These 1970’s red pants belonged to my mom. I am lucky she and my grandmother both saved plenty of clothing, hats, and photos. I am also lucky they fit me! Good vintage clothes are becoming harder and harder to source – we must hold on and take care of the pieces we have!
While the summer weekends in Richmond are quiet, those of us that doesn’t have a lake, river, or beach house, still need things to do. Quirk Hotel’s rooftop bar is the perfect place to watch the sun set with a craft cocktail or something from their small plates menu. The crowd is pleasant, and the atmosphere is serine thanks to the sleekly designed layout and ambiance. For another design and gastro-forward activity, Maple and Pine, downstairs, is a great dinner spot to pair with a rooftop night.
Sequined and beaded wool sweaters and cardigans were extremely popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s. They are often wardrobe favorites, coming in fun colors and styles. Many times, the general age and nature of wool has led to dust absorption and storage odors, which must be removed. These types of tops are relatively easy to clean with some care.
First, create a luke-warm soapy bath with a bit of Woolite — a few drops should do. Quickly stir the water until some bubbles form.
Soak the garment in the Woolite dishpan or tub bath for 30 minutes to an hour depending on soil level. Gently agitate occasionally. If water turns dark, you may want to repeat the soap bath to remove more dirt.
Once Woolite bath water is clear, empty pan and replace with fill with clean water stream until garment is completely rinsed out of any soap.
When ready to remove from water, DO NOT WRING OR HANG (this can distort the shape). Place flat sweater on a thick towel or two. Fold over and gently pat water. Loosely roll towel to absorb excess moisture.
Now that the sweater is not so heavy, it can air dry, flat without dripping. I recommend a netted drying rack. Hanging the garment to dry may cause sagging of the fabric or distortion due to weight of these types of clothes. Heavy beaded sweaters and dresses should be stored folded in a cedar lined chest or drawer, when dry.
With the rise of e-commerce stores, Etsy, and EBay, there have been more and more vintage shops and sellers popping up on all platforms to peddle their wares. Not all shops are created equally, as there are many categories and niches among the broad tag “vintage”. Google the term “vintage clothing” and you’ll see results come up with mostly reproduction, or loosely inspired vintage clothing shops, which stack the first few pages of returned sites. Browse the vintage section of Etsy and you’ll find items from antiques to late 90’s graphic tees (Etsy deems any item 20 years or older to be vintage). Vintage is a broad term, so it’s time to get specific.
You may see the term “True Vintage” popping up on your Instagram or in tagged photos of your favorite vintage-wearing muse. This phrase is being used to categorize authentic clothing and accessories pre-1965 (arguably 1960, but generally the pre-polyester explosion era). Just search the term #vintage on Instagram, you’ll see why there’s a need for more descriptive terminology for an era of such great silhouettes and fine attention to detail. Some true vintage collectors say the shape and make of the clothing is more flattering, as opposed to today’s fashion, which is over-exposing in a cheap and tacky way. Fair enough.
Most of the fabrics and details of true vintage garments are notably high-quality even though they are 60+ years old and often hand-made. Garments can frequently be found with mends or small repairs, as times of war and economic instability lead to a generation of frugal, and handy people who fixed their belongings rather than replaced them. Many collectors know to expect small flaws and even find them charming. Fast fashion, mass manufacturing, and outsourcing later changed the way people bought, wore, and discarded clothes.
In a nutshell, true vintage is authentic clothing from the first half of the 20th century or before, including antique garments. Women (and men too!) are gaining a huge appreciation for fashion history by loving and wearing clothes from previous generations. Keep your eyes out for true vintage focused shops and sellers, as they can be tucked away, like hidden gems in the vast internet desert. Find boutiques, fashion bloggers, and Instagram fashionistas who style in early vintage by looking through the True Vintage tags on social media. Google still has some catching up to do.