September 19, 2020

My Favourite Vintage Pieces & Vintage Sourcing Tips

My Favourite Vintage Pieces & Vintage Sourcing Tips

 

More often than not, nowadays when I spot a gap in my wardrobe- vintage will be the first solution I head to for filling it…

More than ever, I’ve fallen in love with the chase, the fact things are one of a kind (although apparently I’m quite impressive in hunting down replicas if anybody is looking) and the fact these pieces carry a past, or a special story with them. Sometimes that’s all a bit rose tinted (the other side are the moth holes, antique-y smells that seemingly won’t budge and sizing that feels incredibly dated indeed)- but all in all, finding something one of a kind with a history of it’s own is very satisfying indeed.

So, today I thought I’d share with you a few of my most treasured pieces, where I found them and some of my favourite tips for digging out your own new old favourite pieces too…

The 1969 Biba Mini

In all honesty, this feels more like a piece of history than it does something to parade around the house in- and truly, putting it on I worried I’d damage it (it’s definitely a rare item that’ll be more for hanging up than it will be for dancing in). In fact, after I saw it in Joli Vintage in Greenwich, hanging up behind the counter- I wanted to know more and had fallen in love before I even know if the mini shorts that came with it would even get over my bum (tmi? They barely did).

Anyway- I took to Google and found that the V&A have one in storage as part of their archived collections and the rest was history. On their website it says, ‘This dress appeared in the Summer 1969 mail order catalogue. Marion Kite, an art school student, wore the dress for special occasions in London, and also on holiday in Cornwall.’ (Who sounds like my kind of woman)!

Although part of the joy of vintage is giving life to something old, sometimes there are pieces that are too special to leave behind, but almost too special to wear too- although it’s not something I try and do often, this is definitely something I’ll be saving for best.

 

 

The Silver Mini* 

(*bought with a gift voucher)

One thing I love about vintage is how much fun you can have whilst browsing. So often I’ve stumbled across pieces that I’m like, ‘THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT MY DREAM DRESS LOOKS LIKE’- with design elements and features we so rarely see on the high street nowadays. Silver lurex with a silk bow and pleats?! Sign me up, buttercup! Sometimes I do get carried away, perhaps like I did with this piece and just imagined having a good old boogie in it (unsure where- I didn’t quite get that far)- and before I knew it I’d hit ‘order’ on Rokit and it was here. Thankfully, if anything it’ll be the dress that holds me accountable to actually getting a good dance in- even if that’s just in my bedroom for now…

The 1930’s dress…

This is one of my most recent purchases, and a dress I completely fell head over heels for. The last thing my wardrobe was crying out for was a ‘30s Peter Pan collared embroidered dress (which definitely needs a slip underneath if you plan on wearing it anywhere other than at home)- but it is magic.

The pleats, the sheer floral water-like fabric and the statement collar completely sucked me in- and I found it whilst doing a quick scroll of one of my absolute vintage favourites, Rokit.

Although I’ve always known them for their busy stores with rails of t-shirts, reclaimed pieces and coloured jackets lined up like ducks in a row- their online shop is a true place of treasure, and some of my most special pieces have been found on their site (which I’m reluctant to share, but because I love you and all that)…

 

 

 

The Sparkly Bed Jacket…

I bought this jacket whilst on a nostalgic Beyond Retro trip with my pal Sarah, and although at the time I wasn’t totally sure it would be something I’d wear (was that the white feathers or white sequins Liv?)- I saw it having potential as a very fun sixties-style mini- and with a few alterations (I had it taken up and extra buttons added for closure) it’s quickly become one of my favourite party pieces. It feels feminine, cheeky and the perfect dancing dress (anything with a sleeve like this has me at hello), and shows that definitely using your imagination with vintage and making a few small tweaks can really inject some new life into something wonderful.

The Little Women Laura Ashley…

You may have seen this Laura Ashley dress pop up on my Instagram once or twice, and by far it’s one of my best purchases- vintage or not. Bought for £40 at Festival Number 6 two years ago, hunting down vintage at festivals is one of my favourite things (after the music- naturally). Whether that’s Oxfam tents at Glastonbury, or pop ups in the fields of Portmeirion- if you can look past some of the more avant-garde or statement pieces (what is it with festivals and endless military jackets?) there are always some gems to be found- and I promise you, it’ll always be worth balancing half naked in a pop up tent to try it on too. Mostly anyway.

My top tips for hunting out the good stuff…

  • Know your measurements as well as your size: my pal Sarah is excellent at knowing this, and either always has a tape measure handy or can cross reference (which is massively key online too). So many times I’ve bought things online because they’ve been ‘my clothes size’, but actually vintage sizing has a mind of its own (and sadly can often run smaller too). Whether that’s arms, waist or bust- it’s so worth getting exact measurements so you’re not caught out. I’m sure most of you know this already, but I’ve definitely been naïve and lazy in the past, which hasn’t always served me well!
  • Keep key phrases in mind: One of my favourite places to scour for vintage is Depop, and knowing key search phrases for styles that you like makes all the difference when it comes to rifling through hoards of vintage. Whether that’s ‘70s prairie dress’, ‘vintage bishop sleeve’ or anything else you might fancy, sometimes narrowing down is the key to some gems.
  • Don’t be afraid to go ‘mainstream’: I suppose subliminally I’ve always assumed that some of the bigger vintage names like Beyond Retro and Rokit won’t ever have the ‘good bits’ online, but some of my favourite pieces have been found on their pages. It takes a bit more patience, and sometimes regular checking back- but a great vintage piece is a great vintage piece, and sometimes it’s just down to timing.
  • Think about the TLC: Thankfully nowadays there’s lots of tips out there as to how to care for your preloved pieces, but keep in mind the less maintenance it’ll require, the more you’ll be likely to wear it. When it comes to most of my cotton vintage blouses, I know I can pop them on a cool wash without a worry in the world- and that means I’m less ‘precious’ about them, and they actually become wardrobe staples instead of museum like pieces. Some vintage is incredibly delicate, so be mindful of certain fabrics and conditions before you buy- some things might be beyond repair, and some things might be too much of a job- and that’s ok!

For my full guide of favourite vintage shops, you can head here for more inspiration!

x

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