I’m like a magpie when it comes to sparkly things so it’s no wonder the vintage clothing items taking up a disproportionate amount of space in my closet are glistening beaded and sequined clothes. I’ve been buying these types of vintage wear since the early days and continue to do so.
Pretty sequined items are in abundance in vintage shops and thrift stores making beaded tops and this type of statement jacket a good option for any beginner collector as well as seasoned ones.
The only thing one needs to look for is flaws ie: missing beads or sequins. These clothes are fragile and can become easily damaged and trashed over time especially on the rack. I’m very selective. A few missing beads or loose bits won’t put me off buying something really special. I don’t mind a little bit of mending, however, I pass on anything noticeably flawed.
Ornate and embellished party jackets known as trophy jackets have been popular for decades. They spruce up any outfit immediately. I’m drawn to cocktail jackets from the 1950s or 1960s, and 1980s versions with big shoulder pads. I appreciate the versatility of a trophy jacket in that they can be dressed down with jeans and a t-shirt or worn for a special occasion.
This one above, I refer to as my Coat of Many Colors. I bought it from a collector so it’s in excellent condition.
My grandmother would have loved this blue, turquoise, gold and white jacket. These were her favorite colors. I bought this from a shop in New Orleans last year. I had to reinforce a few beads on the shoulder but it was worth it. I like to wear this one with faded and/or ripped jeans. Because the jacket is over the top (high), I like to
This black velvet and gold jacket was an antique store find. I was shopping in a huge antique mall in Atlanta and this was hanging on a rack in one of the cubicles. It didn’t cost much and it’s easy to style.
A spectacular trophy jacket is this one from a vintage clothing store in London. It’s in mint condition and I love the beaded patchwork.
Beaded & Sequined Tops
This burgandy and black top is a Seattle score. It fits me like a glove. I particulary like the design of the beading and the shape detail on the cuff.
These 1980s cocktail tops are ubiquetous in thrift stores and vintage shops and super affordable. I imagine most of these were worn to parties in their day so check closely for flaws. This purple one is so gaudy, it’s great. It could have come right off the set of Dynasty.
This Mexican top is from the 1940s. I paid up for it from a collector and promptly ruined it by attempting to wash it by hand. Some of the black dye bled. My plan to save it is to dye the whole thing. I haven’t got around to doing this yet. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to preserve it because it’s gorgeous and the perfect lightweight summer top.
One of my favorites is this yellow top from Lucky Vintage in Seattle. I have since seen this exact top in other colors at vintage shops and I’ve been tempted to buy another one but I’m trying to show restraint and just be grateful for the one I own because it’s perfect.
You’ll find plenty of sequined or beaded tank tops in vintage shops. I have about six of them and don’t think I’ve ever spent over $25 for one. I wear them over or under clothes.
Having just one statement piece in your wardrobe will always occupy a special place in your closet knowing you can add instant sparkle to any outfit and chances are none of your friends will own anything like it.