How To Buy & Style Vintage Clothing
Well today’s post is fun. Randi Wood is back & she’s here to share her tips for buying & styling vintage clothing.
You might remember Randi from when she came on the blog to share her postpartum journey with us. If you missed it, be sure to check it out here.
A little refresher: Randi & I met when I was shopping at her store Entre Nous. I immediately liked her & for some reason told her I was pregnant, even though I hadn’t told anyone! She told me that she was also pregnant & so a friendship was born.
Randi is kind, beautiful, smart & an entrepreneur so I couldn’t be more excited that she’s back to with her fun tips & tricks for finding & styling vintage clothes.
Hi Skinny Confidential Readers! My name is Randi Wood & I own Entre Nous, which is a luxury resale store. I focus on carrying luxury & vintage women’s clothing & accessories.
I have always loved fashion & grew up thinking I wanted to be a fashion designer. After realizing how much creativity you needed to be successful at that job & coming to the humble realization, I wasn’t capable of that much innovation, I started experimenting with other facets of the industry.
I studied Visual Communications at FIDM & tried my hand at everything that I thought I could possibly be interested in doing for my career. I interned at fashion shows to see if I liked fashion show production, then at a fashion PR company, then as a stylist’s assistant, all while taking up fashion writing.
What really resonated with me is personal shopping. I love the art of the hunt! I love finding something special & unique that a client might not be able to find on their own or styling an outfit in a way that a client hadn’t ever thought of & in turn feels a new sense of style or has a fresh perspective.
I attended college a little later in life as I was 25 & it was after I had some background in what my parents deemed more “practical” careers. I had always felt fashion was my real calling though & I did not want to let it go. So after an opportunity presented itself I moved to California ( from Canada ) & enrolled in FIDM.
After graduation I kept pursuing styling, taking freelance jobs here & there, but struggling to make ends meet ( it was also the 2009/10 recession, so jobs were very hard to come by ). At the time I had to decide to get back into real estate ( which was my prior career ) & keep fashion as my hobby. After quite a few years & life changes, I was at a place financially where I had the freedom to get back into fashion. At that time, I had been working for myself for so long, I could not grasp the idea of working for someone else & really had learned how to manage a business. This is how Entre Nous was born!
I had always loved vintage clothing & consignment shopping, because I had always felt that this was the best way to find unique & special clothing. An opportunity came up where I had a chance to start a luxury consignment store & I took it!
It was really my dream job come true. I could source, buy & choose all items that would be in my store for everyone else to purchase. I created a space in which I was inspired to work & be in & I hoped that everyone who entered the space would feel the same!
Since having the store, the most common questions I get asked is…
How to buy & style vintage clothing?
Perhaps most people think there must be a science to it, or they are asking because the mere act of attempting to style a vintage piece seems overwhelming. But I am here to tell you there is not a science to it & to give you a ‘stylish’ roadmap you can follow.
I think one big misconception is that vintage is something it isn’t. The real classification of vintage clothing is anything older than 20 years. So that means that … gulp ( this is making me feel old ), anything made before the year 2000 is vintage. Vintage doesn’t have to mean striped corduroy bell bottoms from the 70s or a flapper dress.
Really all it is, is a piece of clothing with a little history to it.
The reason I gravitate to wearing vintage pieces is because I most likely will be wearing something no one else will, as well as the fact that the quality will most likely be higher. Unfortunately, the quality of clothing has decreased. Much of the time a piece you can find in a vintage store will be better quality than what you would find NEW on a rack today.
To make it simple, I have narrowed down 5 important things to think about when you have a vintage piece in your wardrobe that you want to incorporate in your day-to-day outfits.
How Style Vintage Clothing:
♡ Focus on 1 item at a time
Don’t try to wear all your vintage items at once. It is best to take a jacket or a shirt & wear them with items you have in your wardrobe that are ‘current.’
