01 March, 2013

Yes, You Can Wear Vintage On A Budget {Part 1}



The other day I was speaking with Jessica {Chronically Vintage} and we were discussing shipping prices and the high costs of our love of vintage. I decided it’s high time I write something about the budgeting and how to justify an expensive purchase. {Btw- this could work for anyone’s personal hobby or lifestyle.}It feels like there are two groups of vintage enthusiasts. Those of us who are on a tight budget {if there was any doubt as two which category I'm in, this is it} and those who have money to purchase whatever they wish. 

Like most people in today’s economy I live on a budget. We try to manage our money and do our best not to waste it on things that are not actually worth it. What has helped me a lot when it comes to purchasing a certain item is cost per use. Cost per use is probably the most helpful way to spend your money.

Hypothetically if you are purchasing one of those ebook readers {C’mon I’m a writer, so I have to add a little bit about books in here, right? Right!} that are so popular nowadays {personally we have a nook and I’m rather partial to it} depending which brand you want, they may be quite pricey. However, they are normally $200 - $250. Now if you are an avid reader and wish to have any book at your disposal, then maybe it would be good to fork out the cash for such an item because in the long run it will save you a lot of money.


An ebook is just one option. I have a lot of vintage enthusiast friends here following my blog and it’s no surprise how pricey those reproduction items, custom items, and of course vintage items can be. A custom piece can start as little as $50 and go sky high before you know it. Now if you are going to keep said item and wear it, let’s say one day a week for a year, then yes get the item you will be getting more than your money’s worth out of it.

But what about us ladies who cannot afford a custom piece? There is vintage of course. What better way to get that period correct look, than getting an authentic vintage piece?! What if you adore the 1950s. You can expect to pay $50 or more for a simple cotton day dress. And if you are like me and favor the 1940s, prepare to pay $60 or more for it.  You see more woman prefer the two mid-century decades that the demand has driven up the costs for something as simple as a 1940s blouse and that blouse can shoot up to even $60+.

What if you are uncomfortable wearing vintage for fear of damaging it? We already covered the topic of custom made pieces and how expensive they can be. What about reproduction pieces? It really depends on what you are looking for. If you want that sassy rockabilly look, there are oodles of items on ebay that you can get for a fraction of the cost than say my absolute favorite, Bernie Dexter Clothing. If you’re more of an authentic look loving gal, then be prepared to spend some major dollars {or whatever your currency may be}. Hey Day, Trashy Diva {I know that sounds awful, but they've got some spectacular reproduction pieces}, Freddie’s of Pinewood {now has a line of dresses}, ReVamp, etc…

There is always recreating your own vintage pieces. Now recreating vintage dungarees can be difficult and I don’t really recommend it. However, if you want dresses, skirts, sweaters, blouses, and slacks, just find some patterns in your size. Just be prepared for the prices of fabric. I suggest if you are starting out buy cotton fabric or cotton blend. Not only is it period correct for any decade, but it is practical. Cotton is pretty much wash and wear. So make sure when you are purchasing fabric, you not only love, but will be able to wear with different accessories or sweaters.


Finally if you are like me and a purchase of the above mentioned would be a huge splurge purchase {except for the purchase of fabric}, then you have one option left…thrifting!! Going to thrift shops and places such as Goodwill, you can find tons of vintage inspired pieces and sometimes can even come across some authentic vintage pieces as well. Between Goodwill, thrift shops, ebay, and plain vintage inspired pieces I can get at local shops pretty makes up my entire wardrobe.

Yet, somehow I think we’re getting the wrong image of what the vintage life and thinking actually is. That is if you are wanting the vintage life. I would love to take that plunge, but because of my budget and daily life, to wear vintage on occasion so my nicer pieces that I spend so much on and do not get the use as I wish they would.

I so far have three parts {including this post} to this series on wearing vintage on a budget. I'm hoping you will enjoy this series as much as I am writing them. Until part deux...

10 comments:

  1. I just responded to your comment on my post regarding this very thing. Reproductions and retro styled clothing can sometimes be more expensive than the actual vintage pieces are. I really limit myself to what I buy and if its a pricey item, I really have to love it before forking over the money. Sometimes I will even wait a few days so that I can think about it and then come back to see if I still love it as much, before deciding on whether or not to buy it.

    Great post! I cant wait for part two. =)

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  2. Great article. For me, it's easier and less frustrating to make my own clothes. I'm a plus size gal and all the repro clothes out there run a minimum of $150 for a decent dress. I can make at least 5 dress for the price of one. I have found vintage pieces thrifting but they are all so tiny!

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    1. Thank you! It really is so hard for plus size gals and XXS gals to find vintage who will fit them and for the price to be reasonable.

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  3. Terrific first entry in this series about a subject that is especially near and dear to my own heart (thank you very much for the sweet mention). I think that one of the things that can help when it comes to wearing vintage on a budget is not look at things as an "all or nothing" situation, in the sense that there are multiple sources where your vintage or vintage appropriate fashions can come from, as you touched on here. The two biggest categories of clothes in my closet are (true) vintage and vintage appropriate modern pieces, followed by 80s does 40s/50s garments and repro items. The vast majority of them were either great bargains (sought out at length) or investment pieces, which I think is how many of us on tight budgets choose to operate.

    Can't wait to read the next two posts on this topic, dear Sean.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Thank you, Jessica!! Well, if it weren't for our FB convos, I'd never have done this. That's basically the same as my wardrobe. It's easier to get those 80s 90s vintage than it is the older decades.

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  4. You know I find that a lot of reproductions can cost the same as the original, if not more. If this is the case, I'd much prefer the original. Also, where I live it's difficult to thrift and get a good deal. But, when I am on vacation, where my mother lives in Michigan it's a different story. I guess it all depends where you live if you can find good affordable vintage. I don't even find good vintage at any Goodwill where I live. It's all Kohl's stuff, "made in China". I would have to go to a specialty thrift shop. But, this is why I am so grateful for the internet. I find some fantastic deals on ebay and Etsy. I look at some pieces as investments and others as ones I don't mind to wear with a lot of frequency. I also think could I sell this at the price I paid for it or even make a slight profit? There are also pieces I look at as heirloom pieces that I know my daughter will appreciate and I'm amazed at how well they have survived.

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    1. I do, too!! If only I can get it in my size. LOL! I definitely think it has a lot to do with where you are. I know loads of items can be found in the North West than in the East. Why, who knows?! Me, too. However some new items can work well with the vintage look and don't cost me an arm and a leg.

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  5. Looking forward to the rest of this series! This is pretty much why I took up sewing - hunting and buying what I really wanted is just too expensive and time consuming. I want to know how your blouse is going?

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    1. Thanks, Dame! :) Yeah, that is also why I am trying to learn more and more about sewing and knitting. Even wanting to do more DIY refashioning to make things more vintage appropriate. I'll be posting on that later this week. :-D I wish I wasn't such a slow sewer. I feel like I'm faster at knitting...I don't know what that's all about. LOL!

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