The fashion industry itself can be very
vague at the best of times, which is why a lot of people astray away from
getting too involved in its complexities which are often purposefully confusing
to keep the insiders in and the outsiders on the edges looking in. And yet you
don’t even have to enter the inner circle for some parts of fashion to become
worthy of a head scratch, vintage fashion is a common grey area that is so
vague its components are really outlined in any hard or fast rules. What makes
vintage fashion even more confounding is the very thin and undefined line
between vintage and retro which often makes people wonder how a clothing item
can be one and not the other or if it can be both. If you find yourself in these
when shopping for vintage clothing these are some ideas to keep in mind.
Find Some Models
Fashion generally works like this: Designer makes clothes, model wears clothes, people emulate model. The middle step is the most important here because in order for any collective in any time period to feel comfortable wearing what they wear, someone else needs to have worn it first. This means that in the age of the internet its not difficult to find some old pictures or videos of people modeling vintage and retro fashions. If you are trying to craft a look why not flick through the millions of images out there that can be a guide into the past. Old TV shows or even better modern ones set in a specific period (That 70s Show is perfect for this) are filled with ideas for looks and will give you a fantastic starting point, this will also anchor you to a fashion style if you are feeling a little lost.
Stick to a Decade
One way of making sure you don’t delineate from your desired style is to shop exclusively for clothes and accessories from a particular decade. Take the 70’s for example, whether you lived through the time or not you probably already have an idea in your head of what the general style was then. Flared jeans or cords are a staple, tight sweaters and t-shirts with a prominent single motif, big belts or mini skirts, it’s not hard to put it together. Make a list of these essentials and don’t deviate from the list and you will have a solid line of items to leave with.
Check Your Colours
Colour is very important in fashion. Colour use is decisive in every visual art form, but even if you aren’t a colour expert there are some methods you can use to help you along your way. In general vintage clothing has a more muted palette, softer neutral tones and darker colours, while retro clothing gets a little bit garish. If you see something glaring from the other side of the store chances are it’s a retro piece as the styles, sensibilities and printing techniques catered to more vivid colours later on.