10 Essentials For A Killer Vintage Wardrobe

vintage clothing

Looking to incorporate vintage pieces into your look but don’t know where to start? Here are ten essentials every vintage collector has in their closet.

Whether you are just beginning your journey into vintage clothing or you’re well on your way and wondering which vintage pieces you should look for as you browse vintage stores or online, here is a guideline of closet essentials from a 25-year vintage collector.

1. A Cool Blazer

vintage blazer
vintage country band blazer (stage clothes)

Vintage blazers can make a statement. For instance, this country band blazer that I found amongst the racks at Cambridge Antique Market in Boston for $15. I love to pair a contemporary look with a vintage blazer.

vintage school uniform blazer
vintage school blazer

Likewise, I love wearing this navy blue, vintage school blazer with jeans. It’s a nice alternative to a black blazer.

2. Band Tee or Sweatshirt

vintage band tee
vintage band tee

I love a graphic tee whether it is new or old but a worn-in, much-loved vintage tee is perfect for a casual outfit or dressed up under a blazer. I found this vintage AC/DC band tee at Goodwill for $3.00 and reach for it more often than contemporary tees in my dresser.

vintage sweatshirt vintage essentials
vintage sweatshirt

Similarly, one can find some great vintage sweatshirts that may in fact be one of a kind such as this vintage red sweatshirt from Lucky Vintage in Seattle.

3. Vintage Denim

vintage essentials denim Levi 501

Denim can be worn in a million different ways. Every vintage collector has a treasured collection of vintage jeans whether they be Levi’s, Wranglers, Lee, Jordache, or no label vintage denim. They are fundamental for any vintage wardrobe.

Vintage Lee jeans
vintage lee jeans

These vintage Lee jeans are one of my favorite finds of all time. They are thrashed so I try to elevate them for example with this navy blue St. John cardigan and Equipment blouse.

4. A Beaded Something

vintage beaded top
vintage 80s beaded top

Thrift shops and vintage stores are packed with the most exquisite beaded, sequined, embellished clothing items, and accessories. Many are priced to sell and some will be priced on the higher end. I love these types of statement pieces to elevate a casual look or to dress up.

I bought this beaded trophy jacket in mint condition at a secondhand shop in London.

5. Skirt

vintage lace skirt
vintage velvet and lace skirt

Whether you like simple and understated skirts or fancy and over-the-top varieties such as these two, skirts are an excellent way to incorporate vintage into an everyday wardrobe. You’ll find skirts in abundance and very affordable in thrift shops and online.

vintage lace skirt
vintage lace slip

This vintage skirt is actually a slip that I bought at Brimfield Flea for $20.

6. Dress

vintage dress

There must be enough rails of vintage dresses to circle the earth. The choices are endless considering the many different past decades and styles to choose from as well as prints, patterns, and colors. Modernize a vintage dress by wearing it with trainers or another type of current shoe.

7. Silk Blouse

vintage silk blouse
vintage blouse + vintage argyle sweater

There is a ton of vintage polyester in the world. I have a few vintage tops in this fabric but I try to avoid it as a rule. If you see a vintage 100% silk blouse in good condition, snag it. You won’t regret it. I got this one new with tags at a flea market.

vintage blouse flea market find
vintage new with tags silk blouse

8. Cowboy Boots

vintage cowboy boots flea market find
vintage cowboy boots

Whether you think of yourself as a country mouse or a city mouse, vintage cowboy boots are a fantastic addition to any vintage lover’s wardrobe. I love these vintage silver and gold cowboy boots as a cool alternative to black boots.

9. Statement Coat or Jacket

vintage 1950 coat
vintage 1950s coat

Make a statement with vintage outerwear. Look for something formal such as this navy 1950s winter coat or something more casual like a vintage jean jacket or an army jacket.

vintage levi's jacket essentials
vintage 1960s levi’s trucker jacket

10. Special Occasion Piece

vintage sequin dress vintage essentials

Have at least one vintage special occasion dress in the closet and you will always be ready for any special event or date. It will save you from the stress of panic shopping. You’ll save money, and you’ll be wearing something uniquely you at your next fancy do.

vintage maxi dress
vintage maxi dress

How to build a vintage wardrobe

Part 1 Introduction

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