Monday, April 5, 2010

Vintage Tales by Becca

If you haven’t noticed yet, our current contest is Visions of Green! We’re really excited about all the different submissions we’ve received, and all the creative ways to be green. One of our favorites is to purchase used clothing, which includes vintage. This is a great way to reuse and recycle (and it’s pretty wallet-friendly, too)!

Fashion blogger, Becca, shares her story about vintage with us.

Who says time travel isn’t possible? With a vintage wardrobe as my passport, I’m Nancy Drew: I solve mysteries about a vintage item’s history and imagine how it contributed to the life of its former owner. Vintage survived because it touched someone’s life, compelling them to nurture it into the present.

I feel euphoric when I wear something that brought luck to someone long ago – it becomes my personal talisman. To wit, my puff-sleeved smocked dress was worn by my mom during the 1970s vacation on which my dad proposed. Another special piece is my grandmother’s Gucci bag (1970s); my mom bought it for her mother after my mom started her own company, and in turn, my grandmother recently passed it down to me after I got my first job.

Since some vintage motifs are too expensive to be manufactured today outside couture, vintage is ideal for acquiring quality clothing on a budget. I have a cropped blouse intricately embroidered with lace and trimmed in taffeta ruffles (1960s). Vintage is the ideal sartorial investment, not least because it’s the most fashionable way to recycle.

I live in New York City, which has fabulous vintage consignments, but diehard vintage fans make the market here highly competitive. Luckily, my family has a house in Connecticut where the vintage market is more laidback; most of my collection derives from local estate sales, town fairs and boutiques.

In the same way most people don’t dress head-to-toe in a single designer, one shouldn’t sport a vintage uniform either. I mix vintage with my favorite designers (Phillip Lim, Anna Sui and See by Chloé); I’m probably drawn to them because their designs are often inspired by the past. However, one of the most liberating aspects of vintage is the ability to experiment with obscure or extinct designers.

Hollywood inspired two paramount aspects of my personal style: the movie Almost Famous (an ode to 1970s rock stars and groupies) and the TV show Gossip Girl (a paean to New York’s bright young things). One of my favorite vintage items is my Almost Famous coat from the 1970s (named after its similarities to Penny Lane’s in the film); its unknown manufacturer infused the suede and shaggy fur with good vibes. I also love my Travel Joy train case (1950s); Ms. Lane carried a similar one as a purse in the movie. Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf inspired my penchant for headbands; I’m wild about this velvet flower one (1940s).

I love the hunt for vintage so much that shopping trips dictated by necessity tend to become derailed by one-of-a-kind treasures. However, I follow a formula that never leads me astray: love at first sight + staunch negotiation = heaven on earth. There’s no shilly-shallying in vintage due to its intrinsic uniqueness, and one shouldn’t give up a vintage dream due to price alone. Vintage allows us to participate in the history of fashion; what comes around goes around, and it’s a pleasure to be part of the cycle.

More about Becca:
Becca is a blogger from New York City; she graduated from Boston University with a double major in English and Art History, but her passion for fashion has been lifelong. Her blog, Fashion She Says, is a stylish daily documentation of her life, including what-she-wore-when, how she acquired her wardrobe, and the associations attached to certain clothes.

Where do you shop for vintage? Share your thoughts and tips here!


  1. I'm in love with mixing high street clothes with vintage or trifted clothes and especially jewelery, I usually find my little "treasures" in flea markets or in some little shops I've discovered here:). I love Becca's style(been reading her for a while now) and your blog:)

  2. Wonderful outfits!

    Please visit my Romanian fashion blog:
    Thank you!