Don’t you love it when, on a whim, you discover the perfect outfit? I happened upon this combination back in March, while experimenting with ways to style a Lois Hazel Organic Cotton Rib Tank (no longer available, but similar here or here) from that I had just bought. I suddenly remembered the beautiful vintage cardigan that I had folded away at the back of my cupboard – a piece my mother had bought me back in high school from our local antique shop and this outfit effortlessly came together.
I love how the combination of crochet lace and the Levi’s ribcage straight ankle jeans, lends this look a subtle Jane Birkin 70s vibe. It was an outfit that not only felt like “me” but, now I come to think of it, also represents the values my wardrobe is built on too. This outfit combines good quality wardrobe staples (Levi’s jeans), a sustainably made piece (a Lois Hazel top) and a pre-loved item (this beautiful vintage cardigan) to create a simple, minimalist look. These are all elements of the KISS (Keep it Simple and Sustainable) principle that I created to guide my purchases:
- Keep it for as long as possible
- Intentional, well thought through purchases
- Support sustainable where possible
- Simple, classic styles.
Below, I’ve left a few suggestions for incorporating vintage pieces into your wardrobe.
A case for vintage
In my post, a minimalist’s approach to thrift shopping, I talk about how buying vintage or pre-loved items is such an important part of creating a sustainable wardrobe. Buying pre-loved gives clothes a new lease of life and reduces the garments that end up in landfill. Furthermore, because vintage pieces are often rare or one of a kind, they can inject uniqueness and individuality into your wardrobe. They are often beautifully made, although if they are old or a particularly delicate fabric, they need to be treated with care.
Where to buy vintage clothes
- Antique shops (for example, in Sydney, the Mitchell Road Antique and Design Centre). These antique shops often sell vintage clothes as well as objects and furniture.
- Vintage clothing stores
- Ebay or Gumtree
- Second hand stores
- Online second hand designer clothing sites such as The Real Real or the Vestiaire Collective allow you to filter search results for vintage pieces.
Shop the Edit
things to keep in mind when shopping vintage
When it comes to vintage items, there can be more variability when it comes to size and fit – particularly as some items may have been hand made or altered. If possible, I prefer trying on garments in person. However, if buying online I would check the garment’s measurements and also the return policy in case an item doesn’t fit. Although sites such as Gumtree and Ebay can be great places to find vintage items, you want to be careful that items are genuine – particularly if you’re paying for a more expensive designer or cult piece.
Suggestions for styling vintage pieces
- Create a Pinterest board of your favourite fashion eras (eg. the 1990s or the 1960s) or classic style icons (think Jane Birkin, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Onasis or Grace Kelly) and analyse outfits for style inspiration.
- Choose one vintage item to be a statement piece (for example, a statement vintage bag or pair of shoes).
- Combine vintage pieces with current trends for a modern twist.
- Style a vintage piece with wardrobe basics to elevate a simple outfit.
Do you have any special vintage pieces in your wardrobe?
Photos: Sara Eshu