Set the foundation...
If you're into Swing or Rockabilly, chances are you are also into vintage clothing and collectibles. People who like the music of the past, often like it so much, they try to recreate the past in as many forms as possible. Clothing, house wares, collectibles, and furniture are the most common retro items these days.
So where does one go to get vintage items? How does one know if something is really vintage, or just a well made replica? How should you care for vintage clothes? All these questions will be answered in this section of the Sparechange Primer.
Where do hepcats and hepkittens get their fabulous vintage frocks, shoes, suits, and accessories?
Take a deep breath. Get a pen, and plan to spend a few minutes taking notes! Acquiring vintage isn't as easy as you think. Here's why:
As any man will tell you, buying vintage clothing is much easier for women. Perhaps women took better care of their clothing? It seems to be the logical answer for why vintage shops have racks of women's clothes and only a handful of men's treasures. In addition, when you find men's clothes, you often find them in worse condition than women's. Holes, stains, and tears are more prevalent in men's vintage than in lady's.
There are three basic methods for finding vintage clothes.
Certain collectors are very specific about what era their vintage clothing comes from. Often, swingers will wear items from the 1930's and 1940's, while Rockabilly folks look for 1950's items instead. Here are some tips for determining the age of vintage garments. Remember, styles appear, disappear and then re-appear, so be careful!
With a little practice, you'll be spotting classic vintage clothing in no time. Often, you can spot a garment easily by feeling the fabric. Older clothing was made from better fabrics and with better tailoring. So often, the clothing will feel heavy, and the fabric will seem thicker. Also, older clothing has lots of hand work such as embroidery, special stitching, etc. Due to their novelty, nylon and rayon were "status" fabrics in the 1930s and 1940s. (The most valuable Hawaiian shirts are 100% rayon, and have wood buttons.)
PRIMARY SOURCES FOR VINTAGE
Stick close to home -- Do you have an older relative who has with vintage clothes in their closet? If so, raid the closet! Chances are, your relatives have been trying to get rid of this "old stuff" for years! Relatives can be the best source for authentic, inexpensive (usually free) vintage. If your family doesn't pan out, then you can always ask around or advertise at senior citizen centers or in a publications that reach audiences that might have vintage items. Also, check the papers for notices of estate sales. Estate sales are a great source for vintage clothing! Do a little reasearch, check your local paper! You should be able to know out a couple of sales on a single Saturday!
Thrift stores are often a hit or miss adventure. People will empty their closets, their attics, and their basements to thrift stores. That means that in addition to a few great vintage items, they unload their recent used items too. But don't despair, good vintage is there, you just have to do a little manual labor to find it. Don't be surprised if you spend hours in a thrift store digging through boxes, combing through racks, and sifting through bags of complete crap to find just a skirt, a pair of pants, or perhaps a hat. But remember, thrift stores are cheap. Clothing at a thrift store is rarely more than a couple of bucks. Some days you'll get lucky, some days you won't find a thing. Just keep looking! Grab a friend, or make a date of it! Look up "Thrift Stores" in your local Yellow Pages, so you can locate these establishments in your area. From experience, it seems you are more likely to find good vintage items in small church-run stores. Larger organizations, especially commercial outfits, often pre-select vintage and sell them directly to dealers.
If you don't mind a big bill, why not let someone else do the searching for you! That's exactly what vintage stores do. They hit thrift stores, estate sales, and dealers to gather quality vintage items. However, they charge you for their trouble. If you are new to collecting vintage, it's not a bad idea to visit one or two of these stores to get a feel for what the "real thing" actually looks like as well what various items are worth.
Information coming! Check back soon!
Information coming! check back soon!
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