Seven Easy Ways To Introduce Vintage Clothing Into Your Wardrobe
I started shopping for vintage clothing when I was about 15 or 16 years old. I would LOVE to tell you I was just that much of a hipster, but in reality, I loved women like Courtney Love and Gwen Stefani and they wore vintage, so I did too! I scoured the charity shops and vintage shops and I ended up buying some amazing pieces which I still have in storage now. Do I need to tell you I bought pretty much every item for an absolute SONG?! Back then, no-one wanted the vintage floral dresses and 70’s shirts I loved, which was great for me as I would buy multiple pieces with my pocket money / Sainsbury’s wages, rather than my classmates who would save for weeks to buy one pair of Topshop jeans. Over the years I got really good at buying vintage, I knew all the best vintage stores, sale racks and charity shops. I was also partial to a carboot sale, I would scan the field for the oldest looking couple and make a bee-line for them, I would skip straight past any family selling children toys and head for the oldies, I knew what I wanted!
Anyway, my point is, I’m a seasoned pro when it comes to vintage and I’m pretty fearless when it comes to buying vintage granny dresses and wearing them like they are fresh of the production line. But here’s the thing, I KNOW it can be intimidating buying vintage. It’s hard to know where to start and it can be even harder trying to incorporate it into your wardrobe. So I’m hoping I can share a few tips and tricks with you!
Take Inspiration From Your Own Wardrobe
If you think about your favourite pieces of clothing in your current wardrobe, ask yourself which pieces feel the most vintage-inspired and what eras are they reference. I think a great place to start you vintage journey is by looking for vintage pieces which are a similar look and shape to what you would wear day-to-day. You want to be able to wear your vintage pieces with the modern clothes you already own and you don’t want to be stepping far out of your comfort zone. Think about blending these pieces in, not letting them stick out like a sore thumb. Go with what feels natural to you and your style.
Once you start to think about it, nearly everything you find on the high street is inspired by vintage clothing. The double breasted blazers which are everywhere RN are a throwback to the late 80’s and early 90’s, the cute milkmaid dresses are inspired by the 70’s prairie dresses and the novelty print circle dresses are inspired by the dresses of the 50’s. The blogger Sea Of Shoes wears some incredible vintage outfits, if you want a little street style inspo, then shops like ASOS Market place and Depop are great for sourcing vintage pieces which fit into current trends. All styled in a way which you could take straight from the shopping page and onto the street.
FYI: The dress I’m wearing in the first photo is vintage Laura Ashley (£17) and the floral dress I’m wearing above cost me an amazing £1 from a vintage warehouse sale!
Start With Jewellery
This is a BIG one of me! In fact, it’s my BEST tip for how to start wearing vintage! There’s SO much great vintage jewellery out there and it’s generally super affordable. Plus, right now, all the high street stores are filled with vintage inspired jewellery, so why not just buy an actual piece of vintage jewellery instead? From lockets to long chains, charm necklaces to brooches, there’s oodles of amazing vintage jewellery on places like Etsy and eBay, all you have to do is type in the words ‘vintage locket’, ‘opal ring’ or ‘semi precious necklace’ and filter by ‘Antique and Vintage’ so you get the real vintage, not the reproduction versions. I promise, you’ll find so many beautiful pieces which will feel so much more special and unique when you wear them!
FYI: The blue pendant on the bottom left cost around £7 on eBay and all the pieces above were bought years ago from carboot sales and charity shops. The multicoloured heart necklace was once an earring, but I took the heart off and threaded it onto a chain and if I remember rightly, none of these pieces cost more than £2!
Or… Boyfriend Jeans
If you are a lover of boyfriend jeans, then why not buy yourself an actual pair of mens jeans? I’m pretty sure you’ll find some amazing vintage Levi’s, made from super soft denim with wear in just the right places at Beyond Retro. Plus they’ll be half, if not a third of the price you’d pay on the high street. Alternatively, why not try a vintage denim jacket?
Or Maybe A Handbag….
