There seems to be some sort of magnetic attraction between my soul and old clothes. From funky pieces that have clearly been pre-loved, but still have life in them, to immaculate relics that somehow remained unworn for decades, their faded and yellowed tags still attached, I am draw to seek out vintage clothing the way iron shavings slide unerringly towards lodestone. I am powerless to resist.
Over the years, as I have lovingly worn and collected vintage clothing, I’ve encountered other collectors who share my passion and who have inspired me with the ways that they choose to wear or modify their pre-owned pieces. I have also met people who expressed an interest in vintage and thrift shopping but insist that they simply don’t know how or where to wear vintage clothes. This column will be dedicated to the entire spectrum—the collectors, the curious and everyone in between. It will feature vintage wearers that I encounter at vintage shops, thrift stores, estate sales, and just about anywhere else, who are willing to talk to me about why and how they wear vintage. In the process, perhaps it will serve as inspiration for the many fashion lovers out there who covet vintage looks but aren’t quite sure how to pull them off.
Age: 24 Hometown: Potomac, MD Occupation(s): Art Student/ Musician (she surprised me with the bird print you see pictured) Glasses: by Paul Smith, from My Optics on Larimer and 19th Shoes/Dress: Buffalo Exchange, “Shoes belonged to my friend, Kat, before me.” Backpack: Thrift Necklace: Grandma hand-me-down Glasses Chain: thrift
I met Brittany while I was out and about last weekend and fell in love with her casually artsy vintage style. Her blue flowered dress, flatteringly cinched at the waist by a thin braided leather belt, called to me from across the room. I was thrilled when she agreed to be my first interviewee. Three days later, we met at the Tattered Cover and she happened to be wearing that fabulous blue frock again.
Do you wear a lot of vintage? “Usually most of it is vintage."
How long have you been into vintage? “Since I started buying things for myself… Once I started buying things on my own, like late high school maybe.”
What is your current favorite piece of clothing from a thrift store? “I’m pretty stoked on this blue dress. I kind of haven’t taken it off in a while.”
What, for you, is the appeal of vintage clothing? “Well, I think the individuality and the politics. In this day and age, so many things are made in sweatshops and out of America. Can’t trust where things are coming from… [With vintage] even if it’s from those places, you are not directly giving them your support. And you’re not going to be wearing the same thing as other people.”
Any tips for novice thrift shoppers? “I think that you have to have 1 or 2 things that you are looking for. You have to know what you are looking for and, like, and then it’ll come. Be open to other things, too.”
Any favorite thrift zones that you would like to share? “Mile High Flea Market because it has so many things that you want. And it has this festive all day party atmosphere. You can drink all day. There’s Native American stuff, crystals, feathers. Unique Thrift Store is awesome. I haven’t been to the new location. I liked the one on Colfax with the giant giraffe.”
Do you prefer thrift stores, vintage shops or estate sales? “Thrift stores because there are so many different types of things and they are less expensive than vintage stores. Vintage stores will only buy the cute stuff but [not stuff you can modify]. I’m really into mom jeans and no one buys mom jeans and puts them at vintage stores.”
As we ended our conversation, Brittany left me with an awesome suggestion: “You should ask people ‘Where do you usually go first when you walk into a thrift store? Right when you walk in.’ Everyone has a place they like to go first. I always go straight for the shoes because I think that people are going to take them and then I go for backpacks.”
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I, too, go straight for the shoes— I can’t risk losing something awesome to another size 7.5 wearing vintage junkie! Whatever size vintage shoes, or clothes, you wear, I hope to see you out and about some time. I’ll probably have my camera and I’d love to get your picture and find out why you choose to wear vintage. See ya on the streets, Denver!
-- TaRosa Jacobs