I’ve always been fascinated by clothes, especially from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. There’s something about slipping into a poodle skirt that makes you feel like you’re walking through history, and proudly wearing it on your body. For me, it has always been truly magical.

That being said, acquiring real vintage clothing and artifacts can be both tricky and expensive. I am lucky enough to have some lovely items passed down to me from friends and family, and, of course, access to the internet so I can shop for vintage items online! Today, I’ll be showing you some of my favorite items I have picked up over the years. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.

First, I want to give a huge shoutout to my good friend, Adam Pajkowski. He, like me, is a vintage fanatic who enjoys dressing in the 30s-40s era. Many of my favorite vintage items are actually gifts from him, so thank you, Adam! (He is also a fantastic fashion designer, and I am honored to be modeling for his Spring 2019 collection next year.)


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This hat is an authentic vintage item, perhaps from the 40s. I have about four other vintage hats, but I unfortunately left them in my dorm while I’m home for vintage break. This particular hat has some lovely jewels attached on the side, along with some fake feather action going on. It’s a perfect hat to pair with holiday outfits, if I do say so myself, and it’s still in remarkably great condition. I’m not quite sure what the material is; Adam didn’t mention it to me, so the fibers could either be natural or synthetic. Although the hat is definitely a statement piece, I do wear it quite often. Black does match everything, after all!


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This watch and locket were also gifted to me from Adam. The locket, he says, is at least 100 years old, but I’m not sure about the watch. Although the watch no longer tell the correct time, I do feel quite fancy when wearing these beautiful pieces out. The delicate detailing on both the watch and locket are absolutely lovely, and the fact that they’re still in such great condition is such a bonus. It feels very special to be able to wear history on one’s body, especially history that is so well-preserved.


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Next, I have another necklace, but this one was gifted to me by my great-grandmother. When she was alive, she showed me her prized jewelry box (it was actually more of a closet), and even let me keep some of her favorite pieces from the 40s and 50s. Now that she has passed, this necklace holds an even deeper place in my heart. The pearls aren’t real, but it’s still a dainty, gorgeous piece of jewelry. Of all the items I own, this is probably my favorite, and the one I wear most often. It’s elegant and simplistic, and absolutely timeless (on top of having sentimental significance).


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This stunning red dress is actually one that I picked up fairly recently in a vintage shop. The tag on the dress appears very modern, so I am assuming this dress was manufactured in the 70s to replicate a 40s dress. Needless to say, it’s still a fantastic dress, and I was even able to purchase it on sale! Can’t you picture this paired with some bumper bangs and a pair of Oxford’s on Christmas eve? Another great thing about this dress is that it doesn’t carry that old, dusty smell some vintage items pick up over time. When I slipped into it for the first time, it truly felt like a brand-new item.


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I’m not really sure what era this dress is trying to achieve. The silhouette reads to me as seventies, but I feel like the print is screaming…early eighties? Nonetheless, it’s a very unique dress, and one that I feel lucky to have come across in the first place. I purchased it from a giant thrift store in Boston called The Garment District, which is famous for its phenomenal vintage pieces and truly retro vibe. Seriously, if you’re ever in the Boston area, GO TO THE GARMENT DISTRICT. I promise you will not be disappointed, especially with dresses like these lining the shelves.


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I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say it: you don’t need to break the bank in order to possess a fabulous vintage closet. There are so many options out there for vintage lovers of every demographic and price point, including yours and mine. If you’re trying to find fabulous clothing ideas for less than $75, look no further!


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I call this look “chic for fall, with a bit of gay.” I love including my own personality into my looks, especially for practical pieces such as hats and socks. My hair is held together with a lovely hair net (you MUST invest in these if you have not already!). From there, I am wearing this beautiful mint dress by GownTown, pride socks by Foot Traffic, and closed ankle boots by White Mountain.

Dress: $32.98

Socks: $7.99

Boots: $29.99

Total Cost: $70.96


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Another toasty fall/winter look that I would wear on an afternoon out! I’ve mentioned this coat before- my mother picked it up for me at a Salvation army. The yellow cardigan peeping out is embellished with golden pearls on the front. And underneath that, I’m wearing one of my favorite stretchy navy blue gowns by Grace Karin. The bag, by the way, was gifted to me by a coworker. Score!

