|The Best Guest: Guest post today is by the fabulous ROZ JANA of Clothes, Cameras and Coffee|
I am thrilled to have one of my all-time favorite style bloggers as my guest today. The uber-lovely Roz, of Clothes, Camera and Coffee is taking time out of her busy school schedule and is sharing why she loves to shop vintage. If you haven't had the chance to check out her blog, please do so right now! Roz is a talented writer, stylist and photographer who also happens to pass easily for a fashion model. So without further ado, the fabulous Roz:
Why do I buy vintage? It’s hard to articulate what sparked the habit – but it must be hereditary. In the same way that a tall father might pass down a height gene to his equally lanky son, several female generations of my family have colluded to make vintage clothing a real passion of mine. Of course, I’m sure that my great aunt Vi, with her matching hats, gloves and shoes had no idea that she would one day inspire a girl she wouldn’t even live to meet, some way further down the family tree. But she did nonetheless. I am instantly swayed by forties suits, fifties evening gowns, sixties mini-dresses and a whole riot of other items.
This particular love for vintage, especially the decades stretching from the twenties to sixties, has been quite an expensive habit. However, I believe that it is much more worthwhile to spend money on one exquisitely crafted jacket rather than a dozen or so things from a high street shop. Plus, my family, as well as inspiring me in my vintage choices, have been kind enough to leave behind some choice items of clothing that have winged their way to me. There is the red satin evening coat that was my paternal great-grandma’s and my maternal great-grandma’s costume jewellery.
However, when I am not experiencing the joys of inherited clothes, there are several places that I frequent for my vintage fix. They range in scale – both in price and availability.
The first is my local charity shop.
This is the most unpredictable – making it frustrating and rewarding in turn. One must search through the mismatched hangers, pushing aside the farmers’ fleeces in order to find a rare treasure – such as Jean Paul Gaultier. Many of the charity shops near where I live are quite homogenised now, but this one remains a constant mixture of the ugly, the tacky and the wonderful. ‘Needle in a haystack’ often comes to mind.
The next step up is ‘flea’ and antique markets. As with the charity shop, I have my local stall that I visit whenever I have the time. I have more vintage winter coats than any girl could ever need, and all due to the lovely stall holder who will set aside things especially for my mum and me. She’s a good saleswoman!
I have also been to the occasional ‘vintage fair’, where every style and colour can be found in the souk-like set of stalls. Many argue over the best method for getting the most for one’s money. Some swear by dressing in a very un-pre-possessing manner, in the hope that the stall holder will offer things for reasonable prices because they assume you don’t know what you are looking for. However, sometimes the reverse is true - an eye-catching outfit and a loudly expressed knowledge of vintage fashion can indicate that you will not be fobbed off easily. I tend to go for the latter.
Vintage fairs are enjoyable, for the simple reason that there is so much choice under one roof. Who knows what you might find? I once came home from a vintage fair laden down with a green sixties fringed two-piece, an Erdem-like floral silk dress and some Brettles silk stockings.
Inevitably these places are sometimes a little pricier. Do not be afraid to look thoughtful and say you will have to “think about it” – in my experience, if the item is quite unique and unlikely to be bought by others (or an unusual size), the stall owner might be willing to knock off a percentage of the price.
Finally there are the vintage shops. I put these into two categories – low end and high end. Low end vintage shops tend to be stuffed to the high hills with stock that must be panned for gold (or in my case a blue velvet cape or emerald green twiggy-esque shoes). The prices here will be acceptable, and there is much fun to be had in the process of searching.
The high end ones are the equivalent of tailor made or couture shopping. Each vintage garment will be handpicked and in pristine condition. There might be an overarching theme – my favourite for example (a place called Bertie’s) is decorated like a 1940s or 50s boutique. The room is scented and the music crackles. Vintage Vogues rub soft shoulders with a giant marabou trimmed fan. The rails display carefully selected dresses and suits. There are items that one goes back to again and again before saving up and finally buying, and the clothes when they eventually come home wrapped in tissue paper will be worn for life.
That is where the beauty of buying vintage lies – in the longevity of the clothes. Stories from the past mingle with new adventures... And besides, we all need a little glamour from time to time.
If you haven't already, be sure to add Roz to your MUST READ blogroll!