A very interesting article in the LA Times got me thinking today about what “vintage clothing” actually means. No one can agree on how old a garment needs to be before it is declared “vintage”. In my (professional) opinion, a garment is “vintage” when it is 25 years old or older. It’s old enough to be off the shelves, and it’s probably cycled through the phases of “cool”, “uncool”, “unwearable”, “funny” and back to “cool”. In that sense, you can determine what is “vintage” by following what comes back into fashion – in magazines and in stores.
So, as an example: 1986, jumpsuits. Here’s a picture of a pattern – you can make that jumpsuit in three lengths, for Pete’s sake. But let’s be honest, by 1988, you wouldn’t be caught dead in that jumpsuit. We had moved on.
Cut to 2011 – jumpsuits everywhere. In all kinds of shapes, sizes, fabrics, etc. It’s cool again.
So, to determine what’s vintage or not, you can look to the IDEAS themselves – does that make sense? Things that were cool in 1986 are back on the shelves. Just take a look at Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, Forever 21, H & M – it looks like the wrap party for Sixteen Candles in there.
What we have NOT seen yet (but I am sure it’s coming) is the resuscitation of grunge – like, hardcore, flannel-wearing, bandana-on head, ripped jeans grunge. Until we do, that babydoll dress and those Doc Martens are not what most would consider “vintage”. Not quite yet. But keep it long enough, and everything eventually becomes vintage.
If you need to get your vintage fix, here are some good places to shop in and around LA:
ReVamp (and hey, they do vintage Re-Creation!!!)
And on the cheaper side of things (and not everything in the store is strictly vintage), there is:
Happy shopping everyone! We’ll revisit this topic when we see floral rayon babydoll dresses with sneaker pumps on the runways in Milan!