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Tips for buying vintage clothing
I was lucky enough to meet Katie Reynolds, who owns the Powder Room, and Naomi Thompson who both wrote books for the fantastic Style Me Vintage series (makeup and clothing respectively), when I was in London recently and asked them to share some of their top vintage tips.
Below is a Q&A with Naomi, who hosted a fantastic afternoon at Mary Portas’s Living & Giving store in London.
Where did you develop your passion for vintage clothing?
I was tired of limited options and lesser quality of the high street and saw vintage an as exciting alternative. I also really don't like the pressure that comes with following mainstream fashion. Vintage also allows you get creative in ways that that wouldn't get if you were restricted to the high street palette.
Which is your favourite decade from the past and why?
The 1930's the daywear was just as exciting as the eveningwear. I also think this was the last decade that saw a real old school level of attention to detail. For everyday wearing, I like it all as long as it's a good quality item. There are badly made garments of all eras. I don't try and look period specific, I just wear what I enjoy.
What are your top three vintage shopping tips?
1. Always check the armpits. this is the no1 flaw in vintage clothes.
2. Always hold garments up to the light. This instantly shows up holes or repairs, especially darns.
3. Always check that the fastenings work. This includes zips and checking that all the buttons are there.
For visitors to London who don't have much time to hunt around, where is the best place to find lots of great vintage clothing and accessories?
My three favourite shops of all time are in one place, Brick Lane. They are:
The Shop - vintage accessories galore and the London stylist's favourite (3 Cheshire Street, Bethnal Green London, E2 6ED)
Hunky Dory Vintage - excellent for post 50's European clothing in immaculate condition, best 60's clothing I have ever seen for both men and women (http://hunkydoryvintage.com - 226 Brick Lane E1 1SA)
The Vintage Emporium and Tea Rooms - best collection of pre 50s clothing in the world, better than a trip to the VA and huge (www.vintageemporiumcafe.com - 14 Bacon Street Shadwell, London E1 6LF)
Why should people invest in vintage clothing rather than new?
It doesn't depreciate in value. New clothing is very rarely an investment per se. The value of good quality pre 70s garments has steadily risen in the last 6 years and I don't think it will stop as the modern trend element of vintage means that the current levels are being worn out and we have little to replace them with.
Words and Photos by Rose Jackson of Decadia Vintage, Auckland
27 October 2012