Personally I feel that it is always a good idea to mix vintage with the contemporary. The general goal is not to dress as if you were in a period movie. Vintage works best in pieces. A great coat with a modern top and jeans, a vintage dress with killer hip heals, a vintage skirt paired with boots and your favorite boyfriend jacket! As with any wardrobe item think about how it works with your current closet. I have had many clients buy an item to literally display as a work of art and collectors buy those items to add to their nest egg of clothes or fulfill the need to own that wonderful piece of art. If you are trying to dress the part from head to heal then do a little online research to see what was appropriate for the time you are re-creating. Do you need panty hose, girdles, a Bullitt bra, hats, gloves and what was the jewelry like or how high were the heals?
Fashion Tip: Revlon’s Fire and Ice is a must have lipstick created in the 50’s. It is the perfect shade of red! Remember my first tip; it must be fun for you!
Accessorize! You can find truly amazing earrings, bracelets, necklaces and pins in the vintage market... All of these will enhance your contemporary clothes and add a statement. Notice the color combinations, texture and design when purchasing what catches your eye. If you are starting a collection follow your desires and look for those items that draw you in, it may be the glitzy rhinestones of the 50’s or the art deco inspiration of the 20’s. Costume jewelry is truly readily available and in demand. Your mother’s jewelry box is a great place to start. The sparkles can be diamonds or paste but whatever the budget you have a plethora of choices. Remember to treat them with care as they too have seen a lot of years and use.
Buy it when you see it... Vintage is unique and available in limited edition. Rarely will you ever see the same garment twice! If you like it, it fits and it is in your budget, then buy! The old saying, "if you snooze you loose" applies to buying vintage. I have been the victim of seeing something and literally within minutes someone else has scooped up my treasure and it is gone forever... Well that may be a bit dramatic but it is how you feel in that moment, so grab that item if it does not put your finances at risk. I also suggest that if you are in love with an item and you don’t know where you will wear it, buy it anyway; create the need. I do it with sport coats and cufflinks all the time. I recently attended the Hollywood premier of Breaking Dawn, the latest Twilight movie, thanks to my long time vintage shopping buddy and her partner, and low and behold in my closet was a black velvet tuxedo jacket printed with small bats… When I bought it years ago I knew one day I would need that jacket!!
If you are starting a collection, designer labels will cost more and provide a higher value in the end. It is best to start with an era, designer, color or theme and then let the collection take its own form. Collecting is a very fun obsession and the hunt is what drives the collector! Always look for quality over quantity in collecting. My first collection was anything and everything that was cheap and interesting. I did not really know what I was looking for just that I was a bit obsessed. I now have three collections running with my business partner Doreen Picerne; Hollywood, Scottsdale Southwest, and what I call the New Wave, that includes items from the 80’s and 90’s. Hollywood includes the masters that dressed the stars and were the golden boys and girls of the studios. We have Adrian, Edith Head, Nudie Cohen, Helen Rose, Charles Lemaire.... to mention just a few. Scottsdale Southwest includes Lloyd Kiva New, Leonna Caldwell, Jeri, Kay Bennett, Goldwater’s and just about anything with roadrunners and cactus. The New Wave is really fun. It is in the making but includes crazy, and I mean crazy beaded, sequined pictorial pieces and my new favorite designer Patrick Kelly. When you find something you love you can create the collection! Also remember that the designer most likely did jewelry and accessories, it helps you justify buying that must-have item.
Follow your instincts. When shopping vintage it is always fun to have an enabler along but know that not everyone gets what is going on with vintage. If you are friend shopping and your friend is not into it, find another friend… to shop with! If your friend is a kindred spirit you will learn to eyeball the store quickly and spring into action the minute something catches your eye. Set your rules down early as it is not unusual for your friend, at least my friends, to shove you aside to score that Dior hat! You have to follow that feeling in your gut that makes you pay attention no matter what the peanut gallery has to say. I have several female friends who shop like crazy at the mall but would rather soak in cyanide than buy a vintage garment. I am ok with that as I have made so many new friends who love and appreciate it the way I do. Vintage clothing should evoke an emotion so only buy what makes you feel special, sexy and beautiful or evokes a fond memory. If you laugh, say "oh my", "wow", or feel light headed…. You have found your vintage garment! Warning: People will start stopping you on the street to to ask you where you got that amazing outfit!!