13 Aug

How To Shop For Vintage Clothing

Vintage Clothing shoppers will be familiar with the thrill of finding that perfect piece  – one that looks good, fits well and tells a story. But what counts as vintage clothing, and how do you make a pre-loved piece your own?  Amsterdam-based upcycling queen Lisa Bootsma from NHNCD; gives us the lowdown.

We know history repeats itself in fashion. Right now 80s and 90s clothes are back in a big way. Items like trucker jackets, denim on denim, tracksuits and logo-mania – all trends from the past that can be seen on today’s catwalks. But why buy new when vintage is on trend, affordable, original and sustainable?

First let’s define vintage clothing? Vintage is a part of the world of secondhand, but it’s also so much more. Some say vintage is produced between 1920 and 1970, others say vintage is at least 20-25 years old. It is safe to say that true vintage clothing was produced before 2000, with garments made after that known as secondhand, or pre-loved.

At NHNCD; we define clothing made before 1990 as vintage. But more important than the era of the clothes we select is the quality. Back in those days – before the rise of disposable Fast Fashion – clothing was not bought nor produced to wear once and throw away.  This shows in the quality of the fabrics and the finishing of the garments and it means that clothes made 30, 40 or 50 years ago can still be good to wear today.

For fashion lovers who want to reduce waste and their carbon footprint, vintage clothing offers the perfect solution.  I believe that vintage clothing is (one of) the most sustainable options out there. Skipping the whole process of fabric making, sampling and production results in a significantly lower impact on the environment. Plus you’re giving an item a new life and preventing it from going to waste.

Why produce something new, when we already have something good?

Lisa Bootsma – founder NHNCD;

But where do you find vintage? There are endless options, cities like Amsterdam, London Paris, Berlin and Copenhagen have loads of amazing vintage stores, while Antwerp, Brussels and Paris are also known for their vintage markets. Vintage shopping in stores and markets can be time consuming to find your size and style, but can also be fun and rewarding. Vintage shopping can also be done online, for example on www.nhncd.nl or on the ASOS Marketplace, where dozens of vintage boutiques sell their collections.

The trick with buying vintage clothing is to really own the garment. It wasn’t originally yours, but you can make it yours.

My first tip is to wash it. There is nothing nicer than knowing your clothes are fresh and clean. The first thing I do when I find new vintage stock is wash all garments carefully.  Not all vintage stores do this, especially not when you buy at markets. If that’s the case then make sure you follow the care instructions on the label.

Next thing you might want to do is personalise the garment. Sometimes you are lucky to find a vintage gem that’s just perfect for you. In this case, the only thing left to do is style it with your wardrobe and enjoy wearing it!

If you are not completely happy with the garment, it can be easily adapted. Think of applying patches, ribbons, bows or tapes. Some vintage items are also suitable for embroidery – like denim jackets, t-shirts and blouses. Upcycle them with a short quote or a name.

Other easy tricks you can apply is moving up the hemline of skirts and dresses or make two garments out of one, creating a matching top and bottom.

Then remember to take good care of your vintage clothing to make it last, and when you’re ready to move on you can use one of the many buy, swop and sell apps to find the clothes their new owner.

Editor's note: Featured image via Unsplash, other images are upcycled and vintage pieces from NHNCD;

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