What is vintage? Is it something really old with a history about it? Is it something you found when you raided your gran's wardrobe? Or one of your mum's hand me downs from the 1980s?
The answer is that vintage can be anything you want it to be. From a musky smelling coat you find at a thrift shop to couture pieces that have been preserved for decades.
In my own opinion vintage is anything that is old and beautiful. With a lot of vintage shops and fairs popping up here, there and everywhere there is somewhat a revival coming about, and I think everybody should give vintage a go.
People had so much style and pizzazz in what I like to call the decades of delight; from the roaring 20s to the swinging 60s people dressed with style and elegance and were always turned out so well. That's not to say people of today's society do not dress in the same way, but there was somewhat a magic about the eras and I like to try and bring a sense of that magic back with my wardrobe.
People often have misconceptions about vintage clothes, thinking they are dirty or unpleasant because they have been worn before. Sometimes you will pick up piece of clothing and it will have that musky old smell to it, which personally I love, but a couple of washes and that will be gone and the clothes like brand new!
However, most of the time vintage clothes are in amazing condition because people took such good care of their clothes decades ago. They often made their own clothes too, and so the quality of the garments is just impeccable.
I really do think vintage can work for anyone, men or women, young or old. The fashion is just timless and there really is something for everyone. Personally I think vintage fashion is the best kind of fashion and here are my five reason why:
1. Vintage is so cheap! Just the other week I bought a handbag, a jumper and a pair of gloves for £35. Where else can you go to get fabulous quality items at that price?
A lot of the time vintage clothing is priced in such a way that it is really affordable, and being a student that is great for me. If you like to splash out more though that is still an option. Shops that stock pieces from the 1920s often price them a little higher as they are so rare and beautiful. And if it is designer clothes you like there is plenty designer vintage to go round. Liberty of London houses a shop in which pieces start at around £500. But on the whole vintage is a treasure trove for bargains and you can often find the most beautiful item for a beautiful price.
2. Vintage is totally unique to you. When you wear a vintage outfit you can think 'no one else owns an outfit like this'; there is usually only one of every vintage item so once it is yours nobody else can own the same thing. You never have to worry that you are going to show up in the same outfit as someone else when you're wearing vintage and it gives you the freedom to be completely indvidual. Your wardrobe is never short of different patterns or colours and it really allows you to stand out from the crowd but still look incredibly stylish.
3. The quality of vintage clothing is usually amazing. The clothes have been so well kept and the quality of the design, the material and the actual creating of the dress is undeniably wonderful. The notion that old clothes may be tatty and worn is a rather misconstrude view. You will hardly ever find rips or stains on the clothes and they will mostly likely out live most of your high street pieces. You will often have to hand wash the garments as they can be quite delicate but the quality never ceases to amaze me. I often also find pieces I like that are too big for me but it is never a problem. If you can find someone who can alter the clothes for you at a reasonable price all your vintage bargains will fit you like a glove.
4. Every time you buy a piece of vintage you are in a way buying a piece of histroy. If you are lucky the seller will know where the clothes have come from and who the previous owners are. After three years of wearing vintage I have unfortunately still not experienced this but my younger sister bought a vintage dress and got a lovely story to go with it. She bought a goregous 1960s summer dress from a lovely little vintage boutique where the owner told her how the dress had been made for a young girl in 1961. She had had it made specially for her 21st birthday, which she was celebrating in London with friends. It turned out the shop owner had a number of pieces from the same lady and so with each piece came a piece of histroy. I do have a 1950s dress which I know was shipped from America. Knowing someone has worn that dress in another lifetime, in a different era, is just so magical.
5. The final reason for vintage fashion being the best kind of fashion is that it is all just so beautiful. Some eras outshine others for their particular beauty and elegance, but all vintage fashion looks good on someone. The 70s introduced some wackier pieces with platform shoes and flared trousers being all the rage, but the 50s with dainty tea dresses and the 60s with patterned mini skirts and fitted shift dresses were truly beautiful. They had an air of elegance and magic about them, along with all the decades prior to the 50s.
Whatever the decade - for me even the 70s and 80s - all vintage clothing is beautiful. It carries a history and has a timeless feel to it that can never be lost.
So wherever you are and whatever your style, when you're next out in a city hunt out a local vintage shop and have a browse. You may fall in love with a dress, which I have done countless times, or you may find that perfect item you were looking for. But what is guaranteed is that you will find a bargain, you will find something beautiful and there will be something for everyone - male or female, young or old.
Credit Bethany Heys