Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 by shoshanalibrarian
I may only have six pairs of shoes, but I have my own fashion addiction: vintage clothes. I first discovered this when I was sixteen, and trying to find a dress for the junior prom. Having an hourglass figure at a time when Kate Moss was the ideal meant I either looked skanky or frumpy in the fashions of the time. I happened to walk into a vintage shop one day, and my life changed. Here were racks of dresses that no one else would have, made at a time when Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield were the paragons of female beauty. I've been spending too much money on vintage fashion ever since.
A lot of people ask me where I buy my clothes, and want to know how they can get started wearing vintage. I would start off in an actual shop, where you can try things on and figure out which styles work best for your body type. For example, I tend to look best in "New Look" fashions of the late 40s through the early 60s. If you're more Twiggy than Marilyn, then the mid- to late 60s will be most flattering. Once you have a feel for what you like and what you look good in, you are ready for the exciting world of online vintage shopping. Ebay is a great place to start; the bidding format means that sometimes you can get a really great deal. Etsy also has some great vintage sellers. The most important thing to know when shopping online is your measurements: bust, waist, and hips. Since you can't try anything on, and vintage sizing is so different from contemporary sizing, this is really the only way to know if something will fit. Pay close attention to photos and descriptions to see if there are any flaws such as stains or tears. If you're handy with a needle, you can fix tears or adjust the fit as needed. If not, try to find a seamstress or tailor with experience with vintage fabrics. Remember, vintage means old, so modern washing machines may be too much for aging fabric. Dry cleaning is usually your best option.
For more information on vintage style, check out these awesome books from the library!