Everything is Retro these days. Five
years ago we were making fun of what we used to wear in
the 70's. Fifteen years ago it was the 60's
fashions."Thank goodness bell bottom jeans went out
of style...my hips are big enough!" "Can you
believe we used to wear those atrocious platform
shoes???" "I'll never wear a mini-skirt! With
my thunder thighs?"
Well, guess what, folks. Minis are back in
style. Platform shoes and bell bottoms are back in style.
Basically, fashion runs in cycles and in about 5 years we
can expect to be wearing huge 80's style shoulder pads
and teased up hair all over again. Nowadays, everything
from linen Civil War gowns to Day-Glo disco wear
qualifies as the mode du jour.
Bargain hunting for used fashions can be a fun hobby. You
don't even have to leave the comfort of your home.
Vintage clothing, consignment bargains and thrift-store
finds can be hunted down online. Here are some tips for
happy and successful secondhand shopping:
Age will change the shape of a garment, and different
eras suit different body types (consider 1900 big-busted,
small-waisted garb vs. 1940s strong-shouldered looks).
Match sizes to your own measurements and consider your
body type when purchasing items online. If youre
hesitant, stick with one-size-fits-all items such as
baggy sweaters, draw-string skirts and bowling shirts.
wary of wear-and-tear
Just because its been worn doesnt mean it
should look worn (or smell worn!). Read item descriptions
carefully and be cautious with sites that dont
divulge product flaws. Some sites even offer a grading
system to classify their stocks condition.
hooked on classics
Building a wardrobe requires a foundation. Start with
basic pieces and accessorize from there. If youre
going for a Dallas socialites high-powered '80s
look, then pink Chanel suits and buckled Bally pumps are
a must. The Hermes scarves, Louis Vuitton bags and Gucci
baubles can come later.
A well-made item will stand the test of time. Look for
marks of quality workmanship, such as full linings,
covered buttons, welted buttonholes and hand-sewn appliqué.
good taste be your guide
If something was tacky then, it's probably still tacky
now. Follow your own fashion muse and stick with styles
that suit you.
Now that you have an idea of what to
look for, let's go shopping! Check out these great sites
for shopping for retro fashions online:
The Cats Pajamas: This
Pennsylvania-based vintage clothing store provided
costume items for Titanic and Little Women films. This
site includes sizes with hip and bust measurements, great
photos and thorough write-ups.
Designer Resale Boutique: Fine designer clothes culled from
stars closets and Hollywoods tonier boudoirs.
The Paper Bag Princess: Stunning (and
costly) vintage couture.
Tastefully Bizarre: Vintage
selections are more tasteful than bizarre. Still, amusing
sections include Orange, Shocking Pink and Turquoise
(although curiously, all photos are black and white).
A Victorian Elegance: This site is very
honest about its stocks condition and state of
Vintage Vixen: Vintage fashion
shopping gallery includes a size chart for different
eras, fashion history and clothing-care information.