5 Tips for Shopping for Vintage Fashions

What is Vintage? Essentially, ‘vintage’ is just another name for second-hand clothing, but it can be expensive. Antique flapper dresses from the 1920s and original Raoul Dufy designs are gorgeous, but discovering unique pieces doesn’t have to be expensive.

  • Thrift Shopping If your funds are limited, but you are adventurous, try thrift store shopping. It sometimes takes effort, depending on how the shop is set up and organized, but the results can be very rewarding. My most recent finds were a full length Eileen Fisher silk skirt and a vintage Valentino Boutique Couture Blouse (tags still on) for $17.00, total. Another trip netted me several silk designer scarves (Echo, Ferragamo, Valentino, Liberty of London among them) for $20.00 total for the bagful. Even if I had the money for these at retail, I would choose to spend those 100’s of dollars on other things. I love owning a beautiful designer piece, but love even more that I own them, and spent so little.

  • The List The key to a successful shopping trip is to go with a piece (or pieces) in mind, otherwise it can be overwhelming. Do you need a skirt for a special event, a belt to freshen up a t-shirt and jeans look, or a silk blouse to brighten a dull business suit? This way you can scan shelves and racks for the colors and textiles you want, and only pull those items out. It is safe to say, if you are looking for a black slip dress, you can skip the obvious yellow neon plaid and green striped numbers.

  • Choose Well Build up a list of ideas whenever you go out and come up with your own thrift shopping rules. Steer clear of anything stained rather than just a little dusty, and things with the strong scent of mothballs should be avoided because that scent will never come out 100%. Tiny holes can be mended if they are not very visible, you want to look good not like a little rag doll (unless that is your personal look). Fabric and pattern choices should fit your current wardrobe if you want to incorporate it in everyday use. Choose the wilder looks for parties and special events.

  • Patience Give yourself time. You may not find the perfect piece the first time, or the second, but the third time you might. Take the time to build a perfect wardrobe. Explore the shops and flea markets and if you find yourself frequenting one shop, introduce yourself to the owner and ask if they will give you a call the minute new things come in.

  • Accessories If you’re still unsure about ‘second-hand clothes’, just shop for accessories. Bags, belts and scarves are easily incorporated into an everyday wardrobe. Finding pretty pieces sometimes takes as much dedication as scanning for clothing, but when you find that perfect pair of 1960’s pink rhinestone basket earrings for $2.00 you’ll be converted. Then you just might look around and take a chance on a new ruffled tuxedo shirt or a fun 1970’s mini skirt, and you’ll never see shopping the same way again. Look at it this way, it’s closet of fashion you can raid without mom and grandmom getting mad at you!

    Socially Responsible Shopping Thrifting and vintage shopping is also a great way to recycle. With so many beautiful fashions in thrift and vintage shops you may be able to find what you need and in essence recycle a well-made garment. If the current trends aren’t your taste, you may find past looks in great condition. If you are like me, and dress to express yourself, not follow the trends to the letter, then I think you’ll be very happy. Many thrift shops benefit charities too, so in some cases just by shopping, you’ll be doing a good deed. Just get out there and look!
    Photo, vintagevibes.com

  • Click here for more Vintage Fashion articles
  • Modern Lady, Vintage Style

    thandie-newton-picture-6.jpgThandie Newton has the right idea when it comes to fashion. In a recent news item she says vintage clothes are not only glorious, but a great way to recycle. Thandie is known for her passion in making the world greener. Why buy new things when there are so many lovely fashions in vintage and thrift stores already? Her tastes may be vintage but her ideas are very modern.

    Thandie Newton has said she can’t understand why people buy new clothes when there is so much great vintage material out there.
    She said that she loves buying secondhand clothes because of the benefits for the environment: “It is grotesque how out of control manufacturing has become, and the excess, the pollution that’s caused by it.”
    “Vintage [fashion] is not only glorious and stylish, it’s also the way forward in terms of recycling.”
    “Whenever I go into great vintage stores, I wonder why we ever buy new things.” Source: fametastic.co.uk

    Remember to check out Thandie in her new film Run Fatboy Run with Simon Pegg.

    “Frock Me!” Vintage Fashion Event in June, London

    Frock Me! on June 8th is a vintage fashion event that is held in London several times a year at the Chelsea Town Hall. In addition to clothing, pick up accessories such as hats, shoes, gloves and jewellery from a retro era.

