Copyright 2010 – By Kimberly Clay

Vintage clothing is HOT! You see it in magazines, on television or when you’re simply walking down the street. Funky, colorful, jazzy and cool, it’s put a bit of spice into the current fashion flavor.

What’s interesting is that generally, we don’t think of vintage clothing in terms of antiques and collectibles because it’s a fashion thing. But connoisseurs of vintage clothes are just as passionate about their interests and collections as the rest of us.

Take Michelle Rose for example. Featured in the Lifestyle section of the March 2010 issue of Black Enterprise magazine, Michelle has turned her passion into a business, selling high-end vintage duds from her converted New York studio apartment.

Twenty or thirty years ago, the people interested in vintage clothing usually fell into two distinct categories; those who bought used clothing because they couldn’t afford to buy new (or couldn’t afford to buy the type/quality of clothing they desired new) or those individuals generally considered to be outside of the societal mainstream (retro, grunge, punk, hippies, hipsters…you get the idea).

I can remember when Goodwill, thrift and vintage clothing stores were only found in working-class or poorer sections of town, because that’s generally where their clientèle came from. Now they’re located in suburban shopping centers or strategic locations of trendy neighborhood shopping districts.

So, if you’re interested in shopping for vintage clothes, what should you look for?

Shop for what’s in style. Look for vintage clothing that resonates with what’s currently fashionable. Select items from current color palettes. Look for design patterns that will make your outfits “pop”, and select pieces that will complement your overall ensemble. In other words, even though you’re shopping vintage, make your fashion decisions using the same criteria you would when shopping for new creations.

Choose items with a Classic look. The cut, shape and lines of a garment, pair of shoes or boots and accessories are fundamental to their design. Search for pieces that possess tried and true characteristics in shape and cut, that can be mixed and matched to a number of different overall looks. By doing so, you will be investing your money in pieces that will provide you with years of use and enjoyment, not just a short season.

Shop for Quality. One of the best reasons for buying vintage clothes is that you can buy quality items for much less than what they were priced when new. Spending a couple hundred dollars on a exquisitely designed leather bag or fashionable suit that originally cost hundreds or even thousands more is not only a smart financial move, but it also allows you to accumulate a much more desirable, fashionable and longer-lasting wardrobe than you would otherwise have. Now you can afford things like hand-stitching, tailor-made and authentic, natural materials – those characteristics that together define quality and thus make for a better investment.

One last thing to consider when buying vintage clothes is size. Size doesn’t lie. Younger fashionistas may not be aware of it, but today’s clothing industry has been lying to you for quite a while. In what way you may ask? Well, the complete answer to that question is not one we have time or space for here, but in the context of this discussion, I’m referring to size.

The current industry has adjusted the measurements for clothing sizes to accommodate an ever larger portion of the population; literally. In simple terms, a size 10 from twenty or thirty or forty years ago is not the same as a size 10 today. It’s smaller and tighter. And twenty or twenty-five years ago, there was no such thing as size 0. So as you shop for vintage clothing, be mindful that it’s always recommended that you try on clothing and shoes to ensure that what you think will fit you, actually will.

So whether it’s Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, Sarmi, Mary Quant, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Pendleton, Fendi, Coco Chanel, Liz Claiborne or any number of countless other vintage designs and brands in which you’re interested, shop smart, shop well and revel in the fun and adventure vintage clothing can bring.

Shop for vintage clothing in Central Kentucky!

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