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Vintage fashion. How to buy it and why you should.

Vintage Audrey Hepburn When I come out of a chain store or a high street store because I can't find an outfit that fits me, or I don't like the colours or the styles, I am often upset.  I am upset because I went into a store that is supposed  to cater to all shapes and sizes and I came out empty handed.  When I come out of a vintage shop empty handed I don't feel the same emotions, I usually just think to myself "Oh well, nothing for me today, better luck next time".  I then go back a week later and have another browse to see if the vintage gods are shining on me and to see if that vintage piece is hanging on the rack calling my name. The reason I don't feel the same emotions when I leave a vintage shop empty handed is because you have to shop for vintage in a different way.  Vintage shops contain racks upon racks of clothing all in different colours, sizes and from different decades.  I have never seen multiples of the same frock or blouse in a vintage store.  The trick to vintage shopping is to slowly go through each of the racks and looking at each item individually.  You need to keep an open mind and if you like it, even just a little bit, you need to hold it up and have a good look at it and then try it on.  Don't expect to be in and out in a few minutes with a bag full of clothes.  You need to take your time and really sift through all the treasures.  There are going to be shapes and styles that you may have never seen before, colours that you haven't seen in years (or maybe ever depending on your age!)  and some of the best patterns that yesteryear has to offer.  Also, many of the fashions that are around now are a contemporary version of styles we have seen before.  Think peplum dresses, minis and flares. Vintage fashion My favourite vintage haunt is called Vintage Emporium.  It is located in the small town of Tyabb on the Mornington Peninsula, about an hour out of Melbourne.  It is wall to wall vintage fashion and accessories but it can be a bit overwhelming the first time you walk in the door.  I am a slightly larger girl so I have to be persistent and patient went looking for vintage goodies.  The 1950's and 1960's are my favourite eras for fashion.  I adore a cute shift dress and I love a bold print.  We seem to shy away from prints these days and go for plain or black to be on the safe side.  Vintage pieces can have some of the craziest prints - some that are even too crazy for me - but it is worth trying the piece on anyway just in case it looks awesome on you.  There is so much nostalgia attached to vintage pieces and when I walk through the door at the Emporium I am transported to another time and place.  I can easily burn through an hour browsing and trying on clothes and I will not always come away with anything but when I do find that fabulous piece I just have to take it home. The tailoring of vintage clothing can be superb.  Most suits were tailor made, there was very little mass production.  For those pieces that are just a bit too small, there is often a larger seam allowance which can be let out.  Pieces that are a little too big can be tailored to fit and it will probably cost you less for the item and the tailoring than buying a brand new piece.  A good vintage seller will have a good idea what era an item is from but not every item will have a tag telling which decade the item was made in.  If the owner of the stall or store has not given a date range for their piece but it has a washing label stitched inside you can safely assume that it is from the 1970's onwards.  And polyester came in during the 1950's so anything made from polyester is going to be mid-century or younger. Another thing you have to bear in mind is that some pieces are handmade so they will have no tags but this does not mean they are going to look homemade.  Women used to have fantastic sewing skills, they were often taught by their mothers or grandmothers and the skills had been passed down through the generations.  Fashion was not disposable, items were cherished.  Just because something is handmade does not mean it is going to fall apart at the seams.  I have seen mass produced department store items fall apart after three washes, but the vintage piece on the hanger has lasted many, many years. On my last visit to the Emporium, I hit the jackpot.  I found a gorgeous blue frock with a sumptuous blue and green pattern.  The dress is handmade from silk and it is a stunner.  I picked it up and then put it back.  Then I picked it up again and took the advice I give everyone else.... I tried it on.  The frock fit like a dream and I left the shop smiling albeit $40 lighter, but to me it was a bargain!  I have worn the dress twice since I bought it and both times I have received compliments about the frock and how I looked in it. Vintage Silk Frock If you have never tried vintage then give it a go.  You might just find your own silk frock that makes you feel graceful and glamorous.   Don't let the creativity die in you ~ Leanne    

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