As Dawn O’Porter launches her new TV show this month, This Old Thing: The Vintage Clothes Show, I am going to make a rather controversial statement: I think vintage clothes are overr
As Dawn O’Porter launches her new TV show this month, This Old Thing: The Vintage Clothes Show, I am going to make a rather controversial statement: I think vintage clothes are overrated.
I can hear all the fashionistas out there gasp. I’m sorry, girls (and boys). I do appreciate the appeal- timeless styles at bargain prices that will help you create a totally unique look.
But I feel this is a very rose-tinted view of vintage clothing and the reality is seldom so appealing. Here are my reasons why vintage shopping is just not for me.
My main gripe is the inconsistency of the vintage clothing market. Quite frankly, I am a girl who knows what she wants so trawling through rails and rails of mismatched items does nothing for me except stress me out.
I appreciate for many this is the whole appeal of vintage shopping- that chance encounter with the top/ dress/ skirt of your dreams. This happened to me once, but on the whole at vintage shops and markets all I see is bundles and bundles of clothes that aren’t for me.
To me vintage shops are too much like hipster havens to really do anything for me. Please do not take this as a derogatory statement if you are of the nerd specs and Doc Martin persuasion. What I mean is that vintage shops tend to be full of old man knitwear, Levi reworked shorts and stereotypical ‘granny’ jewellery.
There is nothing wrong with this look and some people wear it beautifully but it is simply not my style. Maybe I’m just not cool enough to pull off this look. When I throw on a retro sweater I just look like a nerd (and not the trendy kind).
If you have ever been to a vintage fair you will know what I’m talking about: that musty, fushty old people smell that vintage clothes seem to emit like Hollister secretes overpowering aftershave. It probably caused by the fact that a lot of vintage items are made of natural materials. This is great for the skin and the environment but unfortunately not for the nose.
Lack of Style
I am of the belief that just because something is old it doesn’t make it stylish. I’ve had enough of vintage fairs where shapeless dresses and excessive shoulder pads dominate because, try as hard as I may, I just can’t see how these will look good on anyone.
‘Vintage’ pieces should be items that have been passed from owner to owner because they are of a timeless design and made to last. While there are definitely some vintage shops that do uphold these standards, I have just seen too many nondescript garments in my time on the vintage scene to inspire me to do any more searching.
Despite my negative view of the retro marketplace, I know there are several style icons out there who prove me wrong. Ultimately, to succeed at vintage shopping you need to be in the right place at the right time. It also helps to have an eye for unique pieces and a quirky style.
However, for the time being I think I’ll stick to eBay and keep my second-hand purchases to garments from this century.
What do you think? Do you agree? Have your say in the comments section below.