Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Day I Discovered Vintage

As you can tell by my other posts I love, love, love vintage clothes, and wear them frequently.
Obviously wearing vintage is individual, you stand out from the crowd, but its more than that, isn’t it? I suppose as a cash-strapped student there are obvious benefits to buying second hand clothes, sure charity shopping is cheap but even specialist vintage boutiques sell fab items for £30 which are similar to the clobber you find in Topshop for 50.
But really, when did it become acceptable to wear, well, hand-me downs? In the 90’s we cringed at wearing something your big sister once wore, let alone your mum. I was definitely one of the people. Since the age of about 10, my mother used to haul out her 80’s leather collection every 6 months or so in the vain hope that I’d have developed not only the breasts and hips needed to wear these lurid suits, but also the taste (sorry Mum!). I mean mini-skirts and matching tops, all in real bright Italian leather, shoulder pads and all, eek! Great in the 80’s but... they had their day in the sun.
Dress - Vintage
Belt - Primark
Shoes - KG at Kurt Geiger
So when did I discover the brilliance of vintage? October half term 2002, I was 12. A sleepover at The Bestie’s house; “do you want this dress? It doesn’t fit me anymore and my mum thought you might like it, try it on.” Black, lace, mid-calf length, full skirt, fitted bodice. Perfect. We both tried it on. We giggled, we span around in the swishy skirt and took photos. I went home with it. Putting on that dress I felt like a princess, I loved dressing up like Cinderella when I was 4, nothing much had changed. I’ve walked away from Fran’s house with a few fab vintage pieces since then, like a great pair of khaki woollen trousers, part of the women’s royal air corps uniform from 1951.

Escapism; to live in another place, another time. A chance to live voraciously through your clothes. Is this why I love vintage? Probably. But it’s not the only reason. The vintage clothes you wear have stood the test of time, they’re probably well made, well cut and appreciated enough that someone thought they were worth keeping.
Now, my mother’s pink and blue leather suit 10 years ago, were awful. Today, they’re still pretty bad. But I did rescue a pair of fudge coloured trousers with tan belt which I’m going to wear to death this winter. Thanks for keeping them mum! I also have her to thank for my black leather shoulder bag, so soft and lovingly beaten up, just the way it should be.

And the best bit about vintage..? Fashion insiders know, if you want to look fashion forward tomorrow, look in to the past. Check out a back issue of Vogue from twenty years ago, that’s what everyone will be wearing this season, and if you’ve got an original... you do the math.
Have you got any well-loved vintage pieces? And when did you discover that vintage clothing could be truely marvelous?
Loves, VW x

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