First off, what is vintage clothing?
Wikipedia says that Vintage clothing is a generic term for garments originating from a previous era. The phrase is also used in connection with a retail outlet, e.g. "vintage clothing store."
So vintage clothing, basically, is clothing that was wore in previous times.
Why would I want to wear that?
There are many reasons why you will love to shop vintage. In this article, we'll weigh 2 main pros & cons of vintage clothing.
#1. Unique, Affordable & In-Style
Being unique in our clothes today is not so common. With big companies making tons of copies of the same clothing, for many different reasons, it happens that what you buy is owned by a few others in your city, and if you bought from a really big company, by others around the World.
You probably already walked downtown, walked in the subway or maybe went to a venue and saw someone wearing the exact same jacket or shirt that you are wearing. I personally experienced that in a club; one guy was wearing the exact same shirt as I was, and a third one had to come and point us out with his finger... Funny for others maybe. But it wasn't for us. As a human being, we strive to be different in some ways, and clothing is a great tool for self-expression.
With vintage, it is not impossible that someone has the same piece of clothing as you do; but it would be only a really rare occasion. Vintage clothing is in fact clothing that used to be wear in older epoch, and it is much harder to find to exact same piece. This aspect, uniqueness, is probably the main aspect that attracts celebrities to vintage.
"The best way to look stylish on a budget is to try second-hand, bargain hunting, and vintage."
- Orlando Bloom, aka Legolas in The Lord of The Ring and main actor in Pirates of the Caribean.
The magic of vintage is that it is accessible to the average person. Vintage is not expensive. Prices usually are cheaper than brand new items. And guess what? Quality is often better too, since new clothing is not made to last like before, unlike big companies who learned that planning "obsolescence" is key for them to make a big profit. Which brings us to our second pro;
#2. Buying Vintage is Earth Friendly
When you buy vintage, you're supporting the planet. Why? Simply because vintage is not about the making of new clothes: it's all about wearing clothes that have been fabricated already! You can see this as recycling.
The creation of new clothes cost a lot to our planet and human beings, and really is mostly unnecessary.
When you join the "fast fashion" trends buying brand new clothes, AKA "fast-food" of clothing, you are using your purchase power to promote pollution, poor work conditions and support the industry at the root cause of this problem*. But hey, I'm not blaming you! I've fallen for it before too.
#1. Body Measurement Knowledge Required
This is not really hard to have, but can be tricky if you are not aware of your specific sizes. Big industries have made it easy for you, because it would cost too much to make clothes that really fit you like a glove.
So you usually have a set of sizes that look like: xs, s, m, l, xl, xxl. Here's the tricky part: those sizes are not standards that all companies follow; each company has their own sizing. It's usually dependant on the country it was made for and the epoch. (I remember buying in the kids of 12 years old when I was about 18 in the US because their sizes are so big over there.)
When buying vintage, you are dealing with a wide range of brands, and it is unlikely that you will know exactly what is your size compared to the sizes the brand dictates. So, as I'm guessing that you are looking for items that fits you, you want to know what are your body measurements! (See ____ for explanations on how to measure yourself.)
In store, this is not really an issue as you can try any item you want. But buying online, it's preferable for you to know exactly what are your measurements so you do not order something that does not fits you. Therefore, spending as little as 5 minutes can save you a lot of trouble. See _________.
#2. Genuine Vintage Online is Rare
Today, many websites sell under the banner of "vintage clothing", clothes that actually are brand new, but of a vintage style. This is not genuine vintage, and can bring a lot of confusion. If you type "vintage clothing" on google for example, you'll notice that the first two websites are claiming to sell vintage clothing. Indeed, the style might be vintage, but they are only mere copies; they're brand new and they can be bought in different sizes.
To buy authentic, genuine vintage online is not made easy, or at least intuitive: just like the internet is flooded with get-rich-quick scheme marketer, it is filled with con-artistry of marketing word-play, since different words bring traffic to ones website. That means that having certain words on a website, it shows to us, customers searching for these words on google, their website, and then we end up clicking on the links that ultimately bring us to their site. Here's an example:
Both of these sites are the first two that come up (on the 8th of October 2015) and have as a header: "Vintage Clothing", and yet none of them sell genuine vintage. The first website at least does specify in the details that we can "Find vintage-inspired dresses [...]".
I do not intend to do bad press, they probably respond to a demand from the public. I'm guessing that it must also be partly due to the fact that there aren't many genuine vintage store that went online. It seems that most of the authentic vintage clothing store are still using authentic vintage technologies; and therefore do not use internet to sell their products.
In short, there isn't much online stores of authentic vintage from what I've seen. Only a handful, and we are proud to be newly part of them.
To conclude, buying vintage is a good solution for us all, no matter your race, your social ranking and your clothing style. It is also a demonstration of your caring for our Mother Earth. It demonstrates deep values: using your dollar to buy vintage clothing supports an industry of recycling rather than one of dumping. The Cons of buying vintage are simply a matter of using ones own discernment. A little bit of knowledge and awareness, and you'll be set to buy genuine vintage clothes that fits you!
*for more info: see http://www.ecology.com/2010/11/02/environmental-impact-clothing-industry/
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