The How's and Why's of Vintage Clothes Shopping
Why would anyone want to wear vintage clothing? First of all, it's fun! When you wear vintage, you stand out from the crowd. The chances of someone else wearing the same exact outfit to that special event are slim to none. More and more high school girls are shopping vintage for dances and proms because it guarantees originality. Yasmine, a vintage clothing collector from Los Angeles, says, "I wear vintage so I can add a little something authentically retro to my clothing and not look the same as everyone else, which is difficult in style-conscious L.A."
Vintage clothing is also nostalgic. Remember the good old days when there were party lines and soda shops? Me neither, but wearing vintage gives a girl the chance to experience a small part of history. In today's ambiguous world, it feels nice to pull on a crinoline and full feminine skirt once in a while. Let's face it: grown-up girls like to play dress up, too!
For the thrifty, the prices on vintage items should be incentive enough. Local thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales are excellent sources of old clothing at unbelievable prices. Broke? Go volunteer to help clean out grandma's attic! I've gotten several vintage pieces handed down to me since I began collecting about two years ago.
The internet has made it easy for vintage clothing enthusiasts to comparison shop and buy items that may not be available in their area. Type "vintage clothing" into any search engine and you'll get hundreds of results. There are a few things you should know before purchasing vintage wear online, however.
Carol, owner of Dandelion Vintage, a fun and inexpensive online Vintage Clothing shop based in New Jersey, recommends that first-time buyers be aware of what it means to buy and wear vintage clothing. "It's not like something new and fresh from Macy's, it's going to feel different and smell differently (there is no "new" clothing smell) and the items do need to be treated a little more carefully," she said, adding that customers should always ask questions up front about the garments, especially if they are unsure of the size or condition. When shopping vintage online, she says, be sure to read the site's terms of sales, ordering procedure, and return policy before ordering.
There are many different styles and eras to choose from. Items from the late 19th century on up through the 1980's are available. Whatever your style, you're sure to find something to suit you. Carol suggests customers buy what they like and avoid following trends, which is excellent advice when it comes to collecting of any type.
Making it Work
Vintage clothing can be teamed up with modern apparel or mixed and matched with other vintage pieces. Back in L.A. Yasmine says, "I find that wearing head to toe vintage is just not practical in day to day life, but by adding a few pieces I can create a look that is uniquely my own. I often buy high-end designer shoes and team them with a $1.00 vintage dress and a Gap cardigan. The look is pulled together and definitely mine."
There you have it: vintage clothes are fun, affordable, and enable the wearer to create and maintain an original look. So what are you waiting for? Go shopping!