Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Vintage Shopping - How to Get it Right!

I have a lot of people say to me...

I love what you are wearing I wish I could get away with it.

So...after a dismiss the notion that the comment could be a dig I thank them.

I shop vintage often and watch people struggle with the entire concept of the vintage shopping experience so I thought I would offer some guidelines.
My top ten hints for getting it right! 
1: It must call you!
You have to be drawn to it either by the colour texture or fabric.  
2: Will it fit? 
This is of most importance and I would say you can almost totally ignore size labels. All of the size standards have changed for both local and international manufacturing.

For instance I am roughly an Australian size 10 sometimes a size 8 fit in the current sizing standard but have found that with older garments a size 14 will just fit. Vintage UK sizing are usually pretty correct and are often gauged by the bust size so I can buy a vintage pattern or garment in a size 32" or 34" and it will fit. Waist for UK sizes are usually pretty accurate but are often are tailored with corsetry in mind so depending on the era the garments may have tiny waists and womanly hips within the design. On this point you can check seam allowances to allow for alterations. Measure your self before you go, write it down if need be.

3: DO NOT damage the garment.  
This garment has survived, if it doesn't fit don't force it. Be gentle ask for assistance if necessary. Don't ruin the garment for the next person.

4: Allow a lot more time for the shopping experience. 
We are not talking off the rack these are rare items, take your time you will find your fit.

5: Do not butcher the fit! 
If it is a beautiful A line 60's frock don't think it will transform into a fitted dress well. The entire pattern construction is engineered for it to fit a certain way - some tweaks are very do able but silhouette is usually much harder to redefine...sometimes it is better not to try it will only look wrong.
I took this in just under the arms at the side seams and complied with the original design lines as the garment was intended.

The alterations are invisible - see the side seam and the accesories teamed
with the dress are sympathetic to the era.
6: Many vintage garments are home made by individuals - like back in the day. 
Watch for height issues. I just had the experience of finding an ideal shirt that I almost purchased without trying on. When I did pop it on I found the darts were way to high and this threw the entire look out of whack - an awkward fit makes the entire vintage thing look wrong. The garment was made for a very short person and on me the fit was not at all convincing. It has to look like YOU own it.

7: Is it too costumey? 
I often find that I love the loudest most ridiculous items they attract me - see my first point above. 

Clearly I am too busy talking here but what I am trying to say is this original late 60's early 70's Maxi looked far too costume before I shortened the hemline - any shorter however and it would revert to costume again.

8: Re think it! 
Okay what if it is too costumey but you must have it? Play everything else down while you wear it. Tone down the shoes and other items while being sympathetic to the look. See above.

9: Ask the shop assistant / store owner for assistance. 
They are working in the niche because they love it and a passionate person will be more than happy to help out.

10: Launder it well - you have worked hard to own your gem now take care of it. 
Mend where and when required, pop some new buttons on if you need to. Take your belts and bags to be cared for by experts, jackets can be relined, repaired and renewed by dry cleaning care.

*More tips soon on where to find the best items very soon so you might want to subscribe - thine garments be kind.


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Bridget said...

Awesome article problem is EVERYTHING sings to me - haha!!! :)