Adding A Vintage Touch

Vintage, in every sense of the word, is something that has been the inspiration behind key looks and colours this season. Collections the world over have all featured a vintage touch. With tweed suits, cable knit jumpers, loafers and chinos all taking a leading role the last two seasons; it goes to show how influential fashion from previous eras are on modern looks.

Many collections found on the high street or online as of late are vintage inspired pieces. But what is true vintage? The word vintage is imitated from its use in wine terminology, and vintage clothing is normally produced anywhere between the 1920s to the 1980s. Anything before is considered antique.

Why Vintage?

Wearing something with a historical back story has always been a conversation starter, but the slow rise of vintage can be put down to its increased availability – you can now spot dedicated vintage stores in almost every city and town. Celebrities have had their hand in the pot too, with many of our modern style icons giving the 50s/60s a whirl or bringing back a time half of them weren’t even born in.

Everyone, although often for differing reasons, loves to do something for the earth too. If you don’t ‘love’ to, then you’re often bullied in to at least pretending. Whether you recycle your food waste or re-use clothing the aim is the same. So with the increased interest in environmentally friendly procedures, re-using old clothes has seen vintage sales rocket. But the dominating factor is how, when implemented correctly, vintage can really enhance your style and break away from the monotony of the overwrought style of the next man.

Buying Vintage

There are various buy-ins to vintage clothing. Along with a few things to take into consideration.

If you’re looking to find classic pieces, check your local charity shops, car boot sales, eBay, markets, vintage clothing shops along with vintage clothing fairs or auctions. Specialised vintage stores are going to value the pieces pretty high, as they know the true value of the garment.

If you’re looking for bargains, try your local charity shops or boot sales along with eBay, this is where you can usually find some very vintage pieces for extremely reasonable prices (or as Michael Hogben from Bargain Hunt would say “cheap as chips”).

A few things you need to take into consideration are the quality of the garment and whether it looks like it could last another generation or whether it’s going to tear as soon as you try it on. Size is also key as sizes will vary and be scarce. Make sure you keep searching and try on whatever you think would fit, oversized pieces can work, but never settle for ill fitting. With these two pre-emptive warnings in mind, you should be ready to jump onto the vintage bandwagon and start implementing timely pieces into your looks.

Vintage or Inspired Pieces

Many brands have developed their own niche within the vintage market – taking old clothes and renewing and revamping them on a large scale (almost commercial) basis. Some of the key players are broken down below…

Priestley’s Vintage

Priestley’s vintage is one of the countries finest vintage emporiums which brings you a selection of one-off vintage pieces from a whole host of designer and generic brands. The pieces are renewed and restored, whilst the garments retain that sense of individuality that comes with years of previous wear. This can include abrasions, worn material, scuffs and nicks – all of which add to the sense of history and originality.

Each garment is expertly picked by hand for its individuality as well as its ability to be mixed with contemporary fashion, making Priestley’s Vintage a great collection to go to for investment pieces that will stand the test of time:

  • PRIESTLEY'S VINTAGE Windsor Square Front Collarless Shirt
  • PRIESTLEY'S VINTAGE Natural Aran Cardigan
  • PRIESTLEY'S VINTAGE Doeskin Hunting Waistcoat
  • PRIESTLEY'S VINTAGE Navy Double Breasted Overcoat
  • PRIESTLEY'S VINTAGE 1950’s Grey Black Suit
  • PRIESTLEY'S VINTAGE Khaki Leather Messenger Bag
Reclaimed & Urban Renewal

Both of these brands are very similar in their nature; they take old items and remake, recycle or restore them.

Urban Renewal is Urban Outfitters own brand line, which is described as:

“The Urban Renewal collection is made up of carefully selected items from around the world that bring the past to the present. An Urban Renewal item maybe vintage, recycled, or remade. This means that our designs are often available in limited quantities making Urban Renewal a distinct and unique collection.”

Whilst reclaimed is available on ASOS and has the message:

Vintage Piece / Claimed Again / Style Restored / Timeless
Our vintage garments have had previous lives. We have hunted and gathered each individual piece for you to lovingly reclaim and make your own. Wear with care…

The great thing about brands like these is that you are wearing unique vintage (or recycled) pieces, but they have been restored carefully in order to make them last as long as possible. Unfortunately when purchasing garments at charity shops or on eBay you can never guarantee how they have been looked after previously.