I have attached a great example photo for a reference. In this photo I have paired a vintage jacket with a simple pair of blue denim & a white T-shirt. The jacket really makes the outfit & there is little else that needs to be added to look chic, but noteworthy.
♡ Accessories can be a great way to start building a wardrobe
There is nothing I love more than a piece of vintage costume jewelry! Just as I explained above, a bold vintage accessory can steal the show for an outfit. You can style a very classic outfit & turn the outfit from chic to high fashion.
Here is a photo of me in an H& M blouse & Isabel Marant jeans with one of my first vintage purchases – A pair of Moschino earrings.
♡ If you are looking to make a statement BUY A DRESS
If you are looking for a standout item for a special occasion, a vintage dress is a great way to wear something unique & stylish. As with the first piece of advice, make sure the dress is the only vintage item you wear & style your shoes & accessories from current collections.
♡ Don’t be afraid of flaws
You can’t be afraid of flaws, this comes with the territory. When a piece is 20+ years old, the likelihood of it needing a “little love” is high.
The first vintage item I ever bought was over 15 years ago & it was a leather pencil skirt. The zipper was broken…but it was only $19. I was pretty confident it wouldn’t cost too much to fix though, so I bought it & took it to the dry cleaner. They fixed the zipper for $6.
I still have it & wear the skirt to this day ( pic below ). It is such a classic piece for my wardrobe & probably a piece that I have gotten the most value from.
Also, in this photo I am wearing my Dad’s oversized cashmere sweater that he no longer wanted because it had a hole in sleeve ( I also got this fixed for under $15 ). Both my items in this photo are vintage ( Gucci handbag ) & I paired them with a very relevant pair of Balenciaga Knife boots ( similar ).
♡ Be Patient
This is a must for when you are looking in store & online, ESPECIALLY if you are looking for something specific. If you are shopping in a vintage store, make sure you are dressed comfortably & have some time, as you may have to look at every single item to find something you love.
You must love the hunt!! This goes for online as well. Online can be even more overwhelming, so it is better if you are looking for something in particular, otherwise you can get swallowed up by all the options out there.
A few years ago there was a show on FX about Versace & after that I felt very inspired to buy a few vintage Versace pieces. At the time bodysuits were really having a moment ( they still kind of are ) so I thought to myself “I want to find a Vintage Versace bodysuit.” I really had to search high & low… because even if I found one it wasn’t necessarily my size or I didn’t necessarily like the style. But because I knew what I wanted I just kept searching & eventually found one on Etsy.
I ended up selling it… which I kind of now regret ha – but at least I sold it to a good friend!
Where to buy vintage pieces:
You have so many options when it come to vintage shopping! Here are few of my favorites:
A Current Affair – this is an event that happens in LA, SF & NYC twice a year. It is amazing!! It is a weekend long event that houses all the best vintage dealers in the US all together under one roof.
Recess – this is in LA & a store I loved to shop at before I opened Entre Nous. The owners have the most amazing finds! Super glam 80s & 90s pieces.
The Fine Art of Design – this store is in Palm Desert, CA & I love it. Another store that I shopped at before I had Entre Nous ( where I bought my Moschino earrings ). The owner has all decades & a very cute, curated selection.
Ebay – Ebay is a great place if you are looking for something specific & you are willing to be patient.
Etsy – Etsy is a great place to find lower end or non-brand name vintage items.
The world is your oyster & the possibilities are endless, so I hope my advice helped you in your journey!
Love love love! So many good tips & resources for shopping vintage. Just like Randi said, you gotta love the hunt! & boy oh boy, I sure do.
Recently, I shared a story of how THRILLED I was when I finally found a Louis Vuitton cosmetic bag. What a ride !!
Do you love the hunt for vintage pieces? Would love to know what treasures you guys have found.
+ scope Randi’s first post on TSC where she shared her postpartum journey.
++ stalk the boyfriend jeans you need in your life.