I saw a great article this week on the DC Goodwill Fashion blog about wearing vintage at work. Basically the moral is don’t overdo it or you’ll look like you’re in costume or like you haven’t bought new clothes in thirty years. (Aside: DC Goodwill is a fantastic blog if you like style and fashion.)
I buy vintage all the time. I would say roughly half of my wardrobe has at one time been owned by someone else, which I’m fine with! I like to think I’m giving the clothing a second home and I think the clothes are grateful.
Of course, when you go in Goodwill or even a consignment store, the racks and racks of options can seem overwhelming to look through. How do you know you have a good find? A few tips:
Those numbers on the tags don’t mean much. You may be a few sizes bigger then you are in real life if you travel back in time. You just need to be ok with this. Cut out the little number when you get home if it makes your feel better. And remember, not all cases does something not fitting mean you are ginourmous blob: if that size large sweater looks a little fluffy and like it might fit your favorite ten year old, it was probably accidentally shrunk in the wash. If things look like they may fit, try them on!
Consider the era. I love the Jackie O look but the shoulders and waists of the sixties are too nipped in for me to pull off comfortably. The seventies more suit my straighter figure. My fifties-inspired wear has to be bought new and that’s ok. It’s good to know which eras you identify with not only for style but for fit. The more you try on, the more you’ll know.
Look at details. Crappy stitching, balling sweaters, and other structural details can’t usually be fixed. Only consider a repair it can be fixed in five minutes, like a button replacement or a shortening a hem. Otherwise, vintage may begin to discourage you with all the extra work. You can buy secondhand clothes off the rack!
Your favorite designers may be something to shoot for. I like Jones of New York and Anne Taylor for the generous cut of their tops so when I see either, I try on. In your vintaging, you may discover other designers that seem to work consistently well with your body. If you need to, start a list.
Avoid crappy designers. I find Target’s Willi Smith clothing has disappointed me a few times in my retail life. Therefore, even a cute shirt with that label at a second hand store won’t get my $5.
Have fun. Bring a friend, try on some silly and not so silly clothes then go out for coffee. Shopping second hand does feel like a more laid back since you aren’t going in with any expectations. Approach it that way! Try things on! Did I mention that already?
Happy Friday, and stay fabulous!
Image from www.shorpy.com.