  • Reclaimed Vintage Russian Naval Shirt
  • Reclaimed Vintage Scottish Barrack Shirt
  • Reclaimed Vintage Italian Army Jacket
  • Reclaimed Vintage French Chino Shorts
  • Reclaimed Vintage Holdall
  • Reclaimed Vintage Leather Messenger Bag
  • Renewal Pop Gingham Button Down Shirt
  • Renewal Pop V-Neck Cardigan
  • Renewal Pop Chinos
  • Renewal Pop Drainpipe Jeans
  • Renewal Camouflage Army Jacket
Vintage Inspired: Major Designer Brands

Of course, a lot of the major designer brands have jumped aboard the ‘vintage‘ (using that term loosely) bandwagon, creating heritage or vintage lines which involves re-releasing old designs that are often modified for the current fashion market. Nearly every major brand has been doing this recently, such as Lyle & Scott, Ben Sherman, Fred Perry, Slazenger, Ellesse and even Jack & Jones – who have only been going since 1989!

Of course, these are not actual vintage clothes, but the cuts, shapes and silhouettes often resemble eras past, and for those that just cannot bring themselves to wear something that someone else has, this might just be the next best thing for you. Heritage lines are often limited edition and come in limited quantities, so you still have that exclusive feel and less chance of bumping into someone with exactly the same piece on as you.

3 recommended brands which have released some great heritage/vintage inspired clothing recently are Farah Vintage, Levis Vintage Clothing and the Lee 101 range. Each one has years of history behind their brand, and so a wide and eclectic mix of styles are available. For denim specialists like Lee and Levis, the vintage jeans collections provide some iconic styles, washes and fits:

  • Farah Vintage The Lang Blazer Jacket
  • Farah Vintage Blue Flannel Check Shirt
  • Farah Vintage Walker Slim Fit Chinos
  • Farah Vintage The Sidney Blazer
  • Farah Vintage Tailored Shorts
  • Lee 101 Rider Shirt
  • Lee 101 Z K Regular Selvedge Dry Denim Jeans
  • Lee 101 Craft Check Shirt
  • Lee 101 First Coat
  • Lee 101 J Lined Coat
  • Levi's Vintage Clothing Crew Sweat
  • LEVI'S VINTAGE Two Pocket Sunset Stripe Shirt
  • Levi's Vintage Clothing Red Light Flannel Check Western Shirt
  • Levi's Vintage Clothing 1920s Chinos
  • LEVI'S VINTAGE<br /> 1966 501 Rinse Wash Denim Jeans
Vintage Inspired: High Street

Of course, there are also high street brands like Topman who are embracing vintage styling. Throughout their product range, you can find pieces that would fit into the key past eras that are trending right now – namely the 50s/60s and the upcoming 1920s aesthetic which looks set to be a major player in autumn/winter fashion this year. If you search hard enough, you can find some great individual items to juxtapose against your more modern fashion-forward pieces:

  • grey olly elbow skinny blazer
Adding Vintage To Your Current Style

We’re not avid pushers of asking you to recreate your whole style. We’re not even offering a nudge to have you looking like a fifties throwback… that would be cruel. Simply implementing vintage pieces into your current style – trying to make them the main focus of the look – is what keeps cyclical fashion fresh.

A lot of comments from friends are aimed directly at a vintage piece of clothing I may be wearing. When I tell them I got it from a charity shop they often feel even more attracted to it that they don’t even compliment my new £180 trench coat I saved a year for. It’s no out-of-place task to add a vintage piece into your look because as we mentioned in the introduction, a lot of the modern cuts and designs have been somewhat inspired by the detailing of vintage garments.

If you’re unsure of how to don that seersucker blazer, derby brogues or tweed flat cap in your every day style, look around for inspiration. Here are a few outfits we found:

Vintage Clothing Look Book

Vintage Accessories

If you’re not willing to wear used clothes, or vintage clothing just isn’t for you, a subtle vintage touch can be added through accessories. Vintage ties, belts, hats, bags and watches can enhance your look but with a delicate touch.

Adding a floral patterned printed tie (inspired or circa 70s) to a high street button down and grey tailored suit is going to add that on trend preppy yet vintage feel everyone is after. Buying vintage accessories is the same as buying the clothing, you can acquire them from the same places but you’ll also need to consider the two warnings. Here are some vintage accessories worthy of adding to your personal style:

  • Vintage Michelsons CHIG tie red white & blue
  • Pierre Cardin Brown Stripped Tie
  • Vintage 1980's Gold Large Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses
  • 	Visconti Vintage Brown Leather Large Briefcase
  • Mens Hollister Vintage Beach Leather Belt 32 NWT Brown

So have fun with vintage, and go digging some classic pieces in places you’ve never shopped before!

Paul M