Easy-to-find vintage trends are everywhere, you just have to know what to look for when thrift shopping.
Style is a balancing act. We want clothes that are feminine and sleek, tailored but relaxed, to look like we cared but at the same time appear as if it was effortless. And while the overwhelming fashion trend of the last decade has been for individualism, more than ever we are all dressing alike. Take a look around you. Mothers, daughters – and even grandmothers – are all wearing the same uniform of skinny jeans, boots and flowy tops. No wonder second-hand and gently-used clothing is what the cool kids are buying these days; it’s exceedingly unlikely anyone else – especially your mother – will be wearing what you are.
The key to the new way of dressing is to keep an eye on current trends to see what past fashions are being reconstituted now. Some seasons seem to be so revolutionary that we’re breathless at what to make of all the newness, while others like spring and the recent fall fashion shows reinterpret the trends we’ve already seen way-back-when and increasingly, in the oh-so-recent past. Luckily for lovers of secondhand style, the enduring feeling for ’50s-meets-’70s-meets-grunge styles made modern means its simple to create a unique look that’s all your own.
Here are five items that can be found in plentiful supply in vintage and thrift stores and – luckily for you and the planet – are making a comeback in this season’s and fall’s 2013 styles.
1. The Wide Brimmed Fedora – As soon as Heidi Slimane’s Saint Laurent woman strutted down the runway peeking out from under her big brimmed fedora every fast fashion chain added this style to their must-manufacture list. Mysterious and androgynously alluring, it’s sure to be a hot trend this fall. Yes, you could buy one of the hundreds of thousands of cheap knockoffs about to be widely available, but it’s worth trying to find a vintage one with some provenance and patina – the jackpot benefit of secondhand shopping. I found a similar style at my local resale shop recently. It was an original piece of safari-themed Banana Republic from the late ’70s (before The Gap bought them out). Still in perfect condition, the quality of materials used then is impossible to beat – they just don’t make ‘em like they used to.
Image: UK Marie Claire
2. Pretty Pastels – Anything you can find in baby pink, soft apricot and pale seafoam, just grab it. For fairer skins and complexions not yet tanned by spring sunshine, pastels tones are incredibly flattering to wear this season. The black-on-black trend is huge for fall but many designers were also making a compelling case for winter pastels next season too. It’s the one sweet treat you don’t have to avoid, so go ahead and indulge.
Image: Mark Gregory & Co.
3. The Oversized Watch – The trend for menswear-inspired vintage watches is here to stay. I know it’s a crazy idea, but how about everyone stops buying those vintage-looking time pieces and buy an actual vintage time piece? The joys of wearing upon your wrist an object that has a former owner and its own curious history is a true delight and is naturally, way more interesting looking. Go down to your local jewelry repair shop and take a look at all those lovely looking faces – oh the times they have to tell.
4. Full skirts – Like the pastel trend, this one comes straight from the ’50s. As the natural continuation of the peplum, this timeless trend also creates a flattering silhouette. Bell-shaped skirts and dresses with pretty ruffled details are huge this spring, but be sure to tone down the romance by pairing with a tucked-in tank top or a cropped jacket – another notable trend this season.
Image: Gotham Magazine
5. Slip dress – Encapsulating the mid-nineties waify wardrobe, the slip dress has re-emerged as the season’s cocktail silhouette. Search in the lingerie section of your vintage store and find the least lacy and most opaque version you can find. Just as it was in the Reality Bites era, the delicate style is best balanced with tough-looking boots and biker jackets.
Top image: Fab sugar