When it comes to vintage handbags, there’s so many beautiful ones out there. From forgotten luxury gems like Bally and The Bridge, to unbranded thick leather saddle bags and satchels, and of course, vintage designer bags. Sure you could buy a Dior Saddle bag circa 2019 in the store, OR you could hunt down the 90’s version for half the price! I bought this Chanel GST from Chiswick Auctions, it was a bag I was desperate for but it’s no longer available in stores, so I got lucky at the specialist auction instead! It cost way less than it would in store too! Speaking of which, let’s chat vintage designer…
Invest In Vintage Designer
If you love designer clothes but can’t afford the price tags, then a great way to start buying vintage is by seeking out vintage designer pieces. You’ll pay a whole lot less for an 80’s Chanel jacket compared to a new season Chanel jacket and an oversized 80’s Moschino shirt with a bold print will look great tucked into a pair of jeans or worn loose over a pair of leggings. There’s some amazing preloved designer stores out there (personally I love Vestiaire Collective and Chiswick Auction’s specialist sales). Pick out brands you already love who have great past seasons collections (Chanel, Moschino, Bally, Versace and Dior are some of my faves) and think about how you can work those designer pieces into your current wardrobe. Don’t be afraid to play it safe with muted colours and cuts that you would see in the stores at the moment. Again, it’s all about staying within your comfort zone and fitting vintage into your current wardrobe.
Vintage shopping is a labour of love! I’ve spent
hours days weeks rummaging through bins in Beyond Retro, scouring flea markets in Paris and scrolling eBay. In my mind, the thrill of the hunt is just as exciting as the purchase itself. Vintage shopping is fun and it’s so rewarding; there’s nothing better than finding something you love and knowing it’s a rare, one-in-a-million find! AND knowing that you got it for less than a relatively poorly made Zara equivalent! So, my point is, you gotta keep looking! You gotta visit those vintage stores, scroll those eBay listings and have a rummage around ASOS marketplace, and know that when it comes to vintage, persistence pays off! Right now, I’m on the look out for vintage jewellery and 70’s style prairie dresses, but who knows, in a month I might be hunting down the perfect double breasted tweed jacket! With vintage, the possibilities are endless and the smug feeling you get when someone asks where your dress is from is priceless… ‘oh it’s vintage!’
How To Avoid Looking Like You Are Going To A Fancy Dress Party
I think for a lot of people, the fear of wearing vintage, is the fear of looking like they are in fancy dress. When I started wearing vintage, this was definitely the case as it was so much less popular then (this isn’t a humble brag, I’m just that old), but now vintage clothing is everywhere and most of the clothes on the high street are inspired by vintage fashion. Personally, I think the trick is to mix your vintage pieces in with your modern wardrobe and keep your hair and make up modern and fresh. Sure if you wear a 50’s dress with victory rolls and winged eyeliner you are going to look like you are off to Goodwood, but if you mix your past season COS jumper with a pair of vintage Levi’s boyfriend jeans and your beloved Russell & Bromley vintage boots and a few vintage chains to finish the look, you will look like you, not like you are off for an afternoon of vintage reenactment – no shade I promise, I’ve been to Goodwood, it was great! But my point is, you want to feel like you’re wearing vintage, not like vintage is wearing you. My personal golden rules are keep your hair and make up modern, mix your vintage pieces with modern styling and search for the vintage version of something you would have bought new. Stay true to your style!
Vintage Is More Than Just Clothing…
There are many reasons I love vintage; I love that vintage versions of a trend feels unique. I love the prices and I love the thrill of the hunt. I find the quality is often much better and I also love that it’s more sustainable and rather than putting my hard earned cash into the deep, deep pockets of Philip Green, I’m helping indie shops and sole traders make an extra sale. However, if this post hasn’t convinced you to start shopping for vintage clothing, then maybe I can suggest to you the option of buying vintage homewares instead, from standard lamps to rococo chairs, old paintings to mid century furniture, there’s so many amazing things you can buy vintage, just keep your eyes open and start popping into charity shops, vintage stores and try to reimagine old things in your new home. Vintage shopping is one of my favourite things to do! Before I go, I want to share a little story about the chair above. I bought for £1.20 from eBay and it makes me happy every time I look at it. The man I bought it from said it was is mothers and if it hadn’t have sold, he would have taken it to the dump. With one quick search for ‘vintage pink velvet chair’ and a quick bid, I scored myself this little beauty and I saved it from landfill! One mans trash, really is another womans’ treasure!
I hope this post has been a little help to you and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! Some links are affiliate, all products bought by me!