dressed up like a lady: Old vs. Pretend Old

May 18, 2008

Old vs. Pretend Old

I can be sort of a snob about the antiques in my home. My place is full of vintage housewares and furniture (which I hope to post some pictures of), and while it doesn't really matter to me if a lamp or a salt shaker is a pristine collector's item or just a cute piece of kitsch, it does matter that it's actually old -- not a cheap knock off produced yesterday to look like it was made 40 years ago, and marked up double what I'd pay for the real thing.

I'm kind of a hypocrite about this, however. For all my obsession with vintage, I don't always hold clothes to the same standard. Don't get me wrong, I do think that real vintage fashion is superior. A vintage piece has a magic about it that comes from wondering about its long life, who owned it and where it came from. Not to mention that older clothing tends to have been better made.

But truly enviable vintage clothing can also be made from less comfortable fabric, sewn for different proportions, and cost a lot more. When it comes to really beautiful vintage pieces, there's a direct, positive correlation between the price of the item and the ease of finding it. At one end of the scale, I could hunt for a gorgeous mod dress at rummage sales and after many, many hours spent searching on many, many early Saturday mornings (time I'd otherwise spend sleeping),
I could find one for next to nothing. At the other, I could just scour Ebay for the perfect dress and maybe find it in just a day -- but pay absolutely through the nose for it. Cruising local vintage stores comes out somewhere in the middle.

I employ all three of these methods, but there's also a fourth, equally viable option: new stuff that's made to look old. There are some great internet boutiques that make meticulous reproductions from authentic vintage prints, like Queen of Heartz and Stop Staring, but the soulless, big chain stores come up with some surprisingly fantastic "vintage inspired" looks too. And when those pieces go on clearance, that relationship between convenience and price can come out in your favor. Case in point, today's outfit, scored from an End of the End of the Season Sale.

Dress: Free People
Tights: Hue
Shoes: Steve Madden

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