October 10, 2010

Why Buy Vintage? 8 Great Reasons Why You Should…

I realized that there are probably a lot of people out there that haven’t delved into the wonderful world of vintage for some reason or another.  Maybe it seems daunting and you haven’t figured out how to incorporate it into your wardrobe.  Or maybe you just don’t like the thought of buying someone’s used duds when you can buy something shiny and new. I'm not saying that you should run to your nearest thrift shop to pick up some old skivvies, but rather consider buying just one vintage garment over buying a new one and see what positive effects it can have on your style, your wallet, and the environment.  It may help you make that first step into fabulousness you never knew you had available to you.  You will thank me in the end ♡

There was a time when I used to buy more clothing from large chain stores like H&M and Urban Outfitters.  I would see girls on the subway, on the street, wearing "my" clothes. Have you ever walked into a party and realized you were wearing the same dress as another girl? I realized that I somehow lost that quirky teenager inside of me that used to wear the weirdest thrift store finds and turn heads with my outfits (and not necessarily in a positive way! I should dig up some old photos…).  With vintage you are spared these frustrating moments due to its one-of-a-kind nature.  Not to mention that I was just burnt out in general on a lot of the styles that are mass-produced today.  They may be different brands, but they all kind of look the same and likely come from the same sweatshops. Nowadays, I get compliments on a lot of my vintage acquisitions almost every time I wear them. With vintage, you're wearing a rare piece of clothing that very well might be the only one of its kind left.  These older items were produced in smaller quantities than the mass-produced clothing of today. Also keeping in mind that out of the small amount that were originally made, most are probably not still around today. Wearing vintage assures that you'll stand out from the masses and allows you to exhibit your individuality.

Positive Environmental Impact
Modern girls care about the environment and we should. There is no question that purchasing new clothes has a negative impact - whether it's through harmful emissions or sweatshop labor, the clothing manufacturing process is destructive. A few interesting facts: 
- America throws away two quadrillion pounds of used clothing each year. That's 1,000,000,000,000,000 in case you were wondering!
- The average westerner's annual clothing purchases account for about 1/2 the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a small car. 
- The average conventional cotton t-shirt takes 150 grams of pesticides to produce. 
When you buy vintage clothing you are essentially RECYCLING. By buying just one vintage item instead of one new item, you're actually making a positive impact on the environment!  Imagine if you stopped buying new altogether and only bought vintage or used…

Back in the day, I used to work on the sales floor at a couple of clothing stores. The new clothes would be falling apart on the rack: broken zippers and torn seams.  People would still buy the shoddy clothing, asking me to grab them a fresh pair from the stockroom, ignoring the fact that the zipper will likely break on that pair as soon as they get them home.  I couldn't even afford them with my employee discount!  
We live in a society of mass-produced goods. "Fashions" are churned out of clothing mills in third world countries, only meant to last a season before they fall apart. These factories make the most garments in the shortest amount of time possible, all with inhumane working conditions. It's like fast-food fashion. On the other hand, vintage clothing was made with expertise that you won't find on most of today's garments. If you take the time to examine most pieces you'll notice much greater attention to detail in textiles, patterns, stitching, etc. I have a few pieces that have tags that actually say Made in the USA, and some with union tags, so you know that the person that made your item of clothing was at least paid a (more) decent wage.  Vintage fashions were designed to last and be passed on to younger generations, not to fall apart. Why pay a bunch for cheap quality?  I find I’m actually spending LESS money on BETTER quality.

The fashion world is cyclical: where everything old becomes new again. Because of this, vintage is quite versatile.  It can be up to the minute fresh, if you so choose.  It's all in how you wear it.  Pair vintage items with new accessories or vice versa. Mix and match for a hip look that isn't necessarily dated or retro. A “staple” of mine is pairing vintage high-waist pencil or a-line skirts with newer comfy tanks or tees, finished off with a vintage skinny belt in an odd contrasting color or maybe some striking 50’s-era earrings.  And don’t even get me started on vintage pumps with skinny jeans!

How many pieces of new clothing can you buy and expect them to keep their value? Unless you are spending a small fortune on haute couture, just like a new car, your clothes lose value the second you take the tag off of them. There is a collectible market for vintage clothing and many pieces have value that go up with time. Not every vintage garment is collectable, but many are. Because they become harder and harder to find with time they become more valuable as they grow older.  And, like was mentioned before, the quality of most vintage means it'll last longer.

Chloë Sevigny
I was never one for following what celebrities do, but lately a lot of big-name stars have been dolling up in vintage. If it makes an impact by opening more peoples’ eyes to the fashion possibilities beyond new designer (and totally unaffordable) fashion, then maybe some celebrities aren’t all bad *cringe*. For all of the reasons already mentioned, celebs are keen on vintage. Many vintage pieces cost much less than celebrity prices so you can dress like a star for cheap…if that’s your thing.

Fun Shopping Experience
I got hooked on shopping in thrift stores as a child…sifting through racks upon racks of clothes would finally pay off when I would find a 70’s sleek black leather trench coat. It's such an awesome thrill. Whether it's digging through thrift stores, or saving time by going to vintage stores or buying online, when you find that unique piece that looks like it was made for you and no one else has got it, there's a feeling like none other!  Some can be daunted by the shopping experience, as it can be a crapshoot and may require a bit of patience, but the reward in the end is so worth it.  I just think it makes it that much more fun and it’s essentially a hobby of mine.  Jury’s still out on whether or not it’s a healthy one. 

Vintage Has History 
When you buy a vintage dress, you are not just getting something that came straight from a factory overseas, to a truck, to a store shelf. Vintage clothing has already lived life. Sometimes I wonder who used to love my clothes before I did. Vintage helps to give your style character and a story.

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