There has never been a better time to be looking at vintage clothing than now. Today, many vintage stores around the world are thriving thanks to a highly global market who are in-the-know for original pieces that speak to the art of timelessness, and the beauty of well worn in clothing. Yes, you could say that wearing vintage clothing has always been a ‘thing’ but today we are seeing a much more specialised form of shopping for it.
Our kind of folk are hungry for garments that were made well enough to last the sands of time; garments that have their own unique story to tell in their wear and tear. There is a new meaning to the idea of ‘luxury’ today and we are all on the hunt for a wardrobe that isn’t a carbon copy of the woman in line before you waiting for her morning coffee. To be unique, and to wear something that no-one else owns, has become the most luxurious commodity.
Above / Ebbets Field Flannels hat / ‘Ugly, Mean, and Nasty’ tee / Levis / Madewell leather bag /
Below / Rag and Bone hat / Vietnam war era rain camo army shirt / Yarn dyed Japanese silk in tropical print / antique African bone necklace / WW2 Italian military tee / Nameless drawstring pants / hand crocheted slippers from Nepal /
So to kick any freshwoman off to her debut vintage shop, I have some very important advice. You can treat them like the five commandments of vintage shopping.
1. Patience is key.
The more vintage shopping you do, the more likely you are to find those gems that really ring true to your unique style. Don’t limit yourself to vintage stores, sometimes the best finds are at markets, garage sales, and charity shops.
2. Your hands are your second eyes.
When you’re looking for that really special piece that is worth its weight in gold, it is usually made with a beautiful fabric, and made to last. Pick garments up, see how they feel, and look for clues about where it came from.
3. Look it up.
We all have smartphones today and this is a great tool for the new vintage shopper. Who knows, maybe you have an extremely rare piece in your hands – so try to search for any labelling or information on the garment that will give you a clue about where it came from.
4. Less is more.
Sometimes you will have to picture an object or garment out of its dusty, cluttered context. Maybe that 60’s chrome lamp will look amazing in a very clean space? Or maybe that military shirt would sit just right on bare shoulders with your favourite jeans?
5. A little care will go a long way.
Don’t let a little dust put you off an incredible piece, remember that some TLC can transform a piece back to life. For leather goods, give them a good rub of coconut oil with a cleaning cloth to replenish it with moisture.
At the end of the day, a well made things were made to last forever, so that vintage leather handbag or perfectly worn in pair of jeans might end up being your go-to staples that come with you everywhere. The most important thing to be mindful of when vintage shopping is to never judge a book by its cover. Some things I get the most complements on are vintage pieces that I will pass down to someone else one day. Making smart wardrobe investments into well made things is the best style advice I could give anyone.
/ Written and photographed by Lauren for Vogue Australia /