Strolling the Cambridge Vintage Fair, looking for something as good as the delicately crafted faux pearl necklace I got this time last year, I found myself thinking of something other than shopping. Or at least when I wasn’t thinking about how the Levi’s denim jackets in the menswear sections would work perfectly for me as an oversized jacket. I was thinking about the everlasting passion for vintage – what makes it a style that never fades?
I talked to Carmel, the shopkeeper of Rosie’s Vintage on King Street, whose favourite style is 50s because of the cut. It occurred to me that whilst we can spend the same amount of money on a new high-street piece with digital prints and whatnot, a vintage piece often wins for its flattering fit – people just seemed to care more about the fit back in the day. In fact, the fit is probably the most important factor when it comes to the “I like it but is this style for me?” moment. Fashion always points to a specific colour or fabric, but there is no talk of style without a perfect cut. And the timeless style of vintage goes as perfectly with white trainers as with killer heels, which is not something you can say about all the trends that come and go.
Looking at the incredible embroidery details of a black velvet jacket, I realised that another amazing thing about vintage is that it is often great value for money. A lot of the vintage pieces were able to survive until now because of the high quality fabrics used. It was a costly way to produce clothes, which is why most shops don’t do it anymore. For a long-term investment, getting a Dior Homme trench coat or a Diane von Furstenberg dress for a tenth of the original price is really a good deal.
The fact that vintage pieces have their own history also makes them unique. And when you talk to the shopkeepers, the mutual love for an iconic LBD (Little Black Dress) instantly makes you best friends. They know and love everything in the shop, which just adds to the charm of vintage shopping.