Monday, March 3, 2008

A few key points about buying vintage...

I went to brunch yesterday morning with friends and wore a beautiful bright floral day dress from the 1950's. It's the type of dress that I imagine my Gran probably wore to her Sunday church service with matching hat and gloves. A lovely fitted bodice with the original metal side zip and a slight flare to the skirt to give you that perfect hour glass figure.

I don't often wear this frock as the cotton fabric has not been well cared for over the years and it is now very delicate. Yes, you know where this story is heading...on the way to the cafe in the car I twisted around to grab something off the back seat (no I wasn't driving while attempting this) and heard a ripping noise. I had managed a large tear in the bodice right on the left breast. Not even on a seam - right in the middle of the fabric. Thankfully, I had a cardi with me which saved me (although, I almost perspired to death...)
This little episode reminded that there are some fundamental rules when buying vintage:
1. Always check seams, zips and fabric for wear & tear. This doesn't mean don't buy at all if there are faults. I'm absolutely of the belief that some small flaws actually add to the history and uniqueness of the garment. Nevertheless, if the fabric is threadbare, no amount of doctoring will save the garment from the inevitable disintegration it is ultimately destined for.
2. Just because you love the pattern/colour of the fabric does not mean it is quality fabric. Just like modern materials, some vintage fabrics were not made to last. Many are also a pain in the bum to wear. Fabrics like some silks and linen crease and stain very easily and are also hard to maintain and susceptible to rapid degeneration. Underarm stains are a good indication...If there are yellow stains and/or the fabric is thin under there, probably best not to buy it.
3. If it's not the right shape for your body (ie: too tight in the bust, or waist) it will stretch, it will be uncomfortable to wear...and quite possibly you will have an embarrassing moment in it.
4. Just because it is vintage and has a designer label does not mean it is a quality garment.
5. Only buy a vintage garment that you know you will wear and feel confident that you can pull it off. What is the point of buying something because you like the idea of it...You have to also like wearing it...otherwise you've wasted your money!
I (usually) always check zips, seams and quality of fabric before buying


Jen (MahaloFashion) said...

I love these two vintage dresses you picked out, so darling!

olivegrey said...

Some good advice! I am soo lucky. My nan has moved into a nursing home and I am now the owner of BRAND NEW with the tags still on 60s dresses and tops and pants. I am wondering if it is okay to wash them?