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Vintage Shopping 101

Posted: Dec 18 2014

Shopping for vintage clothing requires a slight change of attitude from "off the rack shopping" to be a savvy buyer. These are special pieces with a past and should be thought of as collectible, unique and one-of-a-kind.
Here's a "101" list of tips to keep in mind:
 
Shopping at flea markets or vintage/antique malls, wear clothes that make it easy to try things on without a dressing room...
  • Women: Wear dresses and leggings so you can pop a cool pair of vintage Levi's on to check the fit.
  • Men: Hold the waistband at the sides and wrap it around your neck. If the side seams meet in the back of your neck - it should fit around your waist. Try it - it works!
  • Look for stains - Maybe a paint splatter makes adds unique touch but underarm yellowing is very hard to remove.
  • Check for fading - A worn in look can be an added feature but look over shoulders and prints for sun damage and discoloration that looks damaged rather than cool.
Shopping on the web read discriptions carefully. Sellers know to list important facts and most vintage is final sale.
  • Compare the measurements to something you own. 
  • Make measurements with dressmakers tape not a ruler. 
  • A high waisted pant will have a long rise and smaller waist so be sure tomeasure the correct area of your body and compare the measurements to a similar item in your closet. 
  • Consider the fabric and how it will move or shape to your body. An elastic waist or fuller cut can fit many sizes.
Remember that fit ideals change over time - it's a great idea to know what time periods fit your frame best.
  • 1920's - Flapper shape with small bust and dropped waisted dresses. 
  • 1930's - Bias cut to drape the figure for evening and structured day wear. 
  • 1940's - War Time clothing restrictions created simple, less adorned fashion. 
  • 1950's - Women wore undergarments to accentuate a tiny waist and hourglass shape.
  • 1960's - A- line dresses and mini skirts to highlight the bodies natural shape. 
  • 1970's - Body conscious cuts for men and women. Bellbottoms and high waist lines.
  • Making a few alterations might be needed to make a great fit - this is a vintage item and very unique, not something you will likely come across again. 
  • Think outside the box! How are you going to wear the piece? Adding a belt to a sack dress updates the silhouette...A vintage top with your favorite jeans and shoes can be an amazing modern look.

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