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There is nothing worse than rocking up to a bar to find someone wearing the exact same outfit as you, unless of course it actually looks better on them.
But there is an almost foolproof way of ensuring you avoid such fashion faux pas, by turning your hand to a bit of vintage shopping.
“Every high street up and down the country looks the same, which makes it increasingly difficult for us to buy something unique,” says Tara Nash-King, Founder of chicandseek.com.
“Buying something vintage sets you apart from the crowd and from trends that define a season. I think women find this empowering.”
In the age of stylists and copycat fashion, nothing brings you more style kudos than the phrase, ‘Oh this? It’s just a little vintage piece I picked up from a store in the middle of absolutely nowhere.’ Smugness aside, vintage shoppers are definitely onto something.
Katy Coe, owner of online vintage boutique, vintagedeli.co.uk agrees. “Vintage clothing is far better than modern clothing, it has history and it is more eco friendly.
"Every season we see trends falling off the catwalk into high street stores, that are recreations of clothes from the 40s, 50s, 60s and so on, why wouldn’t you want to buy the original?”
The beautiful Chic&Seek changing rooms
Gorgeous vintage finds at Vintage Deli
Vintage clothing is not to be confused with second hand shopping. Charity shops like Oxfam need to rely on donations of unwanted clothes, whereas the items you will find in vintage stores will have been carefully sourced and tracked down.
Lynnette Peck Bateman, owner of lovelysvintageemporium.com explains the allure of a vintage item. “You will be buying into a piece of fashion history; if it is a designer piece it will be an investment and gain in value. You will be wearing a one-off and you are not going to bump into someone else wearing the same item.”
1980s Isadora Paris Toucan Necklace and 1980s Gianni Versace Metal Flowers Necklace at Lovely's Vintage Emporium
If you don’t yet own a piece of history, it’s time to get your Choos clicking away from the high street, to seek out your local vintage store. It’s easy to go overboard, so to avoid looking like you’ve raided your Aunt Vera’s loft, start off by introducing retro accessories into your wardrobe.
A vintage handbag, like an Hèrmes find by Chic&Seek, will add individuality to a modern outfit. Stores like Urban Outfitters and Rigby & Peller often use vintage fabrics or vintage inspired shapes in their collections, which is a great way to experiment, until you find your own vintage style.
But be warned, fashionistas may get addicted to the rush of bagging a vintage find. “I try and do competitive shopping trips as often as I can,” says Tara. “I bought a fab Louis Vuitton Noe bag, in a chestnut brown. I paid £360 for this bag, brand new now it would be £1000. It’s a classic shape, first designed in 1937 to carry bottles of champagne. It’s unlikely I would re-sell this one for a long while. She's a keeper!”
•Lynnette says: “Ensure you try some pieces on, as vintage sizes are different to ones now. For example, a vintage UK size 10 is now about a 6-8, as women were much smaller in times past.”
•Tara says: “Be prepared to be patient! Sometimes you have to sort through tightly packed rails. Be friendly with shop assistants, they should know their stock and be able to quickly pull things out that suit your requirements. Also don't be surprised at the prices, buying vintage does not mean buying cheap!”
•Katy says: “Always ask questions about the garment, try and be as sure as possible of age and be aware that vintage means 25 years, or older. Check zippers and fastenings, also check the garment for any stains and general wear and tear, any respectable shop will mention bits like this on the tag.”
Top Tips for Novice Vintage Shoppers...