Navigation Tabs

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Vintage 101: How to shop vintage with help from Posh Girl Vintage

I have always been enthralled with the fashionable geniuses found on websites such as Lookbook and The Sartorialist. After years of following these sites, I noticed a lot of the featured fashionistas shop (and find great pieces) through vintage stores. I began hunting for garments to add to my own wardrobe and realized I was entering a completely new realm of shopping. In my naive mind, I expected to skip through Savers, grabbing a red cashmere cardigan here and a fitted vintage leather jacket there, but was that the case? Nope! Let me paint you a more accurate picture. I stepped into Savers one day completely enthused and as soon as I pried open the rusty metal framed doors I came across crying children with runny noses and the lingering smell of moth balls. The glamor dial went from 10/10 to -10/10 in about one millisecond.

My determination carried me through, and I think I may have even purchased a Ralph Lauren button-up that day from the men's section, but needless to say, I had a long ways to go when it came to what I thought was vintage shopping. Then, as if the vintage gods knew I needed assistance, I randomly came across the most amazing website, Posh Girl Vintage. The site was clean, easy to navigate, and had some really cute things! I was so impressed I even featured the site right here on RemChic. Soon thereafter, the owner Brigitte contacted me and she and her website have been a great resource for me ever since.

I know a lot of you are interested in vintage shopping, so I arranged an interview with Brigitte in order to get an expert opinion on all things vintage-related. This is a lot of text, but trust me, it's completely worth reading. Here's what she had to say:

1) Could you give us a little background information on who you are, what Posh Girl Vintage is, etc.?

We have a page called "A Little About Us" were you can read more, but basically we are a family owned and operated business in Los Angeles, California. My grandmother was a model, and head buyer for two high-end department stores in Newport Beach in the late 50's , 60's & early 70's. My mother and I are the main people who run Posh Girl. I'm the owner and have been interested in well made clothing and vintage since I was 14. I went to school for art and web design and decided to merge my two interests by starting Posh Girl about 10 years ago!

2)  Where do you recommend readers look for vintage pieces?

Back in the day thrift stores were the place to go, but now the larger chains like Goodwill have large companies that go in and buy up the vintage clothing before it goes out onto the thrift store floors, so it is rare to find it there anymore. Online has the best variety and usually if they're a good shop, they will clean them before they sell. So nowadays online is the best place.

3) How does one know the difference between vintage and vintage-inspired?

Inspired is brand new with lower quality fabrics and construction, usually. You can tell right away what is real and what is not. But inspired can be good when you can't afford the 50's party dress or that Ossie Clark piece. There is a reason why a lot of vintage is so expensive. The quality of the make and fabric is just gorgeous! Especially designer vintage.

4) No one wants to buy something that's obsolete. Are there any vintage staple pieces that are must-haves?

That is a tough question because fads change all the time and more importantly it really depends on your style. I personally love late 60's and early 70's so for me those things are must have's. Also, anything Ossie Clark & Biba I love. But if you are an 80's girl then you'll want things from that decade. Vintage never goes out of style. That is the great thing about it, it's a great investment. It's a true classic!

 5) Why do you feel it's important to incorporate vintage pieces into one's wardrobe?

Mainly for individuality. Most vintage is one of a kind so you never see anyone else with the same outfit.

6) If you want to add any more information that's pertinent to vintage shopping (especially for novices) please share your thoughts!

For the most successful shopping experience make sure you pay attention to the sizes and how each site measures. A good vintage site will have a lot of details and information on how they work & size things on their information pages, so take 5 minutes to read it, then always ask questions if you are unsure about something. Compare the inches to a dress/ similar item you already own that fits.

Keep in mind that most vintage will need to be altered a bit to fit you perfectly since, because of the US diet, we were a lot smaller & shorter back then, which is why it's so hard to find good plus sized vintage! I try my hardest, but it is just not out there for cuter well made stuff.

I always list flaws but a lot of sellers don't and you may be disappointed when you receive the item, so ask if there is anything they did not mention if you are picky about the condition but keep in mind 99% of vintage is never going to be like new or perfect.

Something I think is very important, if the seller does not clean their clothing make sure you do before it comes into contact with your other clothing. Remember a lot of vintage has been in storage for 50 or so years. It can have bugs, even invisible eggs, that will infest your closet. I never let anything uncleaned on my work or home premises. I always wash with water when ever possible and even after I clean I store all vintage with a special blend of natural potpourri that repels bugs from natural fabrics like silk and wool.


Post a Comment