Guide to vintage clothing
Why buy old clothes when you can get new ones?
1. It's fun!
2. You'll find clothing that will suit your body shape. Ever since companies began to mass produce garments in the 1950s we have fallen victim to “one style suits all", this is clearly NOT the case. Familiarising yourself with tricks
and styles from previous decades is a great way to discover a flattering style for you.
3. Quality. The reason it is still possible for us to scour the shops for vintage pieces is because they have been able to last the decades. Back before factory mass production most clothes were made by tailors, and HAND made by people at home. Quality over quantity I always say!
4. Being unique. When you're wearing vintage you know you can waltz your way into any party confidently knowing that no other girl will be wearing the same dress. In fact chances are no other girl in the world will be wearing the same frock.
5. It's a great hobby. Some people collect tea spoons, others hunt the stores for old records, I collect vintage. There is nothing like rummaging through your local thrift store on a Saturday morning and finding an authentic 1940s, New Zealand made dress. Collecting vintage is like collecting fragments of history.
Is there a difference between Vintage and Retro?
Yes! Yes! Yes! The term “vintage" is being thrown around so loosely these days that even last season's range is being deemed vintage. The term retro could be used to describe anything from the 1970s right up to the 1990s, so it's old, but not that old! Vintage generally means everything from around the 1920s to the 1960s. Anything over 100 years old might also be referred to as antique.
Where can I find vintage clothing in NZ?
This can be a little tricky because we are such a small country so you might stumble upon the odd New Zealand made garment - but most of it trickles in from overseas. Needless to say we do have a few great shops around Auckland that ooze vintage styles:
Victorian Gilt: (www.victoriangilt.co.nz): this little shop is just bursting at the seams with vintage from every era. It is a favorite place for film crews to get authentic vintage items for movies, stylists snag pieces for fashion shoots, and everyday vintage lovers like me can get lost in a musty heaven.
Peachy Keen: (www.peachy-keen.co.nz): not only does this place stock some great rockabilly style items, they are now selling custom made, vintage-inspired corsets!
Tango: this shop is amazing, and whatever you do listen to the shop owner! This guy knows his stuff, ask him for a little advice and before you know it you'll have an armload of dresses that fit you like a second skin.
St Kevin's Arcade (on Karangahape Rd): here is an arcade not to be missed by vintage lovers, make sure you give yourself plenty of time because you're not going to want to leave in a hurry.
Trade Me (www.trademe.co.nz): it's not quite as good as eBay, but if you check in on a regular basis you are bound to find some treasures.
What if I find something I love, but it doesn't fit me?
If you love it that much, get a dressmaker to copy it for you in your size and in a fabric of your choice. Some designers, like Michael Pattison (www.fashionz.co.nz/michaelpattison/), also do tailoring.
What is “Vintage-inspired"?
Vintage-inspired is just that, new clothing inspired by vintage styles! Generally these clothes are reproductions of vintage pieces; in fact often they have been made from original vintage patterns. The up side to vintage-inspired clothing is that it's not as fragile, so you don't have to feel guilty for actually wearing it! Vintage-inspired has become very popular over the past few years, so all you need to do is Google it and you'll find more sites than you know what to do with. But here's a start:
Sable & Minx (www.fashionz.co.nz/sable&minx/): collections from this funky streetwear label are always inspired by vintage pieces.
Rita Sue (www.ritasue.co.nz): this site stocks everything from shoes, stockings, dresses, and lingerie, to hair accessories. AND they are based in New Zealand so you won't be spending a fortune on postage.
Devol Clothing (www.devolclothing.com): totally vintage/ rockabilly-inspired and can be made to measure. This is my favorite label in New Zealand. You can also check out their stuff at Frutti in Wellington.
Miss Illicit: The brand spanking new store from the Illicit crew is pin up heaven.
Stop Staring (www.stopstaringclothing.com): these guys are the king pins of vintage-inspired clothing and their dresses are just to die for.
Pin up girl clothing (www.pinupgirlclothing.com): this is like your one stop pin up shop, it stocks so many different brands with everything from pin up couture, to swimwear, to naughty Halloween costumes!
Where can I wear my vintage threads?
Well anywhere you like honey! Depending on your job there is absolutely no reason why you can't incorporate a little vintage into your everyday outfits. But if you really want a special excuse to get fancied up then consider Swing dances, Rock 'n' roll dances, Hot Rod shows, Nostalgia events, and the increasingly popular Burlesque shows that are popping up around town.
Tell me more, tell me more, tell me more!
If you've been left with a little taste for Vintage and you're curious to learn more than you NEED to, hunt down a copy of It's Vintage Darling by Christa Weil. This book is gold!
Other book suggestions include:
Shopping for Vintage: The Definitive Guide to Vintage Fashion by Funmi Odulate,
Secondhand Chic: Finding Fabulous Fashion at Consignment, Vintage, and Thrift Shops by Christa Weil
Vintage Fashion: Collecting and Wearing Designer Classics by Emma Baxter-Wright.