Coat: $20

Cardigan: $13

Dress: $28.99

Headscarf: $5

Total Cost: $66.99


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Though I’ve never done it myself, I imagine this would be a perfect outfit for going out dancing on a date night! This darling skirt, which I have talked about before, is made from a durable, thick, great-quality felt. The shirt was yet another thrift store find; it’s a simple yet versatile staple piece for all my miscellaneous skirts. And once again, I’ve paired it with a square scarf. These little fabric squares are surprisingly multi-purposeful, and usually are available at reasonable prices.

Shirt: $4

Skirt:$48.84

Scarf: $5

Total Cost: $57.84


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If you’re looking for a classy yet sassy outfit for your upcoming holiday party, this may be the dress for you. I purchased this dress off Amazon about six months ago, and still break it out of my closet for the days when I like to look more formal than usual. The belt is also included! The beret was another great deal: it was originally seven dollars, but I managed to snag it on sale for only five. Though you can’t see it, on my feet I’m wearing a pair of lovely black oxford heels by Chase and Chloe. The overall look is affordable and durable for me, and, most importantly, a striking head-turner.

Dress: $31.99

Beret: $5

Shoes: $27

Total Cost: $63.99


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Last but certainly not least, this lovely dress is yet another one I purchased from GownTown. I’ve paired it with my black Sketchers flats (perhaps not the daintiest shoes I own, but man, are they comfortable!), and a string of plastic pearls that I purchased so long ago, I’m not even sure where I got them from! As you’ve probably inferred, this was a look I wore to a lovely and albeit prestigious art museum. The purple dress is flattering on all skin tones, and maintains a stretchiness without feeling cheap or thin.

Dress: $32.99

Shoes: $39.99

Total: $72.98

Finally! Another clothing article!

I started dressing in my vintage style in the early spring of 2018. As someone with a relatively small disposable income living on a college campus, it can definitely be challenging to build a closet with high-quality items. I’ve found luck shopping on Amazon, especially with the brands Grace Karin and Gown Town. The price of the dresses are generally around $20-$30, and I’ve always been pleased with the quality. I also enjoy thrift shopping and buying authentic vintage if I have a little extra cash to throw around, especially at the turn of a new season. Today, I’ll be showing you some of my favorite vintage-inspired staple pieces, accessories, shoes, and outerwear!

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One particular item I’ve been absolutely loving is this adult 50’s poodle skirt. It’s versatile enough for every season of the year, and the material is thick without being uncomfortable. This particular skirt came in a variety of colors, but I chose pink to remain as historically accurate as possible. Because the skirt is made of a heavy-duty felt, you’ll need to take great care in washing it carefully. You can get your own from 50sPoodleSkirts on Etsy.


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This adorable dress was one of the Amazon purchases I mentioned earlier! I believe this is one of the earliest dresses I ever purchased on my vintage journey. The dress is made of a sturdy cotton and looks lovely on its own, but can also be paired with a petticoat. Similarly to the poodle skirt, this dress is extremely suitable for all seasons, depending on what accessories you pair it with. The deep magenta color looks fabulous on all skin types, and the pattern is truly remnant of a retro gingham.


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A neutral-colored petticoat is one of the most iconic staples of a retro wardrobe. Once you try it, you’ll never want to leave the house without it (unless it’s ninety degrees out, and you’re sweating your ass off.) A good-quality petticoat may cost up to $30, but I promise it is worth the investment. There are so many unique ways to pair this petticoat with an outfit of your choice and add some flare to your vintage wardrobe.


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I’ll admit, I tend to be a bit cheap when it comes to buying shoes. I usually won’t spend more than $30 on a pair, and I’m happy to say that these Oxfords were under my budget. The classic lace-up is absolutely adorable, and is breathable enough that you can even wear them without socks. Per usual, I purchased mine on Amazon, but you can find similar styles in a variety of different shops.


