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Kate Hudson wore it on the red carpet. Ariana Grande has, too. Rihanna has been spotted in it for years. It’s become a trend of sorts, but one that comes with lots of assumptions, tons of misdirection, and no small measure of disdain. And to do it is one thing—but to do it well is another. What exactly is it? Vintage fashion, of course!
Vintage fashion harkens back to an age where design was an art, and fashion was a doctrine all its own. True Vintage—clothing pieces that are often older than forty years—often incorporate these ideas in their lining, their stitching, and overall production. Vintage can instill fear in the hearts of the most daring fashionistas (who probably recall visions of their grandmothers’ voluminous and hardly fashionable night dresses). With the right tools, it can become the best ally in your wardrobe arsenal. With a single piece, you can transform a look from ho-hum to jaw dropping. But before wading into the deep end, take a breather and look at these basics.
1. Know your body type.
Are you a pear, hourglass, or rectangle? All bodies were created equal, but they are in no way the same. Knowing your body shape goes a long way towards helping you find the pieces that flatter your figure.
2. Find the era that inspires you.
Vintage runs the gamut, from the Victorian era to the Roaring ’20s to the beatnik styles of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Finding the era that inspires and captivates you will help you find a style that is comfortable and expresses your uniqueness.
3. Know your measurements.
True vintage pieces are a bit different from today’s sizes, and finding the right fit often requires more than just a sizing chart. Taking a trip to your local tailor to find your exact measurements will be especially helpful in finding great vintage deals online.
4. Know your fabrics.
Vintage pieces are made from many materials not currently in high circulation. Certain eras are partial to certain fabrics, including cotton blends, wool, and polyester. If you like the way cashmere drapes, but hate the way polyester feels, knowing your fabrics can enhance your style and add pieces to wardrobe that won’t sit in your closet and never be worn.
5. Mix and Match.
Don’t be afraid to pair that Kate Spade bag with a pair of vintage peep toes, or a classic pair of Versace shades with a pashmina scarf. Fashion is all about expression and drama, and nothing makes a bolder statement about your fashion prowess than vintage mixed with a bit of modern.
6. Vintage clothing care is essential, not an option.
Vintage pieces have been subject to the ravages of time and are extremely delicate. Don’t try throwing your vintage 20’s dress for a tumble in the dryer or for a swing in the washing machine on hot. At worst, you’ll destroy the fabric, at best it will break down the fibers and the piece won’t last as long. Vintage clothing is an investment. Proper dry cleaning, hanging with soft cloth or plastic hangers, and setting them in a cool, dry environment will preserve your clothing for years to come.
Vintage pieces guarantee that you will most likely be the only woman (or man) in the room wearing a certain design. You can showcase your unique sense of style and express yourself in your own way.
That’s it for now, dahlings! Now go forth and be fashionable.