    And according to Frock Me! organizers, vintage clothing attracts a diverse clientele, from stylists and models to fashion students and collectors and even stage and film costume designers.

    Those looking to mingle with designers and celebrities may well spot them rummaging for fashion one-offs in the crowd as items can reportedly be found to suit “all tastes and budgets”.

    Stocking items from a range of eras including the 1920s, 1950s and 1960s, period Pucci, Lanvin and Chanel items are all among those likely to be found at Frock Me!
    Ckick here for more info: “Frock Me” Vintage Fashion Event

    Vintage Fashion Fair in London April 6

    Are you going? I have a feeling this one is going to be even more amazing than the last. The Vintage Fashion Fair will be held on Sunday 6th April in Notting Hill.
    Anita Bott founded this one after the end of her previous partnership with Battersea Vintage Fashion Fairs. Anita’s Vintage Fashion Fairs (AVFF) organizes six fairs a year and features vintage clothing, textiles and accessories dating from 1800 to 1970. Everything from vintage buttons, braids and trimmings to stage costumes and high fashion can be found at the Vintage Fair.
    She is hoping to make this the Number One Vintage Fair in the UK and is off to a great start because AVFF was voted 16th out of Vogue’s 100 ‘Guide to the Greatest Shops off the Beaten Track’.
    Click here for more info: Anita’s Vintage Fashion Fairs

    Beautiful Modest Gown Contest Winner

    emmaline.jpg Modest By Design has their 2007 winners posted and they are wonderful entries. It will be fun to see the dress made real like last year’s black and white stunner. Congratz to all and hope you had fun!

    Read the cool article below for more about the Modest by Design’s fashion show which spotlights lovely designs and announces the winner of their competition.

  • Search for more Modest Gowns and Dresses

    Modesty finds a niche in marketplace
    By Brittanie Morris
    Salt Lake Tribune

    Backstage at Thanksgiving Point’s red show barn, girls hustled to slip into evening gowns of all colors, shapes and sizes before the Modesty in Motion fashion show began.

  • Another Project Prom, in Boston!


    Welcome to Project Prom. Our judges chose the top four dress concepts submitted by local fashion design college students, and now each designer will have $500 from Fabric Place and one month to bring her sketch to life. Four high schoolers will win the custom gowns and get to show them off in a Macy’s fashion show and in the May 13 Globe Magazine.

    See the designs chosen to compete and see interviews with the contestants. Good luck to all! Any other contests inspired by Project Runway like this out there? Let me know!

    Duct tape Stuck at Prom contest

    camouflage_gaffers_tape_180.jpgThis looks like fun! You could win scholarship money for you and your school!

    The 2007 Duck brand duct tape Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest challenges high school students to create and accessorize their prom formalwear with duct tape.

    Entries must be received by June 8. Go to www.stuckatprom.com for rules and registration.

  • Participants must submit an entry form and a photo of themselves wearing the duct tape prom formalwear.

  • Entries can be submitted at www.stuckatprom.com or mailed to: Stuck at Prom Contest; c/o Henkel Corp.; 32150 Just Imagine Drive; Avon, OH 44011-1355.

  • Ten couples will be chosen as finalists by judges who are looking at workmanship, originality, use of colors, accessories and quantity of tape used. Online public voting will decide the winning couple. Voting is June 15-24.

  • Winners will be announced on or around July 11. The winning couple will receive a $6,000 ($3,000 for each person) cash scholarship for college, and $3,000 will be awarded to the high school hosting the winning couple’s prom. Second-place winners will each receive a $2,000 scholarship, with the high school also receiving $2,000. The third-place couple each will win a $1,000 scholarship, and the high school will get $1,000.

    Related Article:

  • Duct Tape Gown!
  • Duct Tape Craft Books

    2241.jpgEver thought you could design a great prom gown? If you live in the area check out this competition. What a cool thing that would be to have your design sold at Bloomies!
    Here’s your opportunity to make a real fashion statement for prom. Mall of America is hosting a prom dress design contest. The winning dress will be produced and sold next year at Bloomingdale’s.

