Sunday, February 8, 2009

Vintage Dives for Modern Looks

photo by Nick Krug

To achieve a truly unique, individual, modern dressing style, shopping vintage is vital. Vintage pieces easily mix-and-match with ubiquitous department-store clothing, and integrating funky, rare items into an everyday wardrobe makes building your own, personal ‘look’ simple and fun. Perhaps you have a scarf fetish, or love costume jewelry. Looking in second-hand shops and antique malls for items that fit your personal flair can become a life-long hunt: pick up a pair of earrings while you’re abroad; bargain for a belt-buckle reflecting your totem-animal at a garage sale. Shopping vintage provides great selection—trends that span generations provide so many diverse items for you to peruse. You will have so much more fun dressing each day if your clothing reminds you of a great Saturday morning or an impromptu weekday vacation. No price can be placed on a slightly worn, much loved blouse with a history-to-boot.

Get Started:
Ask around town and chat with your fashionable friends—uncover the whereabouts of their favorite local thrift stores. There are surely a few used clothing stores and hidden hot-spots that even evade the finest Pack Rats and Early Callers. Keep track of their hours—which are often quirky times—get to know the employees, and discover when new merchandise turns over. Don’t be discouraged if your first visit is unyielding—remember that the turnover in second-hand stores is large and next time you’re sure to find that ‘one man’s trash…’

Easy pieces of Fashionable Flair:
If you are wary about purchasing clothing from a different generation, start small. Scour the shelves for accessories. You won’t regret purchasing a zip-lock full of earrings for a quarter. Plus, jewelry is more timeless and trend-proof than apparel. Also, look at purses and bags for unique shaped clutches and colorful carry-alls unavailable to the masses at department stores. A fun, vintage purse is an easy way to stand out, especially in the winter when we spend so much time bundled, avoiding the frigid wind.

Size Doesn’t Matter:
One last tip—don’t reject a great pantsuit or retro dress merely because its size is out of your league. The fashion world has never quite got a grip on the whole size-thing—1, 3, 5 in low-end department stores, waist measurements by the inch in boutiques, European sizes next to American sizes in popular chain stores like Top-Shop, Unisex sizing for generic, everyday, favorites (American Apparel)—you name it. Designers all have unique methods for sizing their pieces, but trust me—gage your size by a bathroom scale, not from the barely visible stitched-in size fading away in your best-fitting, true-blue, always faithful, great-butt, 10 year-old Levis.

Trends from Then In Style Now:
-look for angular 80s clothing, broad shouldered shirts, ruffled hemlines, floral prints, bright neon and soft pastel hues
-try out high-waist 60s/70’s style jeans and short shorts, pedal-pushers, and denim rompers
-find hats and belts with bows, studded jackets, and graphic, geometric-patterned sweaters
-keep the latest of trends in mind, verified during New York Fashion Week: defined waistlines, unique blazers, voluminous tops, pantsuits, bold monochromatic two-piece outfits, funky patterned dresses, harem pants

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