Do you adore the ladylike clothing styles of the 1950's, graphic designs from the 1960's or hippie chic fashion ala the 1970's? Incorporating vintage clothing pieces into your wardrobe can take it from drab-- to fab. GalTime checked in with fashionista and style blogger Sally McGraw to get her tips on shopping vintage. Plus GalTime has put together a list of some of the best vintage clothing stores in The Hamptons.
GalTime: What is considered "vintage" clothing?
Sally McGraw: Depends who you ask. To me, vintage is clothing from at least two eras ago. So, for instance, I think of 90's style as the most recent previous era, which means that 80's clothing is now vintage by my standards. (Frightening, I know.) Anything older than 80's also qualifies, of course.
GalTime: What's your favorite vintage find?
Sally McGraw: I picked up a bracelet-sleeved black wool coat in good-as-new condition with a pristine lining and amazing mink collar for $9.99 at a local thrift store. I call it my "lady coat."
GalTime Can you give us a few tips for shopping vintage?
- Check every inch of a garment for flaws and stains: Even high-end vintage shops will put damaged goods out for sale sometimes. Make sure you examine a potential purchase carefully.
- Do the sniff test: Many vintage items are polyester, and although I'm a HUGE fan of this easy-care fabric, it can hold onto pit-stink like no other. Even natural fibers can get a bit ripe, so sniff the underarms of any garment before committing to buy. I'm told that spraying vintage goods with a vodka/water solution and hanging in the sun to dry can eliminate many odors, including BO, but if you're dealing with a delicate or ancient garment, it might not be worth the risk.
- Try thrift stores: Vintage boutiques often cull the best of local vintage offerings and mark them up. But most thrift stores - Goodwill, Salvation Army, Savers and the like - will either have vintage items mixed in with the modern merch, or set aside a rack for vintage goodies. You'll get better prices if you're willing to dig!
- Examine construction: Although stylists and fashion experts extol the superior construction of vintage goods, there are certainly exceptions. Whenever you're buying used clothing - vintage or otherwise - check seams, linings, notions, and reinforcements.
- Don't buy something just because it's designer: On a recent trip, I came across a batch of four Armani suits with a dove gray Dior suit and a gorgeous black Donna Karan suit thrown in for good measure. But they were all 80s styles with huge shoulders and long blazer lines, so I looked an absolute mess in them. Yes, they were vintage, and yes, they were designer, but they weren't even worth the measly $16 per suit asking price because I would never have worn them. A vintage Oscar de la Renta dress or Chanel blazer is only a good buy if it works within your wardrobe.
- Ask about cleaning policies: Most vintage boutiques dryclean all of their items before placing them on the racks. Most thrift stores do not. If you're squeamish about germs on used goods, ask before you buy. If an item is sold soiled, check the care instructions. You can walk directly from the vintage shop to the dry cleaners, if necessary!
GalTime: Any ideas for mixing vintage with contemporary pieces?
Sally McGraw: I've got a whole post on this topic!
GalTime: What’s "hot" right now in terms of vintage clothing items?
Sally McGraw: Any vintage store worth its salt will be brimming with animal prints, sequins, velvet, and lace, all of which are Fashion Week 2011 trends. I'm a big advocate of thrifting for trends, and vintage shops are a great place to start.
Shopping for vintage goods is a FABULOUS way to add personality and interest to your wardrobe. Although many vintage items are timeless enough to have become trendy again, many more are unique, fun, and even outlandish. Prowl around your local vintage shops and see if you can't find something truly fantastic to add to your closet.
All of my posts about thrifting - which include info that pertains to shopping for vintage - can be found here.
Sally McGraw is a Minneapolis-based blogger, freelance writer, and communications professional. Visit her blog Already Pretty for more great advice and fashion finds.
GalTime's Guide to Vintage Shopping in the Hamptons:
Around Again Incorporated: Long Wharf Prom, Sag Harbor N. Phone number: (631) 725-4067
Colette Designer Consignment: 59 The Cir, East Hampton. Phone Number: (631) 324-7727
Out of the Closet in Bridgehampton.