    Six finalists will receive $75 to turn their drawings into actual dresses. The public will get to vote, and the designer of the favorite dress will receive a $250 Mall of America gift card. A panel of fashion experts will then pick the ultimate winner, who will receive a $500 mall gift card and have his or her design produced by Mary L. Couture for prom 2008.

    The contest is limited to amateurs. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age. Only one sketch per applicant. Visit www.mallofamerica.com for more details.

    Get to work — sketches are due March 23.”

    More on Event Fashion here!

    Creative Prom and Formal Fashion for Guys

    prom11.jpgGuys, how will you express yourself at the Prom? It doesn’t have to be boring or uncomfortable, there are fun alternatives and choices you can make to feel like you are expressing yourself just as well as the girls in gowns. Even if you are required to wear certain things like only black tuxes you can express yourself in colorful accessories like a colorful vest or jewelry and cufflinks.

    Check out this article where the guys are showing off their school colors.

    “Prom will be a chance to display school colors for Carey Fleming, a Clinton High School junior who plans to wear red accessories with his white tuxedo.
    He won’t be alone.
    “A solid third is either white or ivory,” said Jamie Martin, manager at Tuxedo Junction at Metrocenter mall where Fleming works part time.

    Even more Tux advice here in this article “Guys can use accessories to punch up tux”

    Here is someone who really went DIY with his fashion and made his own tux.. out of Coke Cans!

    How about a Hoodie with a tie printed on it? It looks very cool!

    Oh and if you have to wear a tie somewhere it doesn’t need to be boring!

    If you really want to go ALL OUT and get crafty like Mr Coke Can did check out Duct Tape Fashions.

    Or get even weirder and wilder and do something with Pom Poms, yes Pom Poms! Maybe in a Pom Pom Tuxedo you can take out a girl in a Sock Monkey Gown!

    More on Event Fashion here!

    Inexpensive and Stylish

    teen.jpgIf you are creative, inexpensive options can be just as pretty as higher priced fashions and accessories. Here is a big list of places you can start looking in your city. It can be a fun afternoon out on the weekend with friends wandering the thrift and vintage stores to see what might be tucked in these shops. Plus there are online vintage sources to browse through.

    “CosmoGIRL Magazine fashion director Tara McBratney suggests finding a simple slip dress to pair with a “cool, wild shoe and a sequined brooch in a bright color,” for example.
    Think you have the matching earrings, bracelet, necklace and bag to look like a glamour queen? Do as the stars do. Pick one focal point and make it memorable like actress Scarlett Johansson did at the Oscars with her diamond star tiara. If you have a big dress with lots of detail or sequins, you don’t need a glitzy necklace or a sparkly purse, only a long pair of nice earrings, McBratney said.”

    Vintage and thrift stores are also great sources for alternative or themed fashion. If your prom is going to have a 1950’s theme for example, then you just might find a genuine poodle skirt from the 1950’s. You can’t get more authentic than that! Have fun searching for vintage gowns and party dresses and keep an eye out for fashions you can add to your everyday wardrobe. Many of these shops benefit charities so you could very well be helping your community while helping yourself and that’s a cool thing. Vintage gown photo by Dan Henry

    Have a Prom Fashion Show

    semcaorg.jpg Have you ever thought of having a Prom Fashion Show? It is a lot of work but can be very beneficial to your class and to local businesses. It might be fun to model fashions while your friends either model with you or watch as local businesses show off what they sell. A lot of people may not even know what shops are in their own cities so this is helpful knowing what’s available in their neighborhood. Photo, semca.org

    Seeing new fashions up close can save you a lot of time and money when trying to pick out the right thing to wear. Something might look pretty in a magazine, but in person you may not like it as much, or you may like it even more.

    This can also be a great preparation for the Prom Planning Committee. You can find out who works hard and can be depended on and you’ll have a solid start to knowing who will do the best job when it comes to the actual Prom. Fun and hard work can mix and produce something your fellow classmates will love.

    Here Comes Project Prom

    Modeled after Project Runway this event, in Pensacola Florida, allows local designers to show off their design talent. The organizers paired designers up with award winning teen essay authors to work together to design the perfect prom gown with the teens as the clients. The designers have four weeks to create their client’s perfect gown from their descriptions.

