I for one am not your usual ‘vintage queen’. I envy people who strut around pulling off shabby chic second hand clothes, looking as cool as vintage style icons like Alexa Chung. However, in a bid to try and own more ‘treasured possessions’ that have a little bit of history and self love to them, I’m making more of an effort to become a thriftier vintage shopper.
For someone who is genuinely used to drifting in and out of High Street and independent shops, picking up brand new items reflecting the newest trends, it will certainly be a new learning curve to my shopping traits. The photos of me above show my most current vintage posessions, which go as far as a faded denim shirt and a black and white spotty neck scarf. My collection is shameful, so it’s time to up my game! After researching vintage style icons, second hand shopping markets, quirky stalls and vintage stores, I have come up with a few tips on ‘The Dos and Don’t For Being Vintage” to help me stay on track. Hopefully you will find the pointers useful too…
1. Don’t go head to toe in Vintage
Cute fluffy faux fur coats can look absolutely fabulous, but if you hit the streets in sixties overkill-esque dress, coat, hair and heels, people might think you’re in costume for Halloween. Chose a key vintage item and make this the focal point. It’s fine to team a faux fur coat with a brand new style of Topshop skinny jeans for example….
2. Do dress around one dramatic piece
A similar take to point number one. Take one head-turning vintage find—in this case, a glamorous faux-leopard jumper—and use simple black clothes and accessories to make it wearable and a lot more low-key.
3. Don’t be fooled by a ‘drab dress’
Most vintage virgins would skip right over a shapeless cotton dress with flimsy little rosette buttons and a material belt. But imagine what you could pair it with once it’s on? The right pair of heels, shoulder back and general styling can make an old drab dress look catwalk inspired.
4. Don’t wear anything too dated
So yes, vintage may be about digging out and re-living those fashions from previous eras, but remember that Disco hits from the ’70s will always be classics, but the dancing-queen dresses only look good for fancy dress. Shoulder pads and a plunging neckline are best kept for Saturday Night Fever parties. Instead, opt for loose blouses that ladies often wore back then, or take a little bit of 70’s pattern and incorporate it onto a neck scarf or hair band.
5. Don’t be afraid of the frumpy stuff
Vintage stores never smell good, and at first glance, rarely look too great either. But pinch your nose and give the old-lady section a good ten minutes of your time. Some of those tweedy jackets are High Street gold at present, and those pleated ankle skimming skirts are being paired with fitted vest tops all over the show. Just make sure you don’t go granny-look overboard.
I came across quite a cool option for how men could rock the vintage look too, which was inspired by vintage brand Rokit. They retail a rather unique selection of military surplus which could look quite cool, especially if they want to avoid the whole ‘The Fonz’ retro look and opt for something a little more masculine. They also have a dedicated recycled clothing page on their site, which is another quirky option to look at when vintage shopping.
A lot of successful vintage stores and retailers started out by just selling their collections of treasured finds at market stalls, like the Camden based brand Rokit. With the nation’s love to re-working old trends and wearing unique items not available anywhere else, the brand has grown massively, who now boast a strong online presence and are opening a number of stores in London. It just goes to show how the vintage world is booming, with people’s desire to wear clothes no one else has and to be able to independently style up old finds. I find something really creative about pulling off vintage clothes. It takes a good eye for styling, and if you get it right, you really get it right.
So who else is with me in making an attempt to be a little more vintage?