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.

Do you all have favorite vintage stores?  I would love to know what they are! (I also love to incorporate vintage pieces into our home… Denise and I had so much fun shooting at Melrose Gallery!)

17 comments
  1. 1
    danamcdowell | October 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Very very cute. I love vintage, but the pieces I love never seem to fit me (ie, too tall). It doesn’t stop me from browsing the racks of my favorite shops though!

    Reply
    • effortlesschic | October 31, 2012 at 10:11 am

      Dana, I have a friend who is six feet tall and she buys vintage dresses and has them shortened into tops. A 70s print peasant dress would make a really beautiful top with jeans and boots 🙂

      Reply
      • danamcdowell | October 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm

        Thanks! That’s a marvelous tip!!

        Reply
  2. 2
    Jennifer Rose Smith | October 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Wow! Jen, I love this post. Seventies cool, for sure. You’ve outdone yourself!

    Reply
  3. 3
    Yelle | October 30, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Your first tip is absolutely spot on! I always try to remember to modernize my vintage pieces!

    Reply
  4. 4
    Alexandra | October 30, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Decades sounds like heaven… love your outfit, the hat suits you!

    Reply
  5. 5
    debra@dustjacket | October 30, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Love your outfit .. and that store sounds like a treasure trove!
    xx

    Reply
  6. 6
    Elizabeth | October 30, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    These shots are amazing. I love the prints you used.

    Reply
  7. 7
    Camille Styles | October 31, 2012 at 8:10 am

    My jaw is still on the floor from these shots – you ladies did such an amazing job capturing the hazy, glamorous feel of days gone by… And for the first time ever, you have my dying to score some great vintage!

    Reply
  8. 8
    effortlesschic | October 31, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Thanks, you guys! I so appreciate it. It’s too bad we can’t go on a group vintage shopping trip. How fun would that be?!

    Reply
  9. 9
    happykisses88 | November 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Love your shoes/booties… what brand are they?

    Reply
  10. 10
    Sophie | November 1, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    I love your outfit. I have the same shirt from H&M because I loved the print! My cousin bought the pants in the same print 🙂

    Reply
  11. 11
    dana | November 2, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Great article! I write a vintage blog at http://woodstockwardrobe.com and this was totally spot on!

    Reply
  12. 12
    julianne | November 7, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I love vintage! And love the hat 🙂

    Reply
  13. 13
    Leslie | April 22, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    An old post, I know, but the latest one I saw when searching “vintage” on your website. Funny how timeless vintage is, this post really could have been written today and I wouldn’t have known the difference!

    Reply
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