I think that most girls go through a phase of being into vintage clothing. Jessica Travis and I went through this phase in 11th grade. Looking back on this time period, however, I realize that we were not necessarily into vintage clothing as we were into ugly clothing. Essentially we would spend every other Saturday morning or so scouring the racks of Value World (formerly Value Village) to make sure we didn't miss out on any obnoxiously patterned polyester shirts that may have come in since our last visit.
We were more into having clothes that no one else had (and trust me, even if some of these clothes were mass-produced at the time, no one we knew was going to wear them) than we were into actual vintage. Plus, finding good vintage clothes at your average thrift store or local salvation army is a lot of work with little pay off. There was an actual vintage store in Depot Town - Apple Annie's - but due to the fact that some of their stuff cost upwards of TWENTY DOLLARS (!) Jess and I more or less wrote it off as too expensive.
Flash forward ten years. I've been dressing like a normal person for awhile now, but I've always admired people who can pull off funky outfits. I've definitely made a few "fun" thrift store purchases over the years, but nothing too exciting. But lately it has been a different story.
I have become addicted to vintage and reproduction vintage clothing.
It started with Doyle and his stupid Gatsby party (OK, it was not at all stupid; in fact, I would call it the best party of the summer). Unable to find real flapper dresses in wearable condition, Amanda and I turned to the internet. Amanda happened to stumble upon Unique Vintage, a site specializing in reproduction vintage clothing with a niche in 20's themed outfits. (Amanda has also chronicled this addiction in her own blog, These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.)
The Gatsby dresses were a huge hit. We started perusing the site more frequently and found the reproduction 50's party dresses. We used a coupon to buy a couple, but even at 20% off, these dresses didn't come cheap. (However, the Esther Williams swimsuits, at just under $70, are perfectly reasonable in my mind considering how well they are made and how much department store swimsuits cost these days.)
As it turns out, 50's and 60's clothing was a lot easier to find than flapper dresses (duh). New London's own Peacock Feathers provided us with some fantastic dresses to wear to sing-along Grease at the Garde, as well as several dresses that fall more into the "every day" category. Theyw ere also more affordable than the reproduction party dresses. We also had good luck at Aequinox on Martha's Vineyard, although the price range was a little higher than we would have liked.
The best resource of all has been Etsy (www.etsy.com). Etsy is a site designed for crafty people to sell their handmade goods, be it jewelry, knitted items, clothing, prints, etc. They also have an extensive vintage section, where individual sellers set up virtual "shops" to peddle their own finds and set their own prices.
The result? Several wonderful dresses, blouses, and even a coat - and unfortunately, an addiction that is pretty hard to beat. We check the site for new stuff daily.
The upside? We have plenty of unique and flattering clothing to wear to places like the Thames River Wine Tasting, Dev's on Bank, and all our regular haunts. We get to class it up. Of course, we have plenty of people asking things like "Why are those girls all dressed up to come to Hot Rod's?"
Because we're awesome, that's why.
Happy New Year!
3 years ago