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The Red Hen’s recent post on vintage clothing and the beginning of the awards season in Hollywood has really got me looking at clothes more closely than normal.  I usually prefer to watch the arrival shows more than the actual awards show just to hear who is wearing what and what celebrities made terrible choices.  Hearing “I’m wearing vintage so and so” always piques my interest for several reasons.  First, what does vintage mean exactly?  Secondly, who wore it first?

Doing some research on what vintage is exactly, I came across some definitions in Funmi Odulate’s and Richard Merritt’s book, Shopping for Vintage.  According to them, vintage is a relatively unestablished term but mainly covers garments dating from the 1920s through the 1980s.  Antique clothing would be considered anything pre-1920 and “retro” is primarily referring to clothing from the 1960s-1970s (see Red Hen’s post). 

According to this definition, I currently have 3 “vintage” pieces in my collection.

First is the red Armani skirt that was featured in our Best of 2011.  I did wear it to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve with a black tank and cream beaded cardigan.

My second piece is a tan leather jacket circa 1970s.  I bought this at the Antique Elegance show back in September and just love the feel of it.  It is a little big so I am considering having it tailored (if possible).  I think it is a really versatile and looks cute with or without the belt.

The final piece in my collection is a gorgeous sweater dress that was previously owned by a former buyer for Neiman Marcus.  There is a small hole at the bottom that I am needing to fix, but this is a piece that I have been able to incorporate into my everyday wardrobe effortlessly.  In fact, I have a couple of other sweater dresses that are similar in shape that are new.

The key to buying vintage is find stuff you like.  Make sure there are no major problems with the garment (e.g., noticeable or large stains, holes or rips that are not repairable, etc.).  Do not buy something too small expecting to be able to tailored to fit. Also, pay attention to any alterations that may need to be done – if you are having to reconstruct an entire dress it may not be worth the investment.

This past weekend at the Golden Globes, there were few celebrities who chose to wear vintage dresses, Sarah Hyland in a vintage Dolce and Gabbana lace gown (Modern Family) and Connie Britton in a vintage Italian dress (Friday Night Lights).  I think Sarah wins the award for Best Vintage Dressed!