How to add Vintage to your Wardrobe

Every woman dreads going out and wearing EXACTLY the same as someone else in the room! Living in an age of global trends, disposable fashion and mass production and distribution, the odds are that this might well happen to you at some stage or other. Cringe!! One fail-safe way to make sure you create your own signature look is to add vintage to your wardrobe.

The secret to success is to mix vintage with modern. Going all out vintage can make you look like you have wandered off a ‘Back to the Future’ movie set; or are going to a fancy dress party. Not ideal.

First off let’s clarify some terminology, as vintage and antique are often used interchangeably. Technically, antique means older than 100 years and true vintage means older than 50 years, but not quite 100. For the purpose of this article, I will refer to ‘vintage’ as anything that’s older than 20 years or so, and is not produced in its current form anymore. That sorted, let’s look at how vintage can add value to your wardrobe, as well as where to start sourcing these hidden gems.

Bring on the bling


Vintage jewelry items can make a definite throwback fashion statements or add something unique to a contemporary look. Vintage costume jewelry is such a lovely thing to search for on your travels, either at home or overseas.

On each of my visits to London, I make sure that I get time to visit all my favourite stalls at Portobello Road, Covent Garden and Old Spitalfields Market, and I am yet to come home empty-handed! On the tube on my way back from one of these places, I normally marvel at my new-found gems and make up stories of the fascinating women they belonged to once upon a time. To me these pieces hold sentimental value, not only because of their history, but how they became mine.

Vintage jewelry does not have to be expensive, and you can generally haggle at markets but do make sure you look out for good quality vintage pieces, or you could end up with something really gaudy. The easiest and cheapest source of vintage jewelry is undoubtedly your granny’s stash. Failing that, look for antique/vintage/pre-loved shops in your area. My favourite hunting ground is Stellenbosch Antiques in Andringa street. They have two cupboards stocked with delicious bling from yesteryear and their prices are really good.

Designer wear at a steal

I find it much easier to find vintage coats and jackets rather than dresses, mainly because I am quite tall and the sizing can be tricky, especially when you buy vintage clothing online. It would appear that people of 20 to 50 years ago people were decidedly shorter and smaller boned. Another plus is that coats have usually been worn less often and are generally in a better condition.There are a number of really good stores in Cape Town and surrounds, where you can find brilliant vintage coats and jackets at a steal. Visit just at the right time and you can bag a designer coat for less than a basket of groceries!

Every bag tells a story

Nothing makes a statement quite like a one-of-a-kind vintage handbag. It immediately grabs the attention and is quite the conversation starter. My favourite is a Cartier bag, for which I nearly wrestled another lady in a small boutique in Parktown, Johannesburg. Long story, but we were both after the same bag and I realised that life was simply not worth living if I didn’t have it. I have since bought more pricey and convenient ‘It’ handbags that have long since been discarded. My vintage treasure will always remain. Vintage has a way of doing that.

Do you have a passion for vintage? Share your stories in the comments below.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *