This has been rolling around in my head for a while: should you wear vintage clothing for vintage's sake?
Personally, I've never been one of those people who spends many a Saturday afternoon at their local charity shop rooting around for a 90's Yohji Yamamoto, most of my clothes are usually high street or purchased online and my limited experience in charity/vintage shopping probably doesn't provide me with much ground to make my opinion. I do certainly enjoy certain retro old-school looks (tie front tops? headscarves? 50's shilouettes? Yes please.) and am certainly very pleased by their resurgence on the high street, and Oh yes, have I found the occasional genuine 50's fur coat or a pair of delicate, off white leather shoes that looked like they would've graced a young blushing bride's feet on her special day, but I always stop short of buying them for this simple reason: they didn't look right on me.
That leads me to today's question, really. Let me just get it out there now, that when done well, vintage or charity shopping can be a beautiful thing. Now, having mentioned that I have limited experience in charity or vintage shopping (henceforth, will be known as Charitage shopping) I can't fully explain what the 'right' thing is, but I can however provide an example. Take one of my mates for example; she regularly puts together outfits that collectively cost a pound, a lot of her clothes being given to her by relatives, neighbours, friends and the rest being procured from various chazza shops, (Don't you judge me for trying to fit in by using you youngsters' slang nowadays) such as something I choose to describe as an amazingly lumpy cardigan or wolf t shirts. People like her absolutely boss at Charitage shopping, simply because those are exactly the sort of thing she chooses to wear, irregardless of origin, being in the “it’s vintage and I’m wearing it” camp, as opposed to “I’m wearing it because it’s vintage” camp. Another one of my friends scored a fur coat that fits her like a glove (although on one occasion, it made her look like a small owl, but that’s okay, I like owls) but on the other hand, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen a tatty old scarf, tweed blazer, balding fur stole with the animal’s head and feet still attached (I KNOW. I. KNOW. THAT’S NOT RIGHT MAAAAAN.) that’s clearly seen better days on the back of some aspiring fashionista, which leads me again to the question of the day.
Should you really wear vintage clothes for vintage sake? How many times has a well-meaning (or not, depending on your social group) aspiring fashionista friend in your social circle (if there is one.) whipped out an ill-fitting, dodgy coloured men’s shirt whispering “it’s vintaaaaage…..” as if THAT in itself is a justification for what in all honesty, could just be an ugly shirt.
I don’t doubt that some absolutely beautiful clothes were made decades ago and have been passed down, trickling through various means into the hands of someone with a good eye for their own particular aesthetic. But that said, why should you buy something that you don’t feel comfortable in and doesn’t look right on for the sake of it being supposedly one-of-a-kind? Yes, many MANY people wear the absolute balls out of vintage clothes (yes, this is a compliment) but just as many people will buy Charitage clothes precisely because of what they are.
Yes, you can argue that people can do that with high street shops, impulse buy something, realize you look like the Goodyear blimp when you try it on at home, and hightail it back to the shops, so why the big ramble about Charitage shopping? Especially when I myself really like how retro fashion looks?
Personal opinion really, and I stand by it. I don’t mean to lambast anybody who pops into a Charitage shop and unexpectedly leaves with a random article of clothing because it caught their eye, by all means, do it. Just because I never buy clothes from Charitage shops (books however, are different. YUM. PULP FICTION.) doesn’t mean I disapprove of other people doing it, and as I mentioned earlier, if you have the gift of thrifting, keep at it!
TL;DR? Don’t buy vintage clothes if they don’t look good. If they don’t look good but you love it? Buy it. I ramble some more.
What are your thoughts on Charitage shopping?
- Diana x x x