A Personal Stylist's Guide to 10 Vintage Items You Must Have

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Written by: kellysparks
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The thrill of the hunt:

I have been wearing vintage clothes since Secondary School. My older stepbrother Paul, known as the “king of punks” in our hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, opened my eyes to a whole new way to acquire unique and affordable fashion.  At 16, I didn’t have much disposable income but could still leave a charity store with a huge bag of goodies. Since then, I’ve amassed a veritable library of  vintage clothes. My style and taste has become more refined, but whether I’m visiting family in Cincinnati or vacationing in Paris, I always have to hit at least one vintage or charity shop. And of course when I’m on my couch and the urge to hunt strikes, I always have eBay.  

As a personal stylist, one of the first questions I ask a new client is whether they already wear vintage or would consider it. I’m always surprised that the majority of them say yes, but that do not know where (or how) to find good vintage clothing. And even if they did, they struggle with how to incorporate the pieces into their everyday wardrobe. That’s where I can really help. There are ten vintage items that I think every woman needs in her wardrobe. Frequently, they’re more affordable and better quality than their contemporary counterparts. And yes, if styled correctly, they will set you apart from the norm by delivering that vintage “cool” factor! 
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#1) The Classic Tan Trench

Rain or shine, a  classic trench is my number one Fall topper! There is just something so chic about being prepared for all types of weather while also looking perfectly pulled together.   

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Too buttoned up?

If you feel that a tan trench is just too classic for you and you prefer something with a bit more edge, opt for a  leather version. I am a huge fan of coloured leather so if  tan is not your thing, go for a pretty colour like emerald green or cordovan and you will be right on trend for Fall.
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#2) Wool Pea Coat

I live in my black pea coat during the Autumn and Winter. The structure of the collar and the well-cut lines make you look sleek even if you just rolled out of bed.  Pop the collar, throw on some  jeans, a crisp white button-down, and some  kitten heels, and off you go in style!  If you are petite, you can even find boys’ pea coats that have a dynamic young vibe without making you look like you should be running around on the playground, or joining the Navy. 

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#3) Vintage Levi’s Jeans

Yes, you can find a “  boyfriend jean” anywhere right now, but there really is nothing like a true Levi's 501 to really capture that authentic look. Remember, these jeans are supposed to be baggy so make sure to size up, not down.  Also, higher-waisted "  mom jeans" are back in fashion so these 501’s are just the ticket. Seriously! 
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#4) The Mod StripedTee

Nothing screams 1960s pop art like a classic  striped t-shirt. Whether it’s navy and white or black and white, you really can’t go wrong with a striped top.  Pair it with jeans,  pencil skirts, or even  leather pants.  Buy it big, roll up the sleeves, and wear it with cropped  skinny black trousers for a slouchy cool Edie Sedgewick glamour look. Or buy it fitted, tuck it in your black pencil skirt, add some heels, and you’re ready for the day. 
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#5) Sequin Blouse

Now here is the fun stuff! You’re probably thinking you could never wear a  vintage sequin top.  I am here to tell you that if you want something fun to throw on for a special night out on the town there is nothing more fabulous than one of these babies.  Sequins are making a huge comeback and vintage absolutely beats contemporary in construction quality. In the 1960s and 1970s, sequin tops were made in so many amazing patterns and colour combos that you are bound to find one that suits your fancy. If you feel too dressed up, balance out this sparkly number with your boyfriend jeans and  strappy heels and hit the dance floor (or martini bar).  
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#6) Full 50’s style skirt

I am a huge fan of 1950s fashion and a  full skirt is just the ticket for a flirty day.  The fuller skirt is coming back around in fashion and was all over the runways this Fall. Pair it with a white or black tee, a leather jacket and you will be singing the Grease soundtrack all day long. (Hopefully to yourself.) 
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#7) Jean jacket

A touch of denim is always a good idea!  A  jean jacket is one of those layering items you can throw on over or under anything to add that cool tomboy edge. It’s truly all in the mix, so for me I love to layer my jean jacket with a  faux fur coat in the colder months or under my trench coat for a more classic look in the Autumn.  Leather and denim are the perfect contrast, so wear your jean jacket over (or under) your favourite leather moto or pair it with your favourite  leather pants or  leggings

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#8) Something Furry

Vintage real or  faux fur in your closet will add a touch of fun glamour on those cold days or nights when you need a little something to dazzle. No, you won’t wear it every day but we all have special events where we want to feel cozy but also especially fashionable. Again, mix it up! Wear it with jeans, a  silk blouse, and some  killer heels and you are ready for any holiday party. Honestly, just seeing it in your closet will most definitely make you happy. 
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Not a fan of allover fuzz?  Opt for a  leather jacket or a tailored  wool coat with just a touch of fur at the collar.  Equally as fun!
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#9) Vintage clutch

A good and affordable evening bag can be a holy grail, so I’m always in search of  vintage clutches with top-notch craftsmanship.  Instead of carrying the crazy expensive “it” bag everybody else is coveting, carry your own “it” bag that isn’t currently in any store window.  Black is always a winner as it will go with any outfit. 
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Personally, I also love unique pieced  leather clutches too.  A clutch can be a great day-into-night item as you can just throw it in your  tote before heading to the office, and pull it out later for an instant evening pick-me-up. 
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#10) Signature scarf

Style is all in the details, and a beautiful signature scarf can make your look and jazz up even the most basic outfit. Be it classic  Hermes, pop geometrics from Vera Neumann, or any other pattern that speaks to you simply search eBay for “  vintage silk scarves” and you’ll be sure to find that special one. Double tie one around your neck for just a pop of colour, let it fly in the wind when you are playing with your kids at the park, or wrap it on your head as you race around town in your Karmann Ghia convertible. Vintage, of course.  

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