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Vintage fashion is inherently democratic.
Celebrity style icons like Chloe Sevigny, Nicole Kidman and Alexa Chung don’t get their inimitable style from mindlessly chasing every new trend — and neither should you plunk down serious change for the latest “it” bag when you could spend less money and sport an original piece.
Vintage is generally defined as anything that’s more than 25 years old, high-quality and illustrative of its era. In short, you’ll know it when you see it — and then you’ll fall in love with it.
Why We Think Vintage Is Worth It
If a piece of clothing is more than 25 years old, it’s probably endured because of superior fabric and craftsmanship. Vintage clothing also tends to be easier to customize because it has wider seam allowances for tucking in or taking up. Little compares to the thrill of finding a statement piece that you know no one else will be wearing at the cocktail party. It’s even eco-friendly because you’re reusing fabric and saving energy on production of a new garment. (For some of our favorite new green fashion, read this.)
But best of all — you knew we had to bring this back to your bottom line–vintage wares provide better value for your money. Well-made pieces range from $10 for lingerie and shoes to $350 for boutique coats. Case in point: Bridgett Artise, designer, shop owner, and author of Born-Again Vintage, cherishes the Alexander McQueen coat and Chanel jacket she nabbed for $7 and $15, respectively at a Salvation Army in New York City. (Her tip: Always be on the lookout for undiscovered stores and sources of vintage, before their secret is outed.)
Here’s how to shop vintage like a pro:
1. Measure Up
Sizes have steadily drifted upward since the middle of the century (called “vanity sizing”), which often makes the numbers you see useless with older clothing. Make sure to always try things on, and get yourself measured (or do it yourself) so you can identify what will fit you when shopping online.