In the age of chain stores, fast shopping, and similar clothes, vintage shopping feels like a soothing compress placed on my soul. It’s not in a hurry, lives by the memories, and allows you to emphasize your own style. Let me introduce… vintage – an endless source of possibilities for such creative spirits as we are 😉
1. LET’S START WITH SOME THEORY
Vintage defines clothes from previous ages that are at least 20 years old. An H&M second hand shirt is not really vintage yet. But a silk blouse from your grandma’s closet that still remembers her first dates with grandpa – totally! Vintage clothes have their own story, a soul, and are in good shape at the same time. We can also reach for new items that refer to the 50’ies or 60’ies. It’s good to follow the history of fashion and know what it was that stars like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly wore. Make sure you pay attention to their jewelry, headpieces, purses, and the way they wore their shirts and dresses, as the devil’s in the details. I recommend the book History of Fashion, it’s a total mine of historical knowledge, written in a nice way at the same time. It reads like an action book 😉 My favorite vintage looks come from the golden era of Hollywood, but I also tend to refer to the 20-ies, 80-ies, and even to the Ancient times – who doesn’t like cat eye sunnies and golden jewelry? 😉
2. CHARACTERISTIC FEATURES
When you go for vintage clothes, the first question you have to answer is which age and what style you’re going to get inspired by. The most common ones are the 60-ies and the 70-ies, flower children, headbands, flares, long gauzy dresses, laces, wedges, loose hair. The 80-ies are a bit kitsch, neon colors, lycra and high pony tails with big bands. The 90-ies have recently been very in. So called “mom jeans” that are in their renaissance now had their beginnings exactly in the nineties, take a look at Beverly Hills 90210 characters. There’s nothing more simple if further years are closer to your heart, like the 20-ies, for example. Above all, watch The Great Gatsby first, and then start wearing low waist loose dresses, fur tippets, and a bit of sequins. The 50-ies? Womanly items, that accentuated your bust (special bullet bras), waist, and hips. And everything accentuated by cat glasses, toeless stilettos, and, of course, a flawless make-up.
3. GET INSPIRED BY MODERN STYLE ICONS
Many contemporary stars “borrow” items from the past decades and combine them with modern styles. A master of such mixes is Kate Moss (take a look HERE, or HERE). We often get an impression that she wears stuff from London second-hand stores. These items, surrounded by clothes with labels of the best designers create an inimitable effect. Some ladies don’t have the need to combine the old and the new and reach only for the old 😉 Lana Del Rey, known for her oldschool music video said about her style: a gangster meets Nancy Sintara. It’s hard not to agree when you look at their supergirly hairstyles and flowers in her hair teamed with American flag T-shirts and golden chains on her neck. Maggie Gyllenhaall and Taylor Swift are a bit more gentle in being vintage. They’re subtle, girly and lacy… Beautiful as well, perfect for slim blondes 😉 The amazing Dita von Teese represents the sexy 50-ies. I’m breathless when I look at her. Her outfits are like scene costumes – coherent, thought-through, perfectly cut. A real star from those times 😉
4. COMBINE THE OLD AND THE NEW
Creating the perfect look consisting of second hand clothes only is totally doable, but requires a great imagination and taste. It’s easy to overdo it, so if you fear you could, combine old clothes with totally modern or simply timeless ones. A half-transparent retro shirt with frills will amazingly make jeans look more noble, and a grandma style dress, trench and willies will make it easier for you to survive a rainy day. If you go for embellished items (like an old jacket with studs and sequins), team them with plain and modest ones, like a “little red dress”. Don’t be scared of such combinations, as they make our style original! You can start from, for example, Hollywood waves in your hair worn with a checked shirt.
5. PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS
Don’t get tempted and buy shirts with holes, old sweaters and white shirts that have begun to go yellow. There’s no way they’ll look better after you’ve sewn them, but will seem shabby. Don’t get clothes that you’re not sure about. Their low price doesn’t mean they’re good for you. Would you get them if they cost a few times more? If yes – go for the, if not – keep looking! Pay attention to the what the clothes are made of. It’s easy to find pieces made out of great materials such as silk or cashmere. Yet you need some time and energy to get them 😉 Try things on, consider your options. Take belts and jewelry into the fitting room with you. Sometimes a too big shirt turns out to be a great tunic if it’s worn with a belt. Remember, vintage likes washing and ironing. It’s supposed to be of old style, but still, it should also smell nice and be clean 😉 Make sure you wash the clothes right after you’ve bought them.
6. WHERE TO LOOK FOR VINTAGE CLOTHES?
The first thing you should be aware of, is the difference between second hand stores and vintage shops. The first ones are regular stores with clothes for a few cents where you can buy items produced a few years ago. It’s good to take a look what they offer, as they very often have some nice catches. In vintage shops the clothes are more expensive, but very often have labels of popular designers, they are well selected and most often, breathtakingly beautiful 😉 They can be either placed in the street (like, for example, Safaripsti in Warsaw), but there are more and more of these online (like, for example, Pyskaty Zamsz, or A&E Vintage store). Looking for inspirations, start from the cult Nasty Gal. Apart amazing clothes, the site also features a blog with inspirations from different ages. And, by the way, have you read the book written by Sofia Amoruso, who established this page? If not, you definitely have to! It’s an amazingly motivating story of a girl, who from a rebellious teenager became an influential businesswoman leading a company hiring over 300 people. It makes you think and teaches that you need to do everything here and now, and not wait for the perfect moment, as it might never come. If you like and know how to sew, invest in a few archive numbers of Burda magazine on e-bay. You’ll find many interesting ideas and patterns there. Not only will you create your vintage outfit on your own, but also will get a chance to feel like our mums in their youth when most of their clothes were created exactly in that way 😉