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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I am not a fan of fast fashion. I disagree with the wastefulness, environmental damage, and unethical treatment that many workers are subjected to. I do understand, however, that some people’s budgets prevent them from going out on a limb and spending tons of cash on clothes and accessories. If you find yourself falling into the second category, I recommend the accessory selection of SheIn. The clothing is not always the greatest quality, but I have been pleased in the past by their handkerchiefs. They’re generally cheap, but the quality is excellent- which means they’ll last a long time. A silky bow or necktie is a beautiful touch to any vintage outfit, and can improve any bad hair day you may encounter.


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My favorite thing about this coat is that it is truly one-of-a-kind. My mother actually found it for me at a Salvation Army outside of Boston, and knowing my style well, purchased it for me. Because it is a vintage item, some of the stitching is starting to unravel and wear at the seams. There is also some discoloration on the inner lining, but it’s not visible once I put it on. I don’t mind the coat’s imperfections; I’m just so thrilled that my mother found it! You’d be surprised how many gorgeous pieces you can find at secondhand shops to add to your vintage collection.


Coming up next: My Favorite Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands

As you (probably) know, I happen to be a very big fan of thrift shopping. It’s affordable, it’s sustainable, and it translates to a completely unique wardrobe! My favorite thrift shop is The Garment District in Cambridge, but since it can be a headache to get down there when I’m home from college, I usually opt for Goodwill instead. You’d be surprised; beyond those funky-looking sweaters and bizarre accessories, there are actually some fabulous gems hiding.

This cream-colored Banana Republic blouse. My first thought when I clapped eyes on this delicate summer-y top was, “Oh my god! I’ll look like Truly Scrumptious!” After that public broadcast, the rest was history. The material is transparent and light, making it a great addition to any sundress. And, because the color is so neutral, it can be paired with almost any color scheme.   

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These vintage Anne Klein kitten heels. I tend to wear a lot of warm-toned outfits, so when I find the perfect vintage warm-toned shoe in my size, it’s a happy day. These heels are surprisingly comfortable and easy to dance around in, despite their delicate nature. They also appeared brand-new when I bought them, and no scuff marks could be seen on the bottom. I’m a bit of a health stickler when it comes to buying old shoes, so I’m extremely happy with the quality.

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This lovely floral patterned scarf. I used to have tons of girly cotton scarves dotted around my closet, but unfortunately, they seem to have vanished over the years. It’s time to start rebuilding my collection, starting with this absolutely gorgeous piece. Scarves are the pinup girl’s best friend: they’re versatile, comfortable, and add a strong statement to any looks requiring some extra jazz. If I remember correctly, this scarf was only four dollars!

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This roomy Old Navy carpet bag. When I say roomy, I’m seriously not kidding around. This carpet bag can hold my phone, wallet, keys, medications, KNITTING NEEDLES, and water bottle all at once. The bag is in stellar condition for being secondhand, too; the lining is perfectly intact. I also personally prefer the clasp over a zipper, which I find tends to break down over time. Sultry summer date nights, here I come.

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This Joseph A. sweater with embroidered flowers. There’s something so unique and delicate about this piece, and it caught my eye immediately, and the tiny flowers around the collar add a truly adorable touch. The material is also fairly light and stretchy, making it ideal for these moderately warm New England summers.

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This absolutely amazing FOUR DOLLAR bag. The minute I laid eyes on it, I knew it was made for me. Talk about traveling overnight in style! The bag also came with a tiny phone holder and miniature zip-bag, ideal for holding smaller essentials. Being the summer-hater I am, the chances are I will not be bringing this gem to the beach, but I’ll be sure to find an even better purpose for it. The bag is also enhanced with beaded details, adding a bit of sparkle and interest to the already beautiful design.

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Yes, this one’s for all you lovely pinup gals out there. As a practicing pinup myself, one of the best aspects of the style is the lovely compliments I receive from others. Vintage clothing is a timeless taste- one that will never go out of style. Not only is it beautifully classic and easily recognizable, but it’s also extremely fun to shop for! Here, I’ve compiled a list of where I like to find my retro-style clothes. Grace Karin and Belle Poque are available through Amazon, but I will include the link to the websites as well.

Without further adieu, my top three favorite modern vintage shops!

