Keep This in Mind Before Buying Vintage...
There has never been a better time to curate your own sustainable, timeless wardrobe that will not fall apart at the seams, will not wreck the planet, and will instead stand you in good stead for generations to come: welcome to the wonderful world of vintage!
More and more of us are increasingly passing on mass-produced copycat fast fashion pieces, shoddily put together in appalling conditions the other side of the world, then shipped to Europe with a scandalous carbon footprint. ...Enter vintage to save the day! Whether you are thinking of shopping vintage at your local flea, on marketplaces like Ebay or Etsy or at an independent, curated online vintage shop like I Can Tell By The Moon, here are some words of advice to keep in mind that I hope you will find helpful:
Forget trends, go for quality: there is a place for vintage that just scratches a fashion itch, and you can certainly scour the marketplace for a hit-or-miss bargain that is ok for one season or two. But vintage is not (at any rate, should not) be about quick hit shopping. It's about the conscious, deliberate building of a timeless wardrobe of pieces of quality, a quality that is becoming increasingly hard to find in today's contemporary fashion world (this is what fires me up as a vintage & antique shop owner: the finding of gems that are superb quality and that are expertly and beautifully made.) The key is to choose items that are timeless in style, design and/or patterns. Think minimalist outerwear, handknit woolies, romantic nightgowns, natural fibres and evergreen patterns like classic monochrome check, florals, gingham and more. And of course, if you love a particular fashion era (the 60s or 70s, for example) you can zone in on just that style and create a beautiful, unique and all-original wardrobe world of your own! What could be more fun?
Invest in all-natural fibres: as a long time vintage and antique seller, I can tell you that there is absolutely no comparison between contemporary 'organic' cotton and antique cotton - truly organic and all-natural as it was grown under ideal environmental circumstances that are nothing like today's. The difference is obvious at first touch, and is confirmed in the fact that antique clothing, unlike today's counterparts, has stood the test of time, reaching us in near-perfect condition after, in some cases, the best part of 130 years of use. For me nothing beats antique linen, hemp and cotton, as far as quality is concerned. But even if antique clothing is not your thing, vintage cotton (up to the 1980s) will always - generally speaking - be of better quality than what is available today. Crucially, with the increased focus on recycled plastic we're seeing happen within mass-market clothing manufacturing (eek! No, thank you) beautiful, breathable, natural fibres will become rarer and rarer on the market, so...you've heard it here first - now is the time to invest and secure them, for yourself and to pass them on to the next generation. So whether you are buying vintage online or in a market, check that composition label or ask the question. Here at I Can Tell By The Moon you can find the composition of every item on their respective product page alongside description and measurements, so you can make a fully informed decision as you shop.
Shop clever: items for all seasons. I am often asked on Instagram what is my own vintage wardrobe like (I must do a post on this at some point!) but the truth is that it would probably be fairly boring to most people! I don't own as many pieces as people might think, a) because I am lucky to work with and be surrounded by beautiful clothes all day, and b) because I know my style at this point and I have been able to create a capsule of key pieces that I tend to return to and (with a few specific exceptions like swimwear or winter coats) I use across all seasons. For example, I like vintage dresses I can wear just as easily in summer or autumn - just switching footwear and adding tights!, or vintage knits I can layer up in winter as well as spring (I live in Ireland, so it's a bit of a necessity, this one!), or again crisp vintage cotton blouses I can dress up with fancy black trousers or down with jeans. Take some time to work out what you wear most of, what items you tend to reach for again and again in your wardrobe - this will give you a good indication of what you should focus on when it's time to upgrade to a sustainable, quality vintage option.
I hope you will consider this advice when shopping vintage, whether online or in person, here in Ireland or wherever you are in the world! (psssst...did you know I ship worldwide?) ;) Catch up next week for another blog post and don't forget to drop into the shop on Friday at 7pm for an all-new vintage drop! Have a beautiful week, Vittoria