The first time I (Jen) walked into Decades on Melrose, I was literally speechless. I was picking up a vintage Birkin that a client was purchasing from Cameron, the owner of Decades and the largest collector of Hermes in the world. When I walked in, I was greeted by glass cases of vintage jewelry sandwiched between stacks of Louis Vuitton steamer trunks, all sitting atop a very loud albeit chic zebra skin rug. Just around the corner is where the dresses began. Not just any dresses either — floor-length metallic Halston, beaded Chloe from the seventies and a Vionnet wedding gown, among others. This was apparently where all of the truly fabulous clothes from decades past came together to share stories. I picked my jaw up off of the floor and collected the Birkin, but I didn’t stop thinking about the clothes for a very long time. When I lived in Austin, vintage shopping meant scouring for fitted band tees on The Drag between classes, but after that first peak into Decades, I saw vintage shopping in a new light, and was determined to begin incorporating more of it into my wardrobe.
I recently picked up this hat at a vintage store and, while not usually a hat person, I was determined to wear it. I played off of the seventies feel of it and decided to pair it with a pair of flared leg jeans as opposed to my normal skinnies. This silhouette does great things for your legs, so don’t be afraid to try it out even if it’s been a while!
Keep the silhouette of your top simple to contrast the extra fabric in the pants. I found this top at H&M for $15 and thought it was such a steal — yhe print reminds me of Gucci from the 90’s! I love the little gold buttons on the sleeve, so I chose gold bangles to draw attention to them. The next top I pair with my hat is going to be this one.
Since the hat is such a major piece, I kept the earrings beyond minimal. These are from a flea market that Aaron and I stumbled upon in Barcelona on our honeymoon. Aren’t they sweet? These ones would work too.
If you are just recently getting into vintage, here are some tips I’ve picked up from my vintage adventures over the years:
1. Don’t do head-to-toe vintage. You will look like you’re wearing a costume. Choose one staple vintage piece and then choose other contemporary elements to complete your look. For example, if you’re wearing a great 50’s Betty Draper-esque vintage dress, update the look with a skinny patent belt, modern shoes and jewelry. People have a real tendency to fall down the rabbit hole of a particular time period with vintage, so I recommend always adding modern and fashion-forward touches to your look.
2. Get it tailored. Sometimes just shortening the hemline of a vintage dress can give it an automatic update. For boxier mod styles, make sure the piece is really form-fitting around your bust and the top of your rib cage so that when it flairs out in an a-line your shape doesn’t get lost. As soon as you purchase a piece that you know will need tailoring, go straight to the tailor! We all know how long it will sit in your closet untouched if you dare to take it there first.
3. Steer clear of big cities. The vintage in LA and NYC tends to be picked over and over-priced. If you are traveling over any of the upcoming holidays, check out the vintage stores in the new places you’ll be visiting. Also, Etsy and Ebay are GREAT resources for vintage. Just be sure to ask plenty of questions before making that purchase. A size 8 in 1950 is a very different size than an 8 today.