From funky to sophisticated, casual to couture, vintage clothing has captured the eye and the imagination of women from 18-80.
The American Vintage era, 1930-1980, saw the most prolific and diversified production of women’s fashions in the past 150. Through exposure on the silver screen and later through the medium of television, the women of mid-20th century America found themselves bombarded with images of beautiful women in beautiful clothing. They liked what they saw, and they wanted it. Now, in 2017, those fashions of the mid-20th century are once again trending and business at resale shops is booming.
Through the decades that comprise the vintage clothing era, designers often focused their creations on emphasizing a specific area of the female form. An awareness of the trends for each decade can help you find the look that is best suited for you.
In the 1930s much of the fabric used was cut on the bias so that clothing would cling to the torso, a look that works well for those who are tall and lean. As we crossed into the 1940s fashions began to gear toward a fuller figure, a trend that continued through the ‘50s when curvaceous trend setters like Marilyn Monroe personified the look of the day. The 1960s introduced us to British designer Mary Quant who made legs the focal point of fashion as her designs took the hemline to new heights, and in the 1970s the crop top had everyone showing off their midriff. Selecting the proper size in retro clothing takes some adjusted thinking. What constituted a size medium in the 1970s would be more appropriately labeled an extra-small by today’s standards. In general, people were smaller pre-1980. In fact, obesity was all but unheard of. For this reason the bulk of clothing before 1980 did not come in XL or XXL.
The majority of vintage clothing has been previously worn. However, there are occasionally pieces that surface from old warehouse stock or the back of someone’s closet. These unworn pieces are rare and more valuable than their previously owned counterparts, especially if they still carry their original price tags. But beware, clothing that has never been in circulation are sometimes warehouse “dead stock” that was held back because the pieces were flawed. Exercise caution here and take a moment to examine old clothing with the original tags.
Where do you find vintage clothing? Women of the mid-20th century were a frugal lot who seldom discarded their out-of-style clothing, making your Grandma’s closet a great (and affordable) way to start your search.
Vintage retail venues are popping up throughout Indiana. Here in Indianapolis we have two great shops in the Broad Ripple area, Broad Ripple Vintage at 824 E. 64th and Vintage Vogue at 2361 E. 62nd Street. The award-winning Vintage Gypsy, located on the upper level of the Southport Antique Mall, 2028 E. Southport Rd., offers one of the largest selections in the area. Our readers in Bloomington will find great deals at Cherry Canary Vintage, 214 W. 4th Street and in Terre Haute check out The Little Blue Box at 125 South 7th. For store hours and full information you can visit each of these shops on Facebook.
Vintage clothing is fun to wear, easy on the budget and allows you the freedom to break free from the cookie cutter world of “off the rack” to create a look that is uniquely you! Until next time . . . . Linda
Linda Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in down sizing for seniors and the liquidation of estates and may be reached at email@example.com or 317-258-7835