It seems that lately our culture is returning to a sense of cheerful optimism and old-fashioned values and reveling in a moment of lady-like feminine nostalgia. With TV shows such as Mad Men, movies like My Week With Marilyn, and popular singers such as Lana Del Rey and Esperanza Spalding, we are having a certain neo-retro moment. And with the current cultural shift towards everything homegrown, hand made and recycled, now more than ever is a great time to start adding vintage fashions to your wardrobe. For me, the best thing about wearing something vintage is you can somehow manage to be both on trend and chic while almost always pulling off a very one-of-a-kind look.
Over this past weekend, I visited the Vintage Fashion Expo at the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco, held on March 17 and 18. Now in its third decade, this show features the best of the best in vintage clothing, accessories and textiles from over 85 dealers and collectors. The Vintage Fashion Expo runs five times a year in Santa Monica and San Francisco. These shows have become an integral part of the California fashion scene and here you may find yourself bumping into celebrities, fashion designers, movie costumers, costume designers, and many other shoppers who appreciate the unique quality of vintage fashions, some decked out in gorgeous head to toe retro looks.
Vintage styles continue to inspire many fashion designers and every season the designer runways seem to be filled with nostalgic references to the past. The '60s, the '70s, the '80s...the list goes on and on. Considering all the retro influences on our current fashion trends, one might think, why not just get the real thing and start wearing vintage? Instead of shopping the malls for the latest looks, you can be unique and ahead of the curve by heading to the source to buy the originals.
Here are some of the most popular spring 2012 trends that you can find in your local vintage stores right now:
For Spring 2012, we saw references to an era we haven’t seen on the runways in a while. This time around there was a heavy focus on the prim, proper, ultra-feminine era of the 1950s at Prada, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana and more: complete with demure pencil skirts, nipped-in waists, conversation prints and retro ladylike handbags. Some sent down dreamy confections in sherbet-like pastels, others light as air laces, organzas and chiffon dresses. There were even some references to the 1950s housewife look: think TV icons Lucille Ball and June Cleaver.
1950s dresses from Chick A Boom Vintage of Petaluma. Contact: email@example.com
A 1950s evening look
Flower Power Prints
Another trend this season was retro 1960s flower power prints with bold blossoms in bright, cheerful colors at Prada, Marni, Karen Walker and more. Also look for mini shift dresses and short go-go boots to enhance your '60s flower child look. You can never be too colorful when it comes to this trend. Think bold, bright, happy; it’s spring!
1960s flower power prints from Colton Collectibles. Find them every first Sunday at the Alameda Point Antiques Faire.
More flower power prints
For accessories, there was a strong focus on the golden age of the 1920s. Designers such as Etro, Balmain, Gucci, and Derek Lam sent down clothing and accessories perfect for the Jazz Age era flapper…think “glamour" and look for black with gold, sequins and art deco accessories. To go with the 50s and 60s trends, there were clear Lucite sandals and transparent clutches, pointy toed pumps, wedge heeled sandals, cat eye sunglasses and lady-like hand held box bags.
1920s style gold accessories
Gold and silver metallic handbags
Retro shoes & Lucite sandals
Structured hand bags from Vintage Blue Moon.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, there's an abundance of possibilities when it comes to vintage dressing. Keeping in style can be fun when everything that’s old is new again. Here are some great Bay Area places to find something pretty and begin your hunt for the latest vintage styles:
Juniper Tree Vintage Dress Shop -- 3303 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland 94610
Pretty Penny Vintage -- 5488 College Ave., Oakland 94618
Mars Mercantile -- 2398 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley 94704
Old Vogue -- 1412 Grant Ave, San Francisco 94133
Painted Bird -- 1360 Valencia St., San Francisco 94110
Chick A Boom Vintage -- 145 Kentucky St., Petaluma 94952
Alameda Point Antiques Faire -- 2900 Navy Way, Alameda 94501