I can’t take credit for my infatuation with vintage clothes. Growing up, my mom would thrift all of my clothes or make them out of vintage fabrics. In colorful layers, scraves and homemade hats, I stood out amongst my fellow preschoolers and many of their parents assumed I was the daugther of an artist. Even after I started picking out my own outfits, I still prefered to wear vintage garments over the fast fashion clothes that my friends bought at the mall.
I think my love of vintage clothes stems from the hunt for retro styles. I love going through the racks of clothes at thrift shops to find the diamond in the rough. At five feet tall, I also like the fit of vintage clothes. While I can try on 20 pairs of jeans in an attempt to find the almost perfect pair, I know there are hundreds of 1960s dresses that fit my petite frame.
Consequently, vintage dresses have become my go-to. Whenever I go thrift shopping, I go straight for the dresses and eventually make my way to the menswear section. Having worked retail, I’ve acquired a whole wardrobe of vintage dresses.
While I still wear vintage dresses every once and a while, I have adobted a more relaxed, Pacific Northwest style to fit with my active lifestyle. Most of the time, I go for trouser pants, a vintage blouse and a great sweater or blazer. There is a certain comfort in pants that I never appreciated until I stopped relying soley my closet of feminine retro garments.
Even though my vintage dresses don’t get as much wear, I still enjoy wearing them. Out of everything in my closet, I have the strongest connections and memories to these dresses. Many of them live in my closet at my parents’ house, but I like knowing that they’re always there.
Over this spring break, I decided to go through my closet and highlight some of my favorite vintage dresses.
I bought this dress at a vintage store on the Oregon coast. It reminds me of something a cowgirl would wear, and I love how the glitter details shine when the skirt moves. The dress has gotten some sun damage and I can only imagine how bright it must have been in its hayday. At the same time, I like how the wear has made the dress more fragile and special.
My mom made this necklace from a vintage cameo and pearls. It is one of my favorite pieces because despite being a statement piece, it goes with almost anything.
I actually bought this dress when I was 12 (no joke) and preteneded like it was from the 1920s, when it is a total ’80s frock. I love all the layers and the ability to drape the dress in different ways.
I’m pretty sure this dress was handmade and it fits perfectly into my “art teacher on sabbatical” style.
This is actually the dress I wore for my high school prom. I knew I wanted to wear a vintage dress, but it took me months to find the perfect one. I could have never guessed I would wear a bright green dress (or a dress with bell sleeves!) But I loved the fun print and the contrast with the orange crushed velvet belt.
Looking at all my vintage dresses, I see a prevelant floral trend. I was drawn to this dress for its striking pattern on a recent trip to Atlanta. Whenever I travel, I try to find a local vintage shop. Vintage clothes totally differ from region to region (the South has a lot of pastels.)
I love a bright floral over a black background. It also totally fits in with the dark floral trend.
I call this my holiday dress because there are not many other excuses to wear a black velvet dress with pearl buttons and a scalloped neck. I bought it at a vintage fair from the granddaugther of the original owner. According to her, she found the dress in her grandma’s barn.
This might be my favorite dress. The minute I saw the green roses, I knew I needed it, and I was surprised when I found out it was vintage Valentino.
I’ve actually never worn this dress out. That is one of the problems with my vintage clothing: many of them sit in my closet and don’t get much wear. But I love being able to continue to keep their legacy alive.