Grace Karin. Grace Karin is probably (actually, definitely) my favorite place to find modern vintage clothes. The prices are fair, the quality is terrific, and the range of prints to choose from is extremely impressive. The website also offers a wide range of styles to choose from, including casual dresses, vintage dresses, prom dresses, petticoats, and accessories. Grace Karin is the 2nd cheapest option for dresses and petticoats, with Belle Poque beating its prices ever so slightly. Belle Poque, if I remember correctly, actually falls under the same company that manufactures the Grace Karin dresses. For that reason, you’ll notice many of the patterns and styles are similar between the two companies.

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Website: https://www.gracekarin.com/


Belle Poque. As previously stated, Belle Poque carries the most cost efficient options for emerging vintage lovers. Not only do they also offer a wide range of dresses and petticoats, but they sell some prom dresses on the website as well! The vintage aesthetic of the clothes extends far beyond 50s glam as well- you can also find some steampunk Moulin Rouge-style skirts in the “Bottoms” section of the website. Just like Grace Karin, Belle Poque is independently owned and based in the USA. Many of the items are made from thick, breathable, high-quality cotton- something important to polyester haters like me.

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Website: https://www.bellepoque.com/


Modcloth. While Modcloth may be twice as expensive as Grace Karin and Belle Poque, it doesn’t come without good reason. These clothes are simply impeccably made and impossible to replicate, if I do say so myself. And, unlike Grace Karin and Belle Poque, Modcloth offers a swimsuit and shoe collection! (Remember my vegan sloth flats? Yes, those are from Modcloth). The heels on the website are absolutely adorable, and, if I had a larger disposable income, I’d buy many more of them. If you have a little bit of extra cash around, and you want something really special, I would definitely point you in the direction of Modcloth.

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Website: https://www.modcloth.com/


Unique Vintage. One of my favorite things about Unique Vintage is that the clothes are divided by era- so you can pick and choose what selections you’d like to see. Unique Vintage also has a lovely range of plus size options for vintage dresses, swim, and even flapper. The bright patterns, expertise construction, and inclusiveness of this brand makes them one of my personal favorites for picking up vintage goodies. Just like Modcloth, however, the prices are a little up there, so be careful how much you choose to splurge!

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Website: https://www.unique-vintage.com/


All pictures are from the websites they correspond with.

Ah, sweet, sweet summer! While it may not be my favorite season, I have learned to appreciate the joy that comes with floppy-brimmed hats and opened-toed shoes. Being a New England gal, the weather can be quite unpredictable here, so it’s best to always have a variety of wardrobe options year-round. I’ve been into warm colors and intricate patterns lately, along with textured neutral accessories. Enjoy my seven wardrobe staples for this month! (Postscript: I do quite a lot of Amazon shopping, and that’s where you’ll find a majority of these items.)

This short-and-sweet floral printed 50s style dress from Grace Karin. This sleeveless, cotton boatneck dress comes in forty-two different prints, so I had a difficult time picking which one to order! This dress is breathable, comfortable, and absolutely stunning over a petticoat. Every time I put it on, I feel like I’m getting ready for an afternoon tea party. You can find it here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01J99PUF2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1&psc=1

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These classic flat Oxfords are perfect for both casual and formal wear- and they look fabulous with almost anything I pair them with. There aren’t many days I’m seen without a pair of heels, but these are my new go-tos for the long days spent on my feet. The little holes that dot the sides also make these shoes quite breathable and perfect for summer. Order them here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00724ZIBS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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This adorable dress is exactly same to the floral one- it just has a different print. I’ve never seen a print like this one before, and I fell in love the moment I laid eyes on it. Prepare to get loads of compliments when you wear this one out on the town! As I said before, the material is breathable yet thick, and looks marvelous over a petticoat.

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I purchased this beaded clutch at a local boutique for my Sophomore prom, which feels like ages ago. Though I scoured the internet thoroughly to see where else this clutch can be purchased, I couldn’t find the company or the seller. Fortunately, there are many other clutches on the market that are very similar, if not almost identical! This clutch isn’t big enough to fit a smartphone, but is the perfect size for tiny essentials, like lipstick and powder.

