Hello Vintage Indie readers! Gabriel kindly to ask me to contribute a couple guest posts about my favorite topic: vintage fashion. Growing up I was surrounded by old things; my mother had a love for antique furniture and clothing, and my grandparents were antiques dealers. While vintage clothing wasn’t the main emphasis for anyone, the appreciation I gained for older textiles and clothing began early. Although I still don’t consider myself a formal “Vintage Clothing Collector”, I have spent a bit of time working on my small “stash” of pieces and refining my eye for a good find. I get many emails asking me “where do I begin?”; hopefully I can shed a little light on the matter!
Vintage clothing is magical; it not only evokes the look and feel of a certain era, but many times pieces feature textiles, patterns and embellishments that you are hard pressed to find on modern clothes. Many garments were also well made and have stood the test of time, making vintage a good investment on pricey and special occasion items. But this wonderful and tantalizing world of past fashion can also be extremely overwhelming--there are so many styles to choose from! Determining what era or style you want to focus your collecting on can be a big help. It can be broad in terms of buying mostly pieces from the 1930s, or mid-century day dresses (which can mean anything from the 40s through mid 60s), or maybe pieces created by a certain designer or brand that span several decades. Or perhaps you’d like to be a bit more narrow, collecting pieces that were only made during the early 1940s, or dresses of a certain color (that would be fun!), or Victorian undergarments. Don’t forget the exciting world of accessories either: hats, costume jewelry, handbags, shoes, scarves--it’s and endless array of colorful temptations!
So where do you start? Ebay is an obvious choice; the vintage categories are a treasure trove of expensive museum-quality pieces as well as hidden gems that can be had for a song. It’s one of those marketplaces that requires a willingness to spend time looking and waiting for the right piece, as well as setting a budget so you don’t get caught up in a bidding frenzy! Etsy is my second favorite spot; even though it’s original purpose was for handmade items, vintage has become a large category. It takes a bit of digging, but you can find gorgeous, curated shops that offer some beautiful pieces with a bit of search-keyword know how! (Plus groups like the Etsy Vintage Team help locate shops.)
Another up-and-coming vintage clothing site is Market Publique, which is a sort of cross between Ebay (auction) and Etsy (instant purchases), and is definitely worth a look!
Other online groups and professional organizations is another place to start your search for online dealers who may not be on Ebay or Etsy, but have independent online stores. The Vintage Fashion Guild has been around since 2002 and had a large variety of members who focus on many different eras and types of vintage.
Want to shop brick and mortar shops? I have found that doing a simple Google search with my town or zipcode can turn up hidden treasures I had no idea existed! Part of the fun of vintage is trying it on and seeing it in person; I have spent many an afternoon going through the racks at my favorite vintage shops. Also make friends with your local shop owners; let them know what sort of pieces you’re looking for. They may be able to keep their eyes open for your specific search when they get new inventory, or even have something in the back room!
Don’t neglect other sources for vintage that may require a bit more footwork for you: thrift shops and flea markets are plentiful. While the competition at these spots has increased over the years as interest in vintage has gained, diligent searching can sometimes yield amazing finds. Again, a Google search or a stop by Thrift Finder (one of my favorites!) can help you locate stores in your town. Craigslist is another great spot to find both vintage clothing for sale, as well as potential vintage hot-spots like church rummage sales and estate sales. Just remember though that many of these items will need to be cleaned (either professionally or by you; just be sure to research what is appropriate for the garment and fabric!) and possibly mended.
Vintage clothing and accessories can be a fantastic way to enrich your wardrobe. Whether you tend towards 100% authenticity in recreating the look of an era, or just want to add a fun hat into your modern wardrobe. It’s worth a look!
What are some of your favorite vintage sources online? Please share in the comments below!
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Casey is an ardent vintage lover, spends her free time sewing and knitting (usually vintage patterns), cooking and spending time with her husband and rascally rabbit. She blogs from sunny Florida about her interests and pursuits at Elegant Musings.