    “The second annual Pensacola News Journal competition, based on the hit Bravo TV show “Project Runway,” feature 10 local fashion designer wannabes vying for the title of Top Local Aspiring Fashion Designer. Two of the contestants are sisters competing as a team. Nine local teens have been chosen based on their short essays and they will get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of having a dress custom designed and made for them.” Project Prom

    The website has a lot of fun prom information beyond the contest itself. It must be exciting for the winning essay writers to receive a free prom gown. There is also a link on their website to contact a local service that provides free and low cost gowns for girls who can’t afford one of their own.

    There are many other services like this around the country. Check out this list of services and if you know of one in your area that is not listed let me know. Everybody should have a chance at a wonderful prom night.

    Prom Tuxedo Made From Coke Cans!

    can-suit-4.jpgQuite an amazing accomplishment. Like the fun Duct Tape fashions it shows a great way to express your personal creativity. This guy had a can drive where he and his friends collected the cans he needed and then he crushed and shaped and stitched them into a vest, bow-tie and suit jacket. He even created a corsage for his date! Check out all of his pictures here.

    Other fun can sites:

  • Lots of fun can crafts on Family Crafts, About.com
  • Canstruction, amazing site of large sculptures made from cans
  • Red Bull, Art Of The Can Contest
  • How To Make A Shawl For Your Gown

    sparkling_evening_shawl.jpgSome gowns come with a shawl when you purchase them. They are usually made of the same fabric, and are pretty I’m sure, but if you don’t want that “matchy-matchy” look consider creating a shawl yourself. It could be another creative expression on your glittering night. Photo, Sewing.org
    Dream a little dream of shawls..

    Fashion Themed Family Holiday Gifts

    bigsister.jpg Fashion themed gifts are something you will enjoy giving and enjoy seeing in use, and in some cases, give you something fashionable back! If you have a family member who is a budding fashion model, designer or fashionista, these gifts will make their faces light up. Photo, Bigbrothersisters.org

    Duct Tape Gown!

    duct_tape_prom_by_prozann.jpgI suppose you can make a duct tape gown and tux for any occasion.. I don’t recall duct tape being the fashion for only one kind of event or another.. its fun that it’s used at all! So here is some information on the alternative “fabric” that some folks use. There are also some craft book links too because you may want to make some accessories for that gown once you are done, like this duct tape purse! Dress pictured by Prozann

    1018.jpgThis is how one couple made their duct tape fashions. Their main page is here. Check out their full gallery.

    Enter your duct tape creation in this contest brought to you by Duck Brand Duct Tape Company. Starts March 5 2007, ends June 8 2007. Let me know if you enter and send me your pictures! Check out their past winners in the “yearbook”. Check out more duct tape fun here with the Duct Tape Guys.

    Duct Tape Craft Books

  • Ductigami: The Art of the Tape
  • Got Tape?: Roll Out the Fun With Duct Tape!
  • The Jumbo Duct Tape Book
  • The Original Duct Tape Halloween Book
  • Re-make a T-shirt

    T-Shirt craftA solid color t-shirt can be a canvas for creativity. Express your own style by adding personal touches. Embellishments, trims, notions and appliques are a fun way to create something new from a plain t-shirt. Don’t have a plain t-shirt? Add to, or decorate and enhance the existing art or logo of a printed t-shirt.

    Do you have some pretty patterned old fashions you are going to throw out? Cut shapes from them, remove patches or embroidered pieces and stitch those onto your shirt. Take an old necklace of beads that has broken and stitch those to the collar, sleeves or hem- or all three. This way you preserve the memory of an old favorite garment or piece of jewelry and make something brand new.

    These ideas just take some time and basic sewing skills. You can also use a glue gun. It could be a perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon or call some friends and family over and have a t-shirt crafting party. The ideas mentioned here can be a starting point. Like an idea but have a way to change it around or alter it? Go for it! Comment here with your ideas and inspire others to get creative.

    More ways to get crafty with t-shirts:

  • Stencil your t-shirt
  • Footprint t-shirt
  • Fun t-shirt topped dress

    Other things you can make out of t-shirts

  • Lap-top case
  • Casual pants made from a t-shirt
  • T-shirt quilt
  • Undies out of t-shirts
  • They’ll make a t-shirt quilt for you!

    T-shirt themed fun

  • T-shirt cake and party ideas
  • “T-shirt Surgery” a t-shirt crafts Live Journal Community
  • Preserve an old t-shirt you love