To vintage or not to vintage? That is the question. If you’re having trouble picking a side, let me ease your struggles and persuade you to go vintage…
There are two types of people: people who like second-hand shopping and those who despise the thought. For some, it’s a magical kind of treasure hunt where you could search for hours upon hours and never get bored, as long as there’s a 50p steal at the end of it.
For others, however, it’s a simple straight answer of “no” without even being able to reason with them how much cheaper, and more unique and quirky second-hand shopping is. If you’re reading this and believe you belong in the “no” tribe, then bear with me and let me try to reverse your thinking.
I, myself, was once a member of the “no” category, yet now I can say a good quarter of my wardrobe is second-hand or vintage. Of course, I had the typical and mainstream conclusion of “it smells” and “someone could have died in those clothes” (FYI: very very unlikely), and these stupid thoughts held me back from even speaking of vintage.
Skip to present day and I’m an eager visitor of vintage shops such as Pop Boutique on Liverpool Bold Street, and other independent and charitable shops.
As well as having a paid job, I make sure I volunteer for a local charity shop once a week which I’ve been doing for the past 3 years now, so my wardrobe pretty much welcomes a new member each week from going to work there.
Through designing the charity shop window each week, my eyes are very quickly opened to how – with the correct colour scheme and accompanying accessories – vintage and second-hand clothing can look like a normal shop window – if not better.
Only when you experience vintage can you truly appreciate it. My first visit to Pop Boutique opened my eyes to a whole new world I never knew existed in the back streets of Liverpool.
The creek of the old floorboards and the miss match of contrasting décor added to the whole atmosphere of experiencing such a unique and rustic place. The way the clothes were all hung so delicately around made me practically scared to touch the ancient wool in case I’d somehow burnt a hole through it with my fingers. Only then do you suddenly realise how amazing vintage really is; you’re petrified to touch it or even breathe on it.
The April 2015 issue of Vogue included a special feature on the sudden rise and allure of vintage shopping. The spread included the go to vintage caves where you can find all kinds of different pieces to suit whatever your needs. For London, top stores included Found & Vision and Blackout II, along with the most popular and charitable Oxfam.
Although you’d assume vintage is more of a casual and individual style which people adapt to their personality, some ladies often opt for a vintage wedding gown over a new one. Halfpenny London is exactly where you’ll need to be heading if this is what you want on your special day.
You might judge that a vintage wedding dress already has memories of someone else’s big day, so you’d presumably want to pick a gown completely new to own a memory all of its own. Yet adding memories to an older gown can be just as romantic, and is becoming more popular amongst young women.
Head on overseas and Paris, the fashion capital, embraces vintage just as much as we do. Gabrielle Geppert is a must for spying the perfect vintage tote bag, along with being blown over by an all-modern glossy interior to make the vintage products look practically brand new.
Let’s not forget, we’re in the year 2015 and that means internet, internet, internet. Just because you’re shopping vintage doesn’t mean you always have to go on a scavenging hunt down the back street shops.
ASOS Marketplace is a great example of where to buy vintage online. Not only does it source inexpensive vintage clothing but it also lets you search endlessly from the comfort of your own home. If you’re a mobile guru, then Depop allows you to sell second-hand clothes and has various profiles dedicated to selling vintage clothing. Believe you me, I’ve made a fair share of profits from that app – it’s definitely worth the try. Just don’t the person who puts £5 postage on a vest top, please.
The queen of vintage at the moment has to be Dawn O’Porter. With the crown (vintage, of course) on her head, she’s managed to launch her own vintage-inspired clothing range called BOB, named after the popular 1960s hairstyle. What’s significant about this clothing range is that it’s not actually second hand; they’re brand new garments inspired by the different vintage items Dawn holds in her jam-packed vintage wardrobe.
So those who still fear vintage and quake in your off-the-peg boots need fear no longer; options are available for you so you can at least look vintage, even though you just can’t bring yourself to buy it.
“This Old Thing” – a show made and presented by Dawn – describes, absorbs and investigates the whole plethora of vintage and second-hand shopping. Not only does she show you the best classic gems out there and tries to persuade virgin vintage shoppers to go second-hand (a bit like me to you right now), but she also adapts garments.
Vintage items can be altered and embroidered to add a little of your own individual style or to modify them to current trends. So, whether you choose to cut, sew or rip, make sure you check out “This Old Thing” on 40D to give you some hints and tips, or follow Dawn on Instagram.
For the moment, the 1970s seems to be a trend that’s taken over the summer. Why not go a step further and actually buy something that was worn in the 70s? You can’t go wrong with a kaftan inspired by the 70s, but you’ll be better off with one ACTUALLY from the 70s. This might be a step too far for some, but for others it’s a step in the right direction to being the most individual girl on the street.
Vintage clothes are treasured memories from a whole different era – maybe even from before you were born. By purchasing a vintage item, you are embracing the different memories and emotions that it has gone through. From bad days to good days, it has probably been through more than you have already.
I hope to see you peering through Pop Boutique’s window very soon and hopefully, if you’re brave enough, touching that old door handle and opening the door to a world you’ll regret you didn’t discover sooner.
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