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Wearing Vintage Clothing with Style- What to Wear Because You ARE Cool enough!

Updated on August 27, 2016
Vintage Calvin Klein with pre WWII coat and very vintage tree
Vintage Calvin Klein with pre WWII coat and very vintage tree | Source
Vintage Chanel Silk jacket
Vintage Chanel Silk jacket | Source

Wearing Vintage Clothes the Wrong Way

Wearing vintage clothes can be one of the most fun things that you can do when adding to your wardrobe. Thousands of sources exist online that provide vintage clothes.

A bad idea when wearing vintage clothes is wearing the wrong size. Clothes that are too big or too small quickly kill the look you are trying to create and relegate it to looking like something that you scrounged from a parents' closet. The same applies with poorly maintained vintage pieces. Before wearing, the piece should be inspected for rips, tears, stains, missing buttons and zippers that no longer perform correctly.

If the item that you have needs repair, please, don't wear it until it is repaired. Old garments are, after all, old. That could mean that they are frail or fragile.

Another mistake in wearing vintage pieces is to wear them as skin tight as possible. Old threads may not bear the stress of fabric being pulled in different directions, and can give way at the least convenient time. I attended a James Bond themed party once, where everyone was encouraged to dress as Bond or a character from a Bond cocktail party, circa 60's or early 70's. Everyone came in their best Bond and Bond girl outfit. One young lass boasted that her extremely tight dress was borrowed from an Aunt who wore it regularly as a cocktail dress in the late 60's. She turned this way and that, striking dramatic poses, and I shuddered as I watched the seams straining.

As we posed for pictures, the hapless young lady knelt down to adjust her go-go boots. We all were shocked to see a side seam give way with a loud sound, exposing her underwear and busom. Luckily, the party's host was able to offer a long black silk robe to wear over the dress, but it was sad to see a dress that was so pretty fail due to extreme stress on the seams.

Realize that clothing made in different time periods made have been made when underclothes were different. I once borrowed a friends' high end designer suit. No matter what I did, I could not get it to look the way that she looked in the photos of the suit. I even weighed less than she did when the photo was taken. Luckily, my pal shared with me a list of all of the undergarments that she was wearing in the photo. With the purchase of those additional pieces of clothes, I looked as great as she did, and I felt better, too, knowing that the look was now flawless. For a look of undergarments from the past, look up foundation wear,

Vintage DVF dress with vintage pumps
Vintage DVF dress with vintage pumps | Source

Wearing Vintage Clothes the Right Way

Everything should fit you well. There should be some sort of theme that others can detect if your look is completely vintage. If not, an accent piece should complement the rest of your outfit.

A good vintage outfit will complement your best features. Don't be afraid to add vintage accessories. They can really pull an outfit together.

The biggest secret to making a vintage outfit complete is footwear. Modern shoes with a vintage outfit can be done, but scoring a pair of shoes from the same time period is the detail that makes a good outfit great.

Looking at old fashion magazines from the time period are a great way to see what the designers want you to wear. Looking at newspapers from the same time will show you what people actually were wearing. For a really accurate snapshot of what kids were wearing, look online at yearbook photos.

Vintage 70's DVF
Vintage 70's DVF | Source

Where to Buy Vintage

Vintage clothing can be found everywhere. Garage sales, vintage shops, thrift stores, charity stores, boutiques, online, the possibilities are truly endless. Don't forget asking older relatives if you can go through their closets, too. Some of the best finds I got were from a relatives' cedar chest. She had a cocktail dress, matching bag, tiny pillbox hat, and embroidered gloves.

If you do have an older friend who has clothing you can wear, do offer to pay them. Thank them profusely and do something nice for them. Clothes in great condition are a real find. I am still looking to replace a pastel pink leather purse that my mother had when I was a child. Someday, by looking through enough vintage shops, I will.

Make a list of things that you are looking for. By doing this, you will have a better idea of what to ask friends and family to look for, too. A friend sent out a last minute email begging for a floor length gown in bright colors from the 70's. Another friend called later that day, reporting of a find at a local thrift store. It was $35.00. The dress was purchased, it was a perfect fit, and the price was very fair.

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  • BestCrispAir profile image

    Dixie 5 years ago from Texas

    Alex, I did add several photos for you to enjoy. I so much love vintage, it is a very fun way to express yourself!

  • Alex McClain profile image

    Alex McClain 5 years ago from Jacksonville, fla.

    Love vintage clothing. I'm not so big on namebrands. I almost wish maybe you had posted a few pictures for this post, but either way I enjoyed it. I have a few vintage pieces I've managed to find while thrifting and it always amazes me when someone compliments me. lol. I think the ultimate key to rocking a vintage piece should be making sure you put your own personal twist and confidence with the item!