I fell in love with vintage clothing before I learned the importance of reusing clothing for the benefit of our beloved planet. I have never been one to blend in with the crowd and I suppose I instinctively gravitated towards unique and one-of-a-kind pieces because I knew I’d never have to worry about showing up to a party dressed in the same generic outfit as the next girl. I’ve always had my own style and find it extremely difficult and futile to search for something authentically ‘me’ in the fast fashion masses. I think many girls, and guys, can relate. I’ve decided to start a vintage series whereby I post (try) a select few vintage items that I have collected during my 23 years (try being the operative word).
The first ensemble consists of two inherited pieces that somehow wound up in my closet; ‘somehow’ meaning I saw and I wanted, and ‘wound up’ meaning I, with much intention, added to my extremely large wardrobe. I used to have so much clothing growing up. I used to hold on to pieces even though I hadn’t worn them in over a year, justifying my decision to keep them by telling myself that they were in good condition and I will wear them one day soon. I really do take care of my clothing though. I don’t view them as disposable things, as many consumers do. I see them as investments, which they are. However, today I’m less forgiving of a cluttered closet and loathe having anything more than I need. I probably wear a variation of the same ten pieces on the daily, and even though I am in dire need of warmer clothes, I like to keep my closet small and refined.
This skirt is perhaps my favourite vintage piece. Besides it’s striking colour, the detailed buttons and therefore adjustable slit is something you don’t see very often. I never wear it because I don’t go anywhere near deserving of it’s fanciness. This cropped jersey on the other hand is my go to for some extra warmth and is perfect for my preference of high waisted bottoms. It’s old and the buttons almost always pop open but it’s so lovely and it’s one of the few pieces that even my minimal wardrobe aesthetic can’t persuade me to let go of.
This outfit is chic, timeless and classic. It makes me think about my grandmothers’ era, when ladies dressed like only ladies could. Every occasion that required leaving the house was considered an outing and both women and men dressed accordingly. I wish I possessed even a quarter of that motivation (and energy). My gran, at the ripe old age of 83, still dyes her hair black and puts curlers in her hair before bedtime. I probably wear my pyjamas more than any other outfit I have, and it really has to be a special occasion for me to whip out the mascara, let alone the eyeliner. But we’re all for natural beauty now, right? For real though, I actually really like make-up. I just don’t like putting it on my face.
That reminds me. If there is a make-up artist or even a make-up enthusiast who’d like to paint my face for a blog shoot here and there, please please get in contact!
I am thoroughly convinced that these exact pants featured somewhere at Woodstock ’69. I found them in one of many ancient trunks that my late oma had accumulated over her years. I think it belonged to one of my mom’s sisters but I’m not sure which one. Anything that lasts decades in an old metal storage trunk and doesn’t completely disintegrate upon renewed use gets an A+ for quality!
I went all the way with this outfit and paired these ‘hippie’ pants with the second most ‘flower-power’ piece I own. Too be honest, I don’t think this is how you’re supposed to wear this blouse, but I like it this way. Definitely a festival look for sure! Here is another look where I wear this ‘blouse’ as a dress.
7 quick reasons to shop vintage:
- It’s sustainable. The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world, after oil. By shopping vintage, we can minimize demand for new production, subsequently reducing pollution.
- Better quality. They just don’t make clothes to last anymore. Because of constant new trends and greater competition for cheaper prices, brands overlook quality and longevity of their clothing.
- Never goes out of style. It’s a universal agreement that fashion comes full circle, therefore vintage is always in.
- It’s unique. It’s highly unlikely that someone else will have the exact same vintage piece as you.
- Greater value. Because of it’s uniqueness and quality, you’ll view it as less disposable and more of an investment.
- Community growth. Instead of your money ending up in the pockets of billionaire fashion moguls, who exploit the environment and the people who make their clothing, the money you spend at your local thrift store stays within the community and often goes towards a charitable cause.
- Save water. It can take 2,700 liters to produce the cotton needed to make one t-shirt.
PAINT IT BLACK
A trench coat: A wardrobe staple if you live in Johannesburg. Another inherited vintage piece from my late oma, this coat is the epitome of stylish and functional. Many a time has this sartorial coat doubled as a protector from the elements as well as a transformer of seemingly dull outfits into showstoppers.
Last but certainly not least, I present to you these incredible white denim jeans. I think having a solid trio of black, white and blue jeans are essential for any well curated wardrobe.
During my teen years I bought into the whole idea of getting more for your buck and buying a whole lot of cheap clothing items that I didn’t need nor necessarily want but bought because it was cheap. Post-teen me developed an affinity for conscious consumerism. I think it’s important to realise how much power we, the consumers, hold. We determine what sells and if we refuse to buy anything of inferior quality, the supply chain will be forced to up their game. We determine what sells.
We also have to realise that the quality of a garment (and the quality of a life) comes with a higher price tag, and so it should. We are fooled into thinking we can afford these ‘cheap’ items, so we buy more and end up buying a whole lot of inferior quality clothing when we could (should) have invested the same money in just one durable and timeless piece.
I don’t want to buy ignorantly anymore and I don’t want to have too much of anything. I’m so sick of having so many clothes but never having anything to wear. Today my wardrobe consists of my most treasured pieces; clothes that I wear the most and feel the best in.
I urge you to do a closet inventory. Count how many clothes you don’t wear or even don’t like anymore. Look at those items and think about where they come from, who’s hands sewed them, how much water it consumed and how much pollution it caused.
Was it worth it?