Vintage clothing has been revelling in the fashion limelight for some years now, and it comes as no surprise that vintage treasures are what people turn to when they can’t find what they need from the over-saturated and pre-determined contemporary fashion market.
Shopping for vintage is not quite as easy as strolling down the high street dotted with tens of shops all selling more or less the same thing on corridors, racks and floors arranged with mathematical precision. You can almost always rely on finding your desired item in your size and perhaps in several different colours. This is not the case with vintage. However, for those of us who want to stand out and appreciate the freedom of expression that vintage offers, it’s all about the rummage and the thrill of a good find.
Vintage shopping is time travel at its best, so scrap the Tardis and head out to the heavenly vintage lairs that await. Vintage clothes can transport you to different countries, different eras and different lifestyles. The dress you got from Topshop might have travelled across Asia in a neat box to find itself hanging in your wardrobe but that’s the extent of its story. I once came across a gorgeous-beyond-words 70s embroidered top with the price stag still attached including the name and address of the shop; someone had bought it in Greece, and immediately my head went on a daydreaming voyage wondering why it had never been worn. For me, feeling like a garment has a soul and a story is one of the best things about vintage.
The great thing about vintage items is that they are usually very well made to have survived decades of wearing and storage. High quality materials were used more often than not as the items were made to last, and they were designed and sewn with care – so you can trust to be wearing that jacket not only next year, but for many years to come. Especially leather shoes, bags and belts look better the older they get when looked after appropriately. Another reason for items surviving in wearable condition to this day is that our buying habits used to be very different. You might have a dress or two, but certainly not 20. Clothes were bought sparingly, cherished and looked after. Stains were quickly removed, split seams repaired and pieces stored properly. That’s something we could all learn from today.
Buying vintage also means that you can feel good about yourself knowing that you’re contributing to sustainable consumerism. You are giving an item another lease of life instead of purchasing pieces that are made in their thousands every day, using up natural resources and leaving behind a trail of waste.
Vintage is great for those who aspire for a unique look and a guilt-free shopping experience. From 20s flapper dresses to 80s sequin and shoulder pad galore, you can mix it up and combine your favourite thrift finds with contemporary pieces for an eclectic look that you are guaranteed not to see on anyone else. So go on, flaunt your personality and dig in deep to the hidden treasures of time.