Monday, 26 November 2012

Using Vintage to your Advantage

Clear your minds and repeat after me. Just because it's old, doesn't mean it's vintage!

Vintage is an overused word that can be applied to a large bulk of clothing. There is fabulous vintage haute couture for example available from the likes of William Vintage ( in London's Marylebone where you will pay thousands for the rarest of past designer pieces. However vintage also applies to mass available fashion, for example Beyond Retro ( the vintage retail chain that sells cheap and cheerful vintage from the 20th century. 

Now don't get me wrong I love a pair of dungarees or "granny knit" jumper as much as the next fashionista but one must be careful not to be drowned in the mire of mass vintage availability. Every which way you look there is another vintage store each claiming to be the real deal. And if you believe that they are, you probably also think Cher hasn't had any plastic surgery. (Sorry, the gay references just seep out of me, I can't control it). However, there is a lot of great vintage out there and I think some clarity must be made. 

Just because it is from the 90's or prior does not mean you can wear it with just cause. Just like the millions of different items of clothing produced today, there was a lot of shit produced in those decades as well. Below are my 4 guidelines for buying and wearing vintage. That's only 4 simple rules! Memorise them, like a pin number!

  1. Check for damage. Vintage clothes are old that much is obvious, but that shouldn't mean you are buying garments with holes in or broken seams. Damaged Vintage will just make you look like a tramp and that is never good, so stop it!
  2. Haggle! This is not going to be possible if buying vintage couture (but to be brutally honest that will probably not apply to you) however with your standard vintage store which is essentially a glorified, fashionably edited charity shop go right ahead. My tip is to ask for the best "cash price" (a little tip from my papa there!) you should in general be able to get 10% off. 
  3. Don't wear head to toe vintage, now this rule does not so much apply if you are privileged enough to be wearing a vintage Balenciaga gown or Dior suit. But wear vintage from the 90's all over and you run the risk of looking, well, from the 90's. It is not the 90's and you are not at a halloween party so it is not appropriate. Use vintage as a statement piece and blend with modern day pieces. Put a vintage knit with simple jeans to look effortlessly stylish. 
  4. Wear it with purpose and confidence or don't bother buying it. Vintage is meant to be a bit different from the norm, so wear it with pride. You have been daring so be a trendsetter not a follower. If you are going to recoil when people stare at your chunky knit unicorn intarsia cardigan, then stick to something more simple ok dear? 

This is my latest vintage purchase which I adore! It was from ROKIT Vintage in Brick Lane, they have two other stores in Camden and Covent Garden as well as online at, and it came in at a tidy £36. I told them I was a student, which is all lies so sue me, and got 10% off (see Rule 2 working to excellent effect). The beading is intricate but very sturdy, I am not constantly in panic that a slight knock will send the embellishment cascading over the floor. I do recommend ROKIT Vintage very highly, the staff are attentive and the selection is of great quality. 
Whilst I look amazing, I would like to use this space to dedicate my memories to
Penny my Penguin iPhone case who was stolen from me last week! I am still mourning!  

It is a statement top that I wear with plain jeans and boots. Rules applied, job done!

Follow my rules and you'll be just dandy.