By Terry Williamson
“Antique,” “vintage,” “retro,” “second-hand” and “gently used” are just a few terms used to describe items that are no longer new. Oh, and let’s not forget “Grandma’s,” which means it’s really, really old and must be worth a lot.
When it comes to vintage clothing, most people do not refer to clothing as antique, retro or any of the other terms. They are just simply “vintage.” Reading up on the trends and popularity of vintage clothing, I came across a new term being used, “archival fashion.” This term is used more in larger cities and applies to designer vintage fashions. I actually like the phrase, but I will stick to what I know.
Fashion designers have seen the increased popularity of vintage clothing and have joined vintage shops and online sellers to market their designs. They include designers like Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Burberry.
The trend for vintage clothing exploded in the 1960s. My first exposure to vintage was in the 1980s—thank you, Madonna. At the time, I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which you would not think of as a trendy place for fashion. However, in the vintage market there were several shops, so I explored. They helped me establish a few pieces to pull off my new-found Madonna style, which included items like costume rhinestone jewelry, lace gloves and petticoat slips worn as a skirt. Men’s black jackets became my thing too. Wow, can you picture that?
A question I get from some of my customers is am I too old to wear vintage?
My answer is “of course not.” I think of Cindi Lauper and Diane Keaton and believe that vintage has no age limits. They have such unique taste and much of it is authentic vintage or vintage-inspired. You don’t have to go “all in” to still get the vintage look.
Fashion is cyclical, it’s always evolving from the past to a new but refreshed look for the present. This makes it easy to blend the vintage with the current fashions.
If you want to start slowly experimenting, jewelry, purses and coats are always the safe way to go. Vintage leather trench coats have gained popularity over the last few years. Furs are always trending. The appeal to purchase a vintage fur is they are more affordable and considered “guilt-free.”
In addition to customers looking for outfits, vintage clothing is sought after by theaters, schools, dealers from Europe, and folks looking for Halloween costumes, theme parties and weddings.
A few years back, a dealer from France came in and purchased all the vintage Hawaiian shirts we had. Who knew Hawaiian shirts were so popular in France.
My most recent unexpected customer came in the form of a fashion show contestant at an antique car show. She preferred the styles from the 1950s, how fun is that?
Whatever the reason, wearing vintage proves to be a fun and affordable way to express yourself. If you already wear vintage or want to shake things up and start wearing some, join me between noon and 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, at Goodrich Antiques & Vintage Uniques for a Vintage Soirée. There will be featured items from two separate collectors and a fur dealer and Victorian jewelry not previously displayed in the store.
Terry Williamson, owner of Goodrich Antiques & Vintage Uniques, has been in the antique business for more than 24 years. For 21 years, she owned Goodrich Hall Antiques. Goodrich Antiques & Vintage Uniques is located at 742 E. Madison Ave. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (608) 868-3651 or visit Goodrich Antiques & Vintage Uniques Facebook page.