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Maaaaaybe my new favorite dress of all time? Gosh, this dress is amazing. I feel like a 1950s waitress every time I slip into it, especially when paired with the Oxfords. In the picture online, the minty color looked a brighter and tackier, so I was pleased to see that the actual color is rather muted and softer. This dress looks lovely with or without a petticoat, so have fun experimenting! Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0727M7H5G/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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I’ve posted about these flats before, but how could I not repeat myself? Yes, those are sloths hugging rainbows with cherub smiles on their faces. These flats are 100% vegan and ideal for both casual and formal attire, in my opinion. They pair nicely with any dress, adding fun and a bit of silliness to any summer look. Also, did I mention that they are insanely comfortable? You can find them here: https://www.modcloth.com/shop/shoes/slow-and-behold-vegan-ballet-flat/155024.html

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This A-line pleated high-waisted skirt, with a bow tie on the front. Sure, it’s only May, but can you imagine wearing this to a Christmas party with a ruffled green top in December? *dreamy sigh.* This elegant skirt is under $20 and comes in four different colors, including black, blue, and green. The material is breathable and light, while still keeping my tush fully covered at all times. I prefer it without a petticoat, but it looks lovely both ways. Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XSKL57Q/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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That’s what’s new, everybody! Enjoy your day, and I’ll see you on Friday.

xx

Sarah

Sarah Desroche

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Great vintage finds are busting in every rack at Goodwill.

For the average woman aged 18-22, acquiring well-made clothes without a hefty price tag can be a struggle in itself. Add in factors such as finding time to shop and finding things that meet your personal style, and the quest for a perfect garment can become nearly impossible. However, there is an option for fashionistas of any age who are trying to find fantastic clothes on a budget: thrift & consignment stores.

That’s right, it’s time to hit up Goodwill for next fall’s statement piece.

Unlike most department stores, the merchandise and contents of a thrift shop can extend to any demographic imaginable. For a young adult searching for gender-neutral clothing, thrift stores can offer a vast collection of shapes, sizes, and customizable styles. Thrift stores are perfect for neutral basics: items you’ll always need in your closet. And, at a fraction of the cost of a department store, why not check out the racks at your local Salvation Army?

From a sociological standpoint, there seems to be a fear against purchasing clothes from thrift shops and consignment stores. Humans are comforted by the excitement of brand-new things, and the satisfaction that comes with purchasing new clothing. Many people are also turned-off by the seemingly gross idea of wearing another human’s clothes, but who’s to say a couple thorough washes can’t fix that?

There’s no sin in picking up fresh garments from Marshalls or TJ Maxx, but I believe a balance should be established between what is thrifted and what is brand-new. Even if you have enough disposable income to shop strictly at the mall, both the planet and your wallet will thank you for giving thrift shopping a chance.

Running with that, thrift shopping is a fantastic way to recycle clothing and lessen our carbon footprint on the planet. Americans send an average of 10.5 million tons of clothes to landfills each year- a staggering number that could easily be erased if we all learned to consume wisely. Part of this number is attributed to the unfortunate nature of fast fashion: clothing that is designed to fall apart after just a few washes. Not only that, but over 700 gallons of water are used to manufacture a single T-shirt.

700 gallons.

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Some great Lee jeans I thrifted from The Garment District

If we all spent a few extra dollars on well-made apparel from fair trade and sustainable companies, these astounding numbers could be vastly reduced. Wardrobe staple pieces, such as jeans, jackets, and blouses bustle in every rack- many of them still in excellent condition. Buying shoes from a thrift store may sound like a hygiene turn-off, but the reality is, finding like-new shoes at a consignment store isn’t impossible either.

Perhaps the most well known factor, thrift stores are also a perfect place to exercise your social responsibility and give back to the community. Many thrift stores are non-profit organizations, and in turn benefit millions of people in need. Donating your clothes to the local shop will not only keep them out of the landfills, but also benefit people in need.

We all want to look trendy and up-to-date at all times, but at what cost can that come? The latest fads from Forever 21 may look great for a couple of weeks, but being environmentally friendly will always be a timeless look. And, besides, green looks great on you!

 

Works Consulted:

http://www.maximhy.com/blog/2015/04/10/is-your-fashion-slow-fashion/

http://affinitymagazine.us/2017/02/23/why-thrift-shopping-benefits-you-and-our-planet/