Last Updated on 7th July 2008
Vintage shopping can be a pleasurable experience, especially when you stumble upon that special one of a kind piece. However, before spending your hard earned money on that all important investment its advisable to arm yourself with knowledge. For valuable advice, it doesn’t get better than vintage expert, and Creative Consultant for YOOX, Holly Brubach. Holly has served as Style Editor at The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker and was also Director of the Prada Sport and Home. She is currently a contributing editor for Vanity Fair and acted as a curator to select each piece in the Yoox.com Dior Vintage Sale which goes live on June 4th. Here, Holly shares her tips on shopping for vintage…
1. When wearing vintage today, the first rule of thumb is: not head-to-toe. It’s important to mix vintage with contemporary, to integrate the old with the new in a way that doesn’t call too much attention to the vintage item(s), just as an antique chair can become part of a modern room. Concentrate on the whole effect and not on a single piece. Many people treat vintage too formally, maybe because it’s “precious.” But one great way to make it seem completely timely is to pair it with jeans.
2. Accessories that best go with a vintage outfit, are ones that aren’t of the same period. It’s important to contrast the old and the new and, if the outfit has great presence, not to choose accessories that are self-important and compete with it.
3. The best way to shop for vintage is, online! The vintage landscape has been transformed by the internet, bringing unique pieces to an avid audience. It’s still worthwhile, making the rounds of the dealers, but it requires a lot of legwork and the best of them are scattered across too many cities for one person to cover.
4. Vintage should be cleaned and maintained, with care! Find the best dry cleaner where you live, with a reputation for handling high fashion and a familiarity with different materials. The most fanatical collectors store their clothes in boxes, in acid-free tissue, to preserve items that are museum-worthy. But hanging vintage items that you wear often is fine.
5. If I buy vintage will I look old? No, but that’s a common fear. The crucial thing is to mix it. It requires a certain self-assurance to carry off wearing vintage. Perhaps that’s why it’s often associated with women who have great style.
6. When vintage shopping, it helps to know a little history, which is easily accessible. As far as pricing is concerned, you can research what similar items from the same designers have sold for. But because pieces are often one-of-a-kind and the demand is competitive, the rule of thumb is the same as for anything else in fashion: if you love it enough, it’s worth the price….
7. How can I wear vintage year round? Some designers, like Emilio Pucci, specialized in resort wear and their looks translate easily into warm climates and seasons. Others, like Balenciaga, were better known for their coats and suits, more structured looks. Accessories are a great way to incorporate vintage into a summer wardrobe. Experiment with vintage jewelry, handbags and scarves to add an accent to the latest clothes in a way that’s chic and personal. Dior’s pieces are timeless and able to be worn year round, making them true fashion treasures to own.