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Rachel Zoe's Guide to Vintage 2010-04-06 06:00:08

How-To: Shop and Wear Vintage

Editor's note: The following is a guest post written by Rachel Zoe, stylist, fashion designer and creator of The Zoe Report. This week Rachel tells us how to shop and wear vintage.

As a lifelong devotee of all things vintage, I am constantly looking to expand my collection. This pursuit can be both a thrill and a challenge for all of us fashionistas, but the feeling of striking retro gold makes it all worth it! Just think, what would you do without your antique chain-strap Chanel purse, '80s-cool statement necklace or (insert your favorite vintage piece here)?

To ensure that you get the most out of your next hand-me-down expedition, I have detailed a few of my own practiced guidelines below. They are geared to help you walk away with something special that will add a diversity to your style!


Hear Zoe's guide to all things vintage.

First of all, try to seek out the best vintage boutiques in your area. If you are traveling to a fashionable city — New York, Paris, or Los Angeles, for example — research first. Some of the best retro stores around the world are well-kept secrets! In LA, Decades and Resurrection are my go-tos. They always have unbelievable vintage Halston, Chanel, YSL and Lanvin. So MAH-JOR. *For my NY faves, visit*

Once you arrive at your destination, then comes the fun part of shopping! While I will always recommend investing in designer labels if your budget allows for it — the added value will only increase — there are definitely still amahzing pieces to be discovered at all price points. You may just have to search a little longer.

In the midst of combing the racks for one-of-a-kind steals, make sure to steer clear of damages. If a garment is not in the best condition, it may not be as valuable. Quality is vital when picking vintage. However, if you do happen to come across something that isn't too expensive, but maybe has a tiny tear, I say go for it and take it to a tailor. You won't regret it!

Now let's talk about the final step, which is how to WEAR vintage. This can be a tricky undertaking, but please do not be afraid to just dive in and test out different looks. The number one rule I want you to remember is to mix your vintage finds with contemporary picks. No head-to-toe vintage. For example, I love the look of a vintage sundress with a modern, fashion-forward shoe, or a current cocktail dress with all retro jewelry. This kind of approach will keep you looking balanced, updated, and inspiring vs. old-fashioned! What could be more glamorous than that? xoRZ

Join The Conversation
Vivi-Vintage Vivi-Vintage 7 years
Vintage is the way to go! I also recommend shopping reputable vintage clothing and accessory websites. Many have great return policies and charge less than a store b/c they aren't charging higher for overhead. Be sure to check out: - This website has a free Personal Stylist feature, where you can mix and match designer dresses with vintage shoes and bags, etc. Good luck and enjoy all that vintage has to offer <3
JemmaJemma JemmaJemma 7 years
Vintage all the way... it's the only way of guaranteeing something truly unique! There are some great online vintage boutiques... Vintage Secret and Juno Says Hello are UK based... though I saw an amazing shop called Consigned Couture up in Greenwich when I was there visiting friends. Check it out!
superninja superninja 7 years
I recommend thrift stores as well (unless you need to go red carpet). You can find vintage designers if you know where to go and are willing to dig. Sometimes the clothes are simply immaculate, a tag still on, even in those places. Don't overlook vintage jewelry that does not have an immediate "wow" factor, either. Even most vintage pieces have some kind of detailing that is unique that make them great for layering and add lots of texture at a great price. Plus, they are not overly shiny and blinged out like a lot of cheap modern costume jewelry. Vintage is so well made compared to most current clothing. I have the nicest closet that I have ever owned and it' almost all thrifted!
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