A little while ago I posted up the first part to what was going to be a two-part blog on vintage shopping in Perth, I’ve since decided to collaborate this into one big blog including tips on vintage shopping, and a few of my favourite vintage stores in Perth.
True vintage and reproduction:
For those who are new to the vintage lifestyle there are two key terms you’ll come across when shopping for clothing; true vintage and reproduction, and depending on your style you may only wish to wear one or the other, though most people like to incorporate both into their wardrobe. True vintage is essentially when the item is an original from the vintage years, for instance a dress originally from the 1950’s is true vintage. Reproduction items are vintage inspired items that were produced after the that era of clothing, for example clothing companies like Bettie Page Clothing and Stop Staring Clothing all make and sell reproduction items.
Dating a true vintage item is not too difficult with a little practice, for items before the 1960’s zips were metal, not plastic, if any other fastenings were used they would have been press-studs, and hook and eyes, any shoulder pads would be small and quite firm, and fabric will feel old, and not be a modern material that wasn’t available during these times.
Vintage shopping tips:
Always try before you buy, no matter how well you think you can estimate whether you’ll be able to fit into a dress, its always worth trying the item on, not to mention in most cases the garment will look very different on the coat hanger to on your body.
Artwork by Gil Elvgren
When you’re out vintage shopping always wear something that you’re easily able to get in and out of, I’ve made the mistake of wearing elaborate outfits that take quite some time to do this.
Bring a headscarf and don’t wear lipstick, with a lot of vintage dresses the zipper is on the side seam which means you have to put the dress on over your head, the headscarf will prevent your hair from becoming messy. Not wearing lipstick will prevent you from accidentally damaging the item with lipstick stains, if you cannot live without lipstick, bring a couple tissues that you can put in your mouth, and cover your lips, protecting any lipstick from getting onto the garment you’re trying on.
Bring a measuring tape, a lot of vintage sizing is not comparable to today’s sizing, this will save you trying to squeeze into an outfit that is not your size.
Don’t be afraid to ask the shop owner or sale assistant questions about the garment, with a lot of vintage stores they hand pick their items and have a lot of knowledge about them, and in some cases may even be able to tell you about the history of the garment.
Research vintage fashion and be well educated on the subject, while there are a lot of genuine people out there, there are some who extend the truth a little about a garment to make a sale. I’ve not encountered someone trying to pull the wool over my eyes, but I do know people who have.