The Hunt: Vintage
I can’t count the amount of times I have fallen in love with something someone is wearing, only for them to say two words that make me want to cry... It's vintage! because I know what that means. It's a one of a kind. A unicorn. That’s what makes these pieces so unique, they aren’t in every store.
I know some people don't understand buying a vintage piece. I get it, it's old and sometimes op-shops smell funny. But vintage pieces are extremely well made, are of a quality fabric and exude a sense of history. For me a real vintage piece tells a story of a time and place that was so different to ours. They speak not only of what the fashion was at that time, but they are reflections of what was happening socially. Some of these pieces were part of major global movements in history and I love owning a piece of that. Then getting to continue the garments journey before passing it onto another generation is something to be treasured.
When I talk about vintage pieces I am referring to more unique pieces that are usually found only in a vintage store/site that knows its worth, but you can find vintage pieces in op-shops if you're lucky. The down side to shopping at op-shops can be that it can take up some serious time. You have to have a keen eye and have nowhere else to be. Despite that, if you do stick it out, then I guarantee most of the time you'll find a gem! And don't discount the humble op-shop as you can find every day items that are just as much of a bargain.
Now if you go to a vintage store than you will pay a higher price, because they either know the value of what they have, or that people will pay that price cause its in a "vintage" shop. So if you are a newby take some time to read my rules for buying vintage below or take someone with you who knows what to look for.
My favourite place to shop vintage is Etsy. You can shop not only Australian sellers but sellers worldwide. This opens up so much more opportunity to grab a piece not only on the cheaper side, but an item designed for a different market to ours. Think pieces designed in the UK or USA in the 70's. The places that gave us true bohemian and disco. With Etsy you can also see other items similar to the one you're looking at and can then gauge wether the price is on point..
While you will always find a bargain on more every day pieces you will again pay a higher price for "vintage" pieces. Be that as it may, when you look closely at the craftsmanship, condition and fabric you can understand the price tag. They are really a one of kind statement piece and are usually made from a high quality silk, leather, sequin, organza or cashmere.
Vintage pieces are investment pieces. They become a generational garment or an heirloom. Trust me when I say that investing in vintage is definitely something you should do if you're into unique, one of a kind pieces.
I have put together a "How To" guide on what to look for when buying vintage. What to look for, what to ask sellers and ways to make the garment your own. I also put together a "Shop" section with some great finds I came across on Etsy. Happy shopping!
Love Mel xo
How To Shop Vintage
1. Check measurements- sizes are very different now and the only way to make sure it will fit is to check the measurements. Be sure to read how they are measured as most sellers online lie the garment flat. This means you will need to double the measurement.
2. Check the fabric/condition- Make sure all seams are intact, there aren't any holes or rips, pulls or stains. If the garment has stains its most likely they aren't going anywhere. Don't forget though, you can cover a stain (brooch or scarf) or cut if off depending on where it is on the garment.
Note: If you are buying off Etsy they will usually have any faults in the description but don't be afraid to ask for more photos.
4. Smell - Polyester (used in the 60's and 70's) retains odor a little too well so be cautious - again you can ask the seller if buying online. The mothball odor can generally be removed by adding some dryer sheets and giving the garment a few tumbles. Check if the cleaning conditions before doing so. Or you can place it in a plastic bag with scented cotton balls (make sure they don't touch the garment as it could cause stains).
5. Alter it - This one for me is a biggie! If you are a sewer it makes things easier, if not just take your garment to an alterations place. Taking up hems isn't expensive or changing over a faulty zip. You can also have sleeves removed or shortened or even have the waist taken in. If you love a sequin top but would never wear it like that cut it down the front and turn it into a jacket. I've also altered the neckline of a dress to make it more flattering. Don't be afraid to take a risk and make the piece your own.
6. Know your era's - different decades in fashion used different materials etc. So do your homework. There are plenty of online sites that will let you know what to look for. If you are going to be spending big then do your research so you know you're not being ripped off.
7. Storage - Do not store your garments in plastic garment bags. They cannot breathe properly and it will cause the garment to deteriorate or even become moldy. If you buy a knitted piece I do recommend folding them. Placing them on a hanger will stretch the garment.
Read more: http://circavintageclothing.com.au/2014/12/24/vintage-fashion-for-beginners-part-one-fabrics/