On buying vintage...
While on holiday in Orange last weekend I picked up a great little vintage sweater at the local Salvo's. I saw the old fashioned looking label first, and when I pulled it out from the rack I was surprised to see the original tags still attached. Someone had held onto this top for more than 40 years but had never worn it. Maybe it was something she hoped she'd fit back into, or it was something that she thought was simply too pretty to throw away. I wish I could tell her that it now has a very good home with me, and that I'll look after it.
When dating vintage clothing there are a few tricks you can use. My lovely mum gave me Kelly Doust's Minxy Vintage for my birthday and in the book she has a great paragraph on 'Signs of it's era' which I will summarise for you here.
Pre 1920s - Antique
1920s - 1960s - Vintage
1970s - 1980s - Retro
1990s and later - Secondhand
*Although I know of a few young people who proudly wear their "vintage" 1990s clothing a la' Beverly Hills 90210. I myself can't cope with calling any era of clothing "vintage" when I clearly remember wearing it the first time around!
Prior to the 1940s zippers were not used in anything other than uniforms, so if it has a zipper it will be 1950s or later. A zipper on the side is likely to be 1940s where a zipper down the back is more of a 1950s trademark. Nylon zippers were invented in the 1960s so if it has a nylon zipper it can only be post 1960 (unless it's been replaced). In the 1970s overlockers were widely used. 1980s clothing looked to the 1950s so it's easy to be confused - check for overlocking and nylon zippers to determine if you've found an authentic 1950s dress or a 1980s inspired one.
So with a new book about vintage clothing in hand and two towns of undiscovered op shops waiting to be trawled through, there was really only one thing left to do. The op shops of Bathurst and Orange definitely didn't disappoint, I have never seen so much authentic vintage clothing in all my years of thrifting.
My first find was the little knit top I mentioned earlier. It has a cotton zipper placed down the back of the top - those clues plus the style of the tags make me think it's either from the 1950s or 1960s. The only problem with it was the colour. I'm not a bright sky blue kind of girl, that colour does nothing for me at all. So today, I bought some trusty clothing dye and turned it into a bright royal blue. I love how it came out, and for $4 for the top plus $9 for the dye I reckon I got a pretty good bargain.
My photographer's assistant was more interested in the trampoline than the camera this afternoon so I had to make do with a self portrait. I'll try and get a better photo this weekend when Mr J is around so you can see the shape.
My next revamp is a floor length brown and orange 60s dress that had my husband saying "Erm.. ah, I'm not even sure what to say about that...." when I excitedly popped it into my basket. Can't wait.