Vintage and retro have become wildly popular as trends in recent years, and don’t show any signs of disappearing. The wonderful thing about vintage is that it has a story and a history. Not only its own story of how it was created, but the stories of every person that has worn it. With vintage clothes, like historic buildings, you briefly become a part its history as well as it becoming a part of yours.
The problem is that vintage has become so ubiquitous that everyone is now using it. Designers are using vintage pieces as inspiration and making vintage influenced trends, even to the point of replicating some of the more iconic pieces. With you being able to find high quality, vintage inspired clothing on the high street, at reasonable prices, for me it begins to de-value the real thing. The once elusive, beautiful pieces will quickly become ‘ten a penny’.
As the fashion industry is so fast paced, someone will quickly discover a new trend or style that will replace vintage. This should, hopefully, restore vintage pieces to their rightful exclusivity, making stunning pieces for both men and women stand out against the mass produced high street fashion houses.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the high street stores and nearly all that they produce. You don’t become a stylist without loving at least certain aspects of high street fashion, as it’s most people’s first introduction to the fashion industry. I believe and adopt in my own style a combination of the two. I personally don’t own a lot of vintage pieces. I tend to buy vintage accessories such as: ties, bow ties, and cuff-links. I really love vintage accessories, as they add a really unique touch to an outfit that could easily be a very ordinary, generically pre-styled outfit. I find a lot of guys, don’t try and style their own clothes. They rely on the way the mannequins are dressed by the Visual Merchandising teams in stores to show them how to dress. This can be a great place to start, but play with your wardrobe and create outfits that are yours and really develop your own style.
I find myself very drawn to the retro trend that was introduced fully late last year. There have always been a few people that have found themselves stuck in the 1980s but now it’s a legitimate style statement. This way of styling appears to have been adopted by the younger generations. Being born in the 1980s myself, I can understand this, I feel I’ve missed out on so many of the golden ages of fashion. I think the 80s have become a fashion era, mainly due to how non-committal the 90s were.
The 1940s and 1950s were fantastically glamorous eras and deserve the attention that they are now getting. If I have a more formal occasion I opt for one of these eras as inspiration as the tailoring was flawless, and the whole look was perfectly proper. This time in fashion was great for women also. Big set hair and beautifully classic make-up, accompany the stunning corseted dress and structured tailoring perfectly.
So as far a ‘New versus Vintage’ goes, I would say it’s not either or. I think the best looks are created when a balanced combination of the two are used. You can wear a vintage velvet bow tie with a new checked shirt or wear a vintage Christian Dior trench coat over your Topman suit. Anything goes. By incorporating something vintage into your modern wardrobe, you’ll make your outfits unique which will help you stand out, which is always nice.
Photographer: Paul Strowger; www.paulstrowger.com