what is vintage + how to start wearing it
So you've made the decision to start striking out into the world of vintage fashion. Perhaps it came from wanting to make more sustainable choices and still look like the coolest version of yourself. Perhaps it came from wanting to get out of your comfort zone with your wardrobe and start incorporating some more adventurous pieces into your rotation. Either way, we are huge fans of your decision.
You may find yourself asking yourself, "What even constitutes vintage? Where do I even start?"
Good questions! Especially when there's an entire history of the world to take into account. What is truly vintage anyway? What a vague term, right?
Let's break it down into some specific periods in history so we can get a better idea of what we're looking at. Not only will this help you better identify what kind of vintage you want, but it also is generally good terminology to have when going into specialty shops and vintage stores.
Preface to the time period definitions: vintage does not automatically mean poodle skirts and victory rolls. If that's your style, then we love it and we love you and support what you're doing 1000%. If that's not your style, then we love it and we love you and support what you're doing 1000%. While that is one part of vintage style, it does not even come close to encompassing all of the possibilities vintage clothing presents.
Another preface: these are loose definitions based on our own experiences and our own tastes. While the internet is ~ripe~ with information, these are also pretty subjective terms and we encourage you to find your own way of classifying things.
ANTIQUE: this term usually refers to garments made at least 100 years ago. At the time of publication of this blog post, that means anything made in the year 1921 and prior is considered antique. We won't get into the nuts and bolts of how to identify a truly antique piece of clothing, but if you're interested in this information then please comment below and we can happily put together a comprehensive how-to for you.
VINTAGE: this term loosely refers to garments made between approximately 1922 and 1990. These garments are decades old, sometimes many decades old, and are representative of what people wore in different eras than today. We are particularly fond of vintage denim, vintage silks, and vintage linens. For our fellow Millennials and Gen Z'ers out there - if your mom still has clothing she wore when she was in her 20s, that is now vintage. Just don't tell her!
RETRO: the definition for this word varies greatly depending on who you're talking to, but we like to use it to refer to clothing made between 1991 and 2010. In 2021, this term loosely encompasses fashion from the 90s an Y2K, some of which we love and some of which we are hesitant to see return to the mainstream (we're looking at you, super low rise jeans).
Now that we've loosely defined different decades and styles, let's get back to basics by answering one fundamental question: how do I start incorporating vintage pieces into my modern wardrobe?
We see you. We hear you. We have suggestions for you.
STARTER PIECE NO. 1: THE JEANS
This piece is both simple and challenging, primarily because vintage jeans don't stretch and come in so many different fits. What looks and feels good on one body may not be the right silhouette for another person, so we recommend lots of trial and error here. Experiment with your rise - do you prefer low, mid, or high rise jeans? Do you prefer a tapered leg, a straight leg, or a wide leg? Maybe you're still attached to your skinny jeans (which we also fully support, btw). Play around with fits and see where you feel most yourself. Additionally, don't shy away from checking out the men's sections as well - if you love the essentials, but the fit is a little off, that's where your handy dandy tailor friend can come in handy to give you a customized, one-of-a-kind fit just for your gorgeous frame. Especially when it comes to vintage denim, what they say is so true - they just don't make 'em like they used to.
STARTER PIECE NO. 2: THE GRAPHIC T-SHIRT
Another easy piece to incorporate into your wardrobe is the graphic t-shirts. Regardless of who you are, we all wear tees, and it is so easy to find some great styles that look great with pieces you already own. Vintage concert tees are especially amazing, but don't stop there - novelty tees are fun and unique, or you can go the minimalist route and track down some in solid colors. Tuck them into some trousers with a pair of clean white sneakers or wear them underneath an oversized blazer. Graphic tees are a versatile and foundational wardrobe staple that you can wear for years to come.
STARTER PIECE NO. 3: THE BLAZER
Lastly, get yourself a good quality blazer. For winter months, grab one in a gorgeous wool for an added layer of warmth and texture. Alternatively, silk blazers make a soft and subtle piece of outerwear for summer that won't leave you feeling overly warm. Especially with the polished-yet-relaxed trends circulating right now, it gives us all the perfect opportunity to freshen up the suits of decades past. If you find yourself shying away from shoulder pads, try finding unlined blazers so you can easily snip them out for a more relaxed silhouette. Alternatively, if you fall in love with a fully lined blazer but hate how structured it is, we recommend taking it into a tailor (or a loved one who knows how to sew) to quickly open the lining, remove the shoulder pads, and stitch everything up again.
In summary, we're huge fans of vintage and we love that you want to start exploring it, too. Getting started with anything can feel daunting, especially when there is so much to choose between, so we wanted to provide you with a few easy takeaways for the next time you go shopping. Especially from the 1970s-1990s, so many incredible pieces were made that many modern labels are replicating today. Shopping vintage is a fantastic way to stay on trend, feel good in your clothing, and make a positive impact on both the economy and small businesses. God speed!