Taking Retro to it’s logical conclusion…
…(ten points to you sir for the crimp knowledge)
The year is 2009 (or 8, I’m terrible with dates). I’m on Brick Lane with a handful of my friends, and we’re rifling through rails of slightly musky ‘80s floral dresses, wax jackets that smell slightly of old, damp National Trust properties and pointed ankle boots with fur lined ankles. Ready to mix in with our favourite American Apparel pocket skirt and thick fringed hair cut, this is pretty much our uniform for the next few years.
It didn’t matter whether it was the depths of East London or the parade of charity shops on Orpington high street (there used to be about 12 within half a mile which was GOLDEN) and we were hooked. I lived in itchy cardigans that in my head once saw the slopes of the Alps, and I wouldn’t be put off by some sewn-in shoulder pads or some static-to-my-tights reaction a pretty ditsy dress might have.
And fast forward to now it things have come full circle. Although people never stopped shopping vintage, I’ve really fallen in love with it again over the last few months.
The once-forgotten buzz of finding a special one-off piece feels unrivalled once more, and the thrill of a swing tag that boasts a designer name with £35 next to it feels like you’ve seriously struck gold. Shopping to satisfy a gap in your wardrobe is so much more rewarding once you’ve tackled a few rails (or Etsy tabs)- and although time (and unfortunately sometimes size) is certainly a privilege with vintage shopping, the charm of having a piece that’s already packed with life and stories makes it feel a little more treasured, and certainly something you’re less likely to want to pass on any time soon. Plus, over the last few months- without sounding ridiculous (which I already know it will), I think I’ve ‘rediscovered’ my style a little…
Sometimes with my job I’ve felt pressure to dress a certain way, wear certain pieces or tone down my style to not look too ‘try hard’ or to please a greater amount of people. There’s the pressure of shopping and styling the ‘shoppable’, and sharing the pieces that others can get their mitts on which becomes a style tribe in itself- regardless of whether those were the things you’d genuinely fall in love with otherwise. Seeing ‘cool’ people in things would influence my style more than my own taste, and trusting everyone else’s judgement on what was deemed ‘trendy’ was a greater nod than trusting what I liked and myself. Perhaps it’s a long-needed fast fashion fatigue- or a deep (and slightly emo) need to feel a little individual again but there’s something quite freeing about being able to really lean in and channel the things we love- regardless of whether they can be identically recreated or not, or whether they’re cool on a commercial scale.
Another Matinee for dreamy dresses (and a personal dress-shopping service) | Retold Vintage for timeless classics and accessories | Daisy Murray for pretty period pieces | Top of The Town for curated seasonal collections | Human Sea Vintage for contemporary and beautifully selected pieces | Anita Is for seriously sixties picks| The Slow Vintage Shop for perfect denim and basics | Imparfaite Paris for FRENCH VINTAGE people