One of Rust and Fray’s favorite eco-shopping tips is to check out the vintage and second-hand stores. Clothing before the rise of fast-fashion is repairable, sturdier, and will last you longer than the fast fashion shopping gear, because back in the day clothing was built to actually last you. And rescuing clothing and material from the landfill is always more eco-conscious than buying new. So here are some tips for rocking your old-school fashion finds.
The first tip to rocking those vintage pieces is to play a little mix and match. The worry that a lot of people have when trying out old clothing is that they’ll end up looking like they’re performing in a period movie. An easy way to get around that is to mix up the periods. A vintage skirt and a vintage blouse may look too old school for you, but switch out the blouse for some flirty Reformation top, or switch out the skirt with your favorite denim shorts, and you’ve got a very interesting silhouette and an outfit with depth. Similarly, grandpa’s Hawaiian’s and a modern pair of colorful chinos are all the rage these days (and not to go hipster here, but I’ve been doing that since like 9th grade, so it’s ‘bout time someone appreciated it).
Similar to the last tip, vintage looks go really well with modern accessories. A vintage sundress and a fun Kate Spade bag go together like peanut butter and jelly, and if you want an eco friendly bag to go with your second hand shopping spree, you can always try something chic and upcycled. If you’re worried that Grandma’s 1950’s dress is a little too housewife for you, switch out the big pearls for chic, minimal necklaces and bracelet. Mid 20th century fashion was all about matching metals in your jewelry, so mix it up to break the mold. That old school James Dean jacket will look fantastic with a modern watch. And as always with any fashion article we write, never forget to have fun with scarfs.
Now, we love deep red pin-up makeup and heavily styled shiny salon curls, but if you have that and the vintage clothing you’ll look like you stepped out of a time-machine. But letting your hair down (literally and figuratively) while rocking grandma’s wardrobe will transform your look. A dress from the nineteen-sixties but ditching the Jackie O hair for an edgy undercut and throwing in a shiny modern eyeshadow design will give you a very fashion forward look made from yesterday’s clothing. The tweed jacket over suspenders might make you look like an someone's professor, but add that “more on the top” haircut plus some light stubble and you’ll turn heads.
If you’re still worried about toeing the line between vintage look and your 21st century life, try picking one vintage article per outfit. Pick one vintage blazer, or one hat front the 2nd hand store, or one skirt, or whatever, and plan the rest of your outfit around it. Let the vintage piece become the outfit's statement, and so there’ll be no way the outfit will look too vintage for you.
Never be afraid to take the scissors and the needles to your second hand store finds. Love the dress but want it shorter? Love the shirt but the cuffs are just a little too over the top for you? Your imagination is the limit. Don’t let one or two small things stand in the way of the otherwise perfect second hand find. Older clothing are generally tougher too, so you can alter it with less worry about damaging it.
And finally, don’t miss out on have the clothing options because of a label. There is a whole world of Grandpa’s old Hawaiians waiting to be raided by savvy women who know how to rock them. Men especially need to learn to be more comfortable crossing the great gender divide. Know that this doesn’t mean immediately jumping into the dress section (although that’s okay if that’s you). Just play around with some outerwear, hats, or bags and see if there’s anything you’d like to add to something you already wear. Find what looks good on you, regardless of where it comes from or who owned it once.
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