Tricks of the Rag Trade – How to Shop and Style Vintage Clothing

The realm of vintage clothing isn’t quite the same as easy-to-wear, off-the-shelf high street label shopping. You need real fashion cachet and an instinct to shop for, and style vintage items The one-off nature of vintage shops and lack of choice when it comes to sizing can put many people off when it comes to shopping for vintage clothing. Savvy shoppers can navigate the oft bewildering world of vintage clothes and emerge triumphant with their own unique, vintage fashion items using these tips.

To buy or not to buy?
It doesn’t matter if it’s a bargain. If it’s a moth eaten rag with irreparable zips and a suspicious, conspicuous stain down the front, nothing you can do will save it. Look for vintage pieces that are in good nick, with an eye for how you can wear it. Buy only good quality items made from silk, cotton, wool, satin or linen and check for strong, even stitching. Minor adjustments like changing a hemline or adding a missing button is easily applied; however a complete restructuring of the item will not be, unless you are confident with a sewing machine.

Update it
Vintage haute couture will always be on trend, no matter the fashion season, but the same cannot be said for other, less durable labels.  Remember that vintage is not off-the-shelf wear; it has to be  given a unique twist to update it. Vintage clothing works well mixed in with more modern pieces Pay attention to the details and you’ll be able to update a vintage find easily. A 1940s dress may need the hemlines shortened or the sleeves turned up to bring it into the 21st century. Styled with printed knee high socks and platform shoes, the look is decidedly en vogue, with vintage credentials.

Buy spare necklaces or chains and loop them onto the backs or sleeves of plain black tee shirts for a rock chick look. Buttons of different shapes, colours and sizes look quirky grouped together on a jacket lapel, tee shirt collar or brim of a hat. To make your own statement necklaces, use spare pieces of felt or velvet and pin a collection of vintage brooches on. Wear belts wrapped around plain black boots. Curtain tassels can be put to the same use, slung over shoulders, tied around waists. Keep an eye out for military epaulets and pins or badges to add to basic tops Sequinned hems from vintage cocktail dresses can be ripped off and attached to skirts or tops. Coloured pockets made from spare material can be tacked onto polo tee shirts. Embellishment elevates the simple and ordinary to art. A striped white and blue shirt can be chic by itself, but add a row of golden buttons on one shoulder and the piece suddenly channels navy cool. When it comes to shopping for vintage accessories, there is always a way to use them so keep updating your stash of necklaces, chains, bangles, bracelets, buttons, ribbons, silk flowers, beads, brooches -the list is endless!

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply