive shopping. We tend to get hyped by the photos, spy on the Instagram influencers and not to reflect much if we indeed like that one particular bag or a dress, or if perhaps we are just in love with a picture. A few months pass by and self-reflections come: „What was I thinking?” I wore my neon Valentino bag probably just once. After two years of gathering dust, it finally ended up at Vestiaire Collective. Anamazing find turned out to be a failed purchase.
This month, while detoxing my closet, once again I came to a conclusion that the garments that bore me the least, are vintage clothing and accessories. Whether they be leather shirts found at Rokit, a few silk boho dresses from Paris or my favorite Chloe Irina bag, these are the items that will always look timeless and I can always mix and match them with the current trends. Some folks at various London clubs asked me if I would sell them my beloved zirconia star shaped earrings and my 80s belt collection has the power to reshape and transform lace dresses into pieces out of Rodarte collection. Good vintage is the biggest treasure in anyone’s wardrobe.
Before I learned how to shop and wear vintage, I used to make mistakes – the ones you can easily avoid.
Read my short vintage shopping guide!
- Do research – Vintage market at Portobello Green is open on Fridays and Saturdays, but be sure to find only leftovers on Saturday, the ones that solely tourists buy – said my agent Virgina today, a girl who rocks 40s frocks on everyday basis, topped with Dr. Martens and brocade socks. You enter some vintage shops that are praised by collectors and leave disappointed? Next time ask when they restock. Find out where your favorite celebrities and influencers shop (Kate Moss loves Rellik in London and Alexa Chung shops at One of a Kind). Subscribe to mailing lists of online vintage shops. Are you looking for a certain item? On Vestiaire Collective you can get notifications whenever such piece arrives at the shop – you’ll be notified by email and text.
- Know your style – Busty girls (cup over C) might not look their best in the 60s dresses, but such hourglass silhouette is perfect for the 50s dresses and skirts. An apple shaped body might make 50s skirt resemble a small tent. 70s boho dresses are much more versatile – they fit most of silhouettes. Before shopping, it’s worth thinking over which cuts would suit you best. But the style is what matters. Vintage clothes seduce us with their impressive fancy ornaments and sparkling fabrics. So you might end up buying a disco overalls that will get stuck in your closet forever. Think about it: what you fancy, who inspires you, what is your true style. Browsing through celebrities wardrobe could give you a hint. I am in love with this series.
- Look for an outfit, not a costume – a dress seems to be a perfect Halloween costume or something straight out of a costume movie? Don’t even think about it girl! Each time you’re about to make a purchase ask yourself this crucial question: Could this item be in a contemporary designer’s collection? Are you afraid to take a risk? Starting with accessories is the right way to go.
- Don’t pay attention to sizing – The perfect woman silhouette has changed over the years. So did the sizing. Don’t rely on the sizes on the labels. While shopping, arm yourself with a tape measure.
- The devil is in the details – Make sure to examine the garment thoroughly. Always check the armpits, the elbows and the stitches. Have you noticed how dark vintage shops can be? It might be intentional – to make it harder to spot flaws. Hold it up to the daylight to spot holes or stains
- Look for quality – I assume that your first finds might be beautiful ruffle shirts or ones made of amazing 70s and 80s patterned fabrics. Yes, they do like from Chloe catwalk. Yes, you see yourself rocking them with your ripped jeans. And yes – sadly, most of them are made of polyester. No – your skin will not be able to breathe in them. Invest a little more and search for silk shirts.
- Bargain! – Asking is the key. You can get 20% off most of your purchases. All you need to do is ask.
- What about tailoring vintage? – Don’t give up on a dress that is slightly too big on shoulders or 10 cm too long. An old lining or Dynasty-style should never discourage you. A lot of such imperfections could be easily altered and given another life.
- Get inspired – follow fashion shows to see what’s worth buying and how to wear it. Plenty of collections are vintage-inspired nowadays: Gucci, Chloe, Rodarte, Saint Laurent, just to mention a few. You could easily find most of the pieces from the runaway among the clothing from the past. And you will be far more stylish wearing those, than the mere copies you find in chain stores.
- Let the fabrics breathe – it’s time to say goodbye to plastic garment covers and invest in the breathable fabric ones. Plastic protectors may cause fading and discolouration, whilst the breathable ones guarantee to safeguard the integrity of your garments for the short and long term. The same rule applies to storing bags and shoes.