The growing trend in recent years toward vintage apparel and accessories may be an intentional departure from the disposable nature of our times, or a nod to the most talented avant-gardists of style in history. Vintage implies classic, long lasting, resilient. The phrase “they don’t make ‘em like they used to”, most often refers to the things that didn’t break in the first years of use. Vintage fridges didn’t come with a limited warrantee, they lasted a lifetime. Vintage cars never stop going, they just need work. Timeless and classic style is often referred to as “vintage”, because they will always be in vogue. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 vintage trends to watch this season.
Distinctive, luxurious, comfortable - is there anything that denotes sophisticated ease more than soft vintage leather? Gone are the days of the stuffy hard shell briefcase. This season’s leather satchels, messenger bags and duffles take men from the boardroom to the cocktail lounge in ultimate elegance and style. Leather travel cases make fabulous companion pieces and are must haves for the leisure traveler or business jet setter.
With the advent of noise cancelling headphones and a move from ear buds to bulky earmuff style headsets, comes the introduction of retro and vintage inspired headphones. This is the style we were all wearing before the bud style earphone was created in the 1980s, around the same time that the Walkman revolutionized the notion of personal music. Apple’s universally iconic white earphones introduced with its ubiquitous iPod are arguably one of the tech industry’s biggest fashion statements to date.
The unification of fashion and technology continues with the reinvention of the bulky headphone set that delivers superior noise cancelling sound quality. Long time experts in sound like Marshall, Panasonic and Skullcandy have embraced the trend toward vintage cool and high-quality sound with the introduction of their gorgeous collections of headsets in vintage designs.
It’s counter intuitive to trash your labels, so fashion’s haute couture magnates are doing it for you. The trend of ripping, fading and “distressing” clothes before you even get to try them on for size, is something that top design houses have been doing for years and is still as popular today. It’s the fashion industry’s way of asking you not to buy vintage, but to let them reinvent it for you.
Aviator sunglasses came back in fashion for good reason. They were just so cool. If you can find a pair of original aviators hold onto them – the originals are just as stylish as their modern counterparts since there wasn’t much changed in the reinventing. There wasn’t any need. We love RedEnvelope’s original aviator sunglasses featuring the original Shuron frame worn by U.S. Army and Air Force fighter pilots during World War II. The ultimate vintage accessory, the Aviator is here to stay for a while.
Salvaged Military Supplies:
Used interchangeably with “reclaimed”, the word “salvaged” is an increasingly popular term amongst the vintage home wares set, that refers to goods that are either constructed from vintage materials or literally “salvaged” in their entirety. Whether bought on consignment or brought direct from a Parisian Marché aux Puces, salvaged wares are unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that can never be exactly replicated.
Salvaged military supplies add urban appeal to accessories and apparel. Authentic military jackets, vintage jewelry crafted from war medals, beautiful accessories made from World War II canvas and cufflinks made from maps of historic battlefields, pay tribute to significant historical events and make great talking points. Search for jewelry and accessories made from authentic reclaimed and salvaged military materials and start a conversation.
Hold onto your old college sporting apparel (and not just for the memories). If you graduated before the turn of the 21st century, take this hint: vintage varsity clothing is ultra-cool and if you have it, get it down from the attic. Anything post-2000 is acceptable, but it lacks a certain vintage credibility, so it needs to be original (if it’s not yours it better be stolen from your room mate). Anything from the 1900s is fair game. Seems you needn’t have played any sport for your university to wear the varsity sports jersey. In fact, you needn’t have graduated or even attended the university in question at all. Sure, you’re not going to get a Harvard letter sweater if you never received a Major H for your sporting prowess as a Harvard graduate, but there are no hard rules about hijacking varsity clothing that you can buy from the gift shop.
For the women, old school varsity clothing makes even going to sleep a fashion statement. There’s something about a girl in an oversized vintage football shirt that drives men a little crazy. (Just make sure it’s “new” vintage, because nothing will distress his 1991 college football shirt faster than wearing it to bed.)
I Adorn You:
Vintage jewelry has never been out of vogue and likely never will be. Investing in good quality pieces is a savvy move. Start a collection of classic jewelry and hold onto it, and periodically raid your mom’s collection – borrowed jewelry is your jewelry when you keep it in the family. For men, vintage inspired watches give an instant lift to any outfit, and despite the rise of the all in one cell phone/clock/organizer, is still the sexiest way to tell the time.
Cufflinks are making a comeback this season
Old School Baby:
We defy you to not find vintage baby clothes just a little bit cute. Hand me downs are mortifying when you are 15, but quality vintage baby clothes don’t go out of style like brown corduroy slacks do. There’s something pretty special about baby clothes that have been kept for the next generation too. You can find some of the most adorable vintage baby clothing at the chic little baby boutiques that line the streets of yuppie neighborhoods, though the clothing is usually vintage “inspired”. Some parents take issue with wrapping their newborn in anything that smells like mothballs, apparently. Nevertheless, vintage inspired crochet caps, Paddington Bear raincoats and tiny felt booties are gorgeous in anyone’s language, so we say - go ahead and reinvent the classics.
Cigar cases and hip flasks are quintessential gifts for the distinguished gentleman. Vintage cigar cases and humidors are good investments and will always hold their vintage status. Traditional gifts for the father to be, cigars are a thing of beauty, whether you are a smoker or not. The hip flask is functional as it’s intended. Take a flask full of whisky on your camping trip and warm up with friends by the fire at the end of a perfect day in nature. Cigar cases and hip flasks are still the perfect choice for a gentleman’s gift. Always stylish, these two classic gift staples don’t even need to be used, just admired.
We thought we’d end on a sweet note. If you’ve been to a wedding recently, the couple might have had a candy bar in place of (or in addition to) a wedding cake. Candy bars are all the rage at the moment, and they often feature vintage candy, displayed in old-fashioned apothecary jars. Depending on where you grew up, your vintage candy faves will be different, but a few that we love and remember are Pez, Black Jack Gum, Clarke, Oh Henry!, Necco, and Sugar Daddy. Vintage candy appeals to the inner child in all of us. We all remember our favorite candy treats as children, and we all wonder what ever happened to the good old days, when real sweets were made from sugar, not corn syrup, and they cost nickels and dimes, not dollars. Thank goodness for vintage candy stores that stock all of our old favorites. Without them, the next generation would think Twizzlers were the original candy.