Vintage Fashion in a Modern World
December 18, 2013
•IADT General, Fashion Design
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Vintage fashion has been growing in popularity since the early 1990s and is now hotter than ever. This appreciation of the romance of vintage is reflected in more than just clothing styles, but also in interior design trends and in the media. So many current television series and movies are set in the past, and the music scene also reflects several era-based subcultures, from swing to rockabilly.
This prevalence in popular media has translated to increased demand by consumers. Great value is placed on owning a piece of the past that can be enjoyed now and will likely outlive new fashion fads that come and go.
The fact is, vintage items are known for quality, craftsmanship and timeless design, so it's no wonder there has been such a reemergence of these styles among those with distinguished and exacting tastes.
What Truly Defines Vintage?
The term vintage describes items that authentically reflect a definable time period that falls within the past 20 to 100 years. Vintage clothing can be original pieces as well as those recreated from salvaged textiles or just newly manufactured in vintage style. Authentic vintage clothing is from the period, is constructed from quality materials and features fine detailing and remarkable craftsmanship. Most vintage textiles come from natural sources and include pure silk, cotton, wool and linen, and many use unique and whimsical patterns that remind us of bygone times.
Vintage fashion is appreciated by individuals from all walks of life—from consumers to performers—but authentic vintage designs are also sought after by collectors who view these items as investments. These authentic pieces must be preserved in pristine condition to be of maximum value. There is also a market for hobbyists who specialize in reviving well-made pieces, repairing damage and wear and then restoring or repurposing these items for personal enjoyment or for resale.
Some mainstream retailers have tried to harness the vintage fashion trend by attempting to mass-produce clothing that has some elements of vintage styling; however, history buffs and vintage collectors typically demand authentic items.
Vintage Clothing in the Fashion World
The contemporary fashion world continues its love affair with vintage flashbacks. Runways are showing off polka dots, color blocking and metallics. Models strut on the catwalk in boots with buckles, chunky costume jewelry and lots of velvet and lace detailing. These styles are showing up on the street in such forms as metallic brocade and velvet from the 1920s to pencil skirts and sequins that were popular in the 1950s. There are splashes of vintage to be seen everywhere you go!
How to Wear Vintage Fashion
In order to wear vintage fashion without appearing to be dressed in a costume, finding a careful balance is key. Pick a focal point. For example, if you start with a contemporary basic, choose vintage accessories as accents. If you opt for a vintage piece as your focal point, then accent with modern jewelry.
To express your love for vintage every day and create a modern vintage blend, stock up on modern basics and vintage accessories like beaded jewelry, patterned scarves, funky shoes and fantastic hats. There are lots of ways to create a distinctive, stylish look without spending a fortune. Just keep an eye out for charming accessories wherever you go, keeping in mind that vintage character can be added with something as simple as ribbons, lace, ruffles and even feathers.
Incorporating vintage flair into your wardrobe can be fun, affordable and suited to any occasion. The key is finding a proper mix of vintage and modern elements that complement each other to create a balanced, tasteful look.
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