Vintage shopping can be a bit intimidating, what with the massive selection and range of styles that cross era upon era. Plus, if you wear all vintage outfits, all the time you run the risk of appearing to contrived and costume-y, which, let's face it, isn't a good look for today's modern gal.
On Saturday, November 5th and Sunday, November 6th, Y&YFV is teaming up with Melissa Blumberg, #girlboss of Seven Wonders Vintage, to host a vintage clothing pop-up shop in our Y&YFV store on 77 Franklin Street, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
The following is a guest post by the eagle-eyed Melissa. Here, she gives us her tips and tricks on how anyone (yes, YOU!) can successfully incorporate vintage style into a modern-day wardrobe.
Here’s a secret: When I go into a vintage clothing store—even though I already have hundreds of vintage pieces I’m trying to sell—I still always have to look at (and buy!) that special piece that seems like it was made just for me. Vintage shopping is really treasure hunting and recycling, all in one. I do most of my buying for the shop at estate sales, so it brings me joy to find closets stuffed with clothing from decades ago that an owner couldn’t bear to part with. By bringing these once-loved pieces home, I’m giving them new life. Not only is second-hand shopping fun—it’s also more ethical.
Now I’m not saying that everything you wear has to be vintage: I don’t wear 100% vintage everything. My New Balance sneakers are new! So is my favorite dress. But working in a few, great, vintage pieces will really take your wardrobe to the next level.
Combining vintage pieces with modern ones makes your style more unique (and it saves you money, too). Anyway, most current trends are mixtures of previous generations’ fashion ideas—and sometimes they’re even direct knock-offs. It’s quite possible that the Steven Alan button-down you’ve been eyeing has a vintage twin sister who’s just waiting to be scooped up.
Wondering how exactly to blend vintage pieces into your non-vintage wardrobe? Here’s what I recommend:
I know the idea of wearing second-hand shoes is very icky to some people. So what do I do when I come home with a new pair of old shoes? I Lysol those puppies up! You can also add a fresh insole for extra protection.
When I first became interested in vintage clothing it was 99% about the shoes. Back then, I was in college and had very little money—and I wanted more shoes than I could afford. And not just any shoes, either. I wanted special shoes: Specifically, pink-and-white saddle shoes (which I found and loved for years) and leather cutout shoes. But leather is expensive! And cutouts are fancy (which = expensive). In fact, everything I wanted in a shoe (even simple durability!) was too expensive to purchase new.
So, I started doing this thing where I would identify new shoes that I wanted to own but couldn’t afford, and began looking for good vintage versions. This was surprisingly easy to do. These days, fashion designers aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel with their shoe designs. Clogs, saddle shoes, loafers, and ballet flats—whatever it is you’re in search of—can always be found in vintage shops, and usually for a fraction of the price.
One of my favorite looks is to contrast a pair of wild shoes with an otherwise mild outfit. When people follow you down the street asking where you got your shoes you can say, “Oh these? They’re vintage.” (Which is so fun to say and incredibly annoying to hear, right? ;)
At the Y&YFV x Seven Wonders popup, I will bring an awesome selection of vintage leather clogs, saddle shoes, and boots. But, if vintage kicks are still not for you, let’s talk about my second-favorite vintage find…
FUN PANTS, FUN SHORTS
I’ll admit it. I love pants. I’ve just never been a casual dress-wearing kind of girl. Whenever I’m on vacation, I open my suitcase to discover I’ve once again packed 2 tops and 11 pairs of pants and shorts. Whoops.
The best thing about pants and shorts is that they speak for themselves. They make butts look good (or make them disappear, depending) and you can wear your favorite white T-shirt half-tucked into a crazy pair of pants, shorts, or jeans for an effortlessly cool, classic look. (BTW, I think I recognize a trend in my styling descriptions: Crazy item paired with basic item = good look.) Plus, who doesn’t love perfectly worn-in denim?
Get ready! Because I’m bringing wide-leg, wool, and printed pants, flared jeans, ’80s skinny denim, and more to the popup.
Q: What are better than fun pants? A: Jumpsuits! Jumpsuits are my dresses, except that they’re better than dresses because they’re pants. See? I love that it’s possible to just throw on a jumpsuit to walk the dog and later wear it to an art opening, for example. And with the right accessories, the whole look can change accordingly.
Some gals tell me that they’re not jumpsuit people. But for most, I think there’s a flattering jumpsuit out there somewhere. I’ve never seen a cotton workwear-style jumpsuit look bad on anyone.
Be on the lookout for cotton workwear jumpsuits, overalls, wool jumpsuits, ’70s jumpsuits, and more on November 5th and 6th in Greenpoint!
Purses = more fun, affordable things to look out for while vintage shopping. (We all know that when they’re brand-new, handbags can cost an exorbitant amount.) There is no bag in my rotation that I use more for everyday wear than my vintage Coach purse. Vintage Coach bags are classic and perfectly constructed. And they also happen to look better after a little wear. The leather actually feels suppler with every use and the colors become richer.
Be sure to shop the Seven Wonders collection of vintage Coach bags and some fun, one-of-a-find purses—all under $100.
THE BEST BUTTON-DOWN
If you took a peek inside my closet you’d no doubt notice all my button-downs. I love button downs. But more than just loving button-downs themselves, I love all shades of white button downs, too: From eggshell to cream and pearly to ivory. I own more smooth silk, airy linen, and beautifully embroidered white button-downs than a single person could ever wear. I have 1950s cotton Oxfords, oversized ’80s ones with snaps, and little-kid sized ones for no good reason (except that I can’t let them go).
For this, I blame my Aunt Judy: For as long as I can remember she has always looked so effortlessly gorgeous in a white button-down. Vintage button-downs look great with slacks. They look casually sexy with one side tucked into a pair of jeans. They look cute tied at the bottom with a maxi skirt. They can work as a cover up at the beach. And add dimension to any outfit when tied around the waist. Wear one to work, and then out on a date. Vintage button-downs can look classy and casual at the same time, and that’s really the goal of my personal style.
To the sale, I’ll bring white vintage button-downs (yes, even a few from my personal collection) in many different fabrics and styles, as well as printed and solid-colored button-downs and blouses.
Come shop the Y&YFV x Seven Wonders pop-up in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on Saturday 11/5 and Sunday 11/6 to find that perfect vintage piece that mixes seamlessly into your modern-day wardrobe.