Read my article on vintage shopping in the latest dalliance magazine HERE or below, then check out the images!
Social trends that grow organically from human interaction so often influence what’s in fashion or on trend. The rise in the ‘Hipster’ and its associated indie/vintage influence has brought what was previously an underground trend into the spotlight – Vintage fashion.
The allure of vintage fashion lies within the promise of owning a one-of-a-kind piece that, lost by generations past, guarantees the wearer instant style cred and a unique, inimitable look. However, vintage shopping isn’t simply a case of sifting through your local op-shops or garage sales for sort-of on-trend finds. Vintage shopping requires a specific skill set, keen eye for detail and a sound knowledge of whats in style, on trend or iconically timeless within fashion. But fear not, here is a step by step guide on what to look for when shopping vintage!
STYLE: While you’re sifting through endless clothing racks of disappointing duds, it’s important you have a working knowledge of current season trends and transcendent pieces, such as LBD’s, blazers, cigarette pants, shirts and trench coats. Look for dresses in timeless shapes such as shift, pencil or wrap dresses and simple sleeves or waistlines. Things such as peplums, frills and puffs can date a piece before you even have time to wear it. Blouses and shirts with crazy or kitsch prints can become wonderful statement pieces and work with winter trends of logos and nostalgia.
DESIGN: When you finally find that perfect piece it’s important to take notice of how it’s put together. Make sure the item is in mint, wearable condition so it can be laundered without worry. Details such as covered buttons, piped seams, boned bodices, hand sewing, silk lining and handset zippers are all signs of quality manufacturing within any time period.
FABRICS AND LABELS: Identifying a valuable or collectable vintage piece often comes down to what it is made of and who by. Try only to buy items made from 100% cashmere, wool, silk, cotton or leather, or at the very least a high percentage blend, as these fabrics are of a higher quality, last longer and hold their value. While you’re examining the label, check the designer or department store – designer duds can become valuable collectors items while items from well-known department stores or manufacturers guarantee quality and longevity.
SIZES: Clothing sizes are all different from different eras, so when buying a vintage piece be sure to try it on. If buying online check measurements with the seller so you can compare them to your own clothing. Never buy vintage clothing that is too small or in a fit that is strained when worn. The age definition for vintage is 20 years plus, so you don’t want to shorten the already expanded lifespan of your clothing by placing undue stress on seams and shaping.
LEATHER: Vintage clothing, shoes and handbags made from leather are incredibly valuable when found in mint condition, as it’s a sturdy textile made to wear. However, you want to make sure your leather is in good condition. Leather should be reasonably soft to touch, and not too stiff, if the leather is dry, cracked or too stiff to move then steer clear – it hasn’t been properly maintained. However, if the damage is only mild it can sometimes be rectified by rubbing a leather beeswax into the skin to soften it up, soap and water can often be used to remove stains such as dirt, blood or oil. Store leather pieces in a cool dry place and condition often.
STORING VINTAGE CLOTHING: Clean all new items properly and hang lighter items on unscented padded hangers. Heavier clothing should be stored in either acid free-paper lined boxes or drawers lined in washed cotton. Keep items stored away from direct light, animal hair and smoke.