If Dawn O’Porter’s show ‘This Old Thing’ on Channel 4 last year taught us anything it was that anyone can shop and wear vintage clothing. At the time the show was aired I worked in a vintage & retro shop and we saw a massive influx of people that had decided to give vintage clothing a try after watching it. This increase in sales showed me just how important it is to get the message out there that vintage clothing doesn’t just mean a full length floral Laura Ashley dress with puff shoulders (not that it’s always a bad look it’s just not for most people looking to try).
If we were to get technical Vintage is classed as anything from the 20’s to the 70’s and anything later is retro or just simply second hand. I personally class the 80’s as vintage because.. well, I’m 19 so to me it sort of is (no offence to the 80’s babies, you’re mad cool). The 90’s is all retro and is most likely to be the era you find most when you start looking for vintage clothing because people are still holding onto items from then whether it be the killer long leather jacket or the amazing old school Adidas trainers.
When you want to start shopping for vintage your spoiled for choice online but with vintage pieces sizes differ and materials aren’t always the norm so I would always recommend doing it in shops. You can shop at specifically vintage shops which can house a huge range of retro and new as well as vintage pieces or alternatively you can shop around the Charity Shops and Car Boots as I’ve found tons of amazing retro and vintage items at both.
Key things to look for in vintage items are the fastenings, the seams and the materials. Here’s a few facts to keep in mind. The zips in 50’s garments are generally very thin, metal and placed in the side seams. The 60’s saw the start of the serger (overlocker machine) being widely used so seams are more durable and neater as well as the zip moving to the back of the garments to become a feature. The materials became more varied in the 70’s and ranged from floaty cheesecloth (which is similar to linen) to dense heavy toweling not just polyester/cotton mixes which were popular in the 50’s and 60’s. These are just a few of the things that can help you maneuver your way through the crazy world of vintage and some rubbish remakes.
The most important part about vintage clothing is of course how you wear it and one tip from me is… do it however you like. You wear vintage styles everyday even though they may have been tweaked and modified to fit today’s trends remember they all came from somewhere and that’s the past. If you can rock it now then you can definitely rock the real thing so why not try?.