Saturday, June 20, 2009

Out with the New and in with the Old

Vintage clothing seems to be causing a stir amid the fashion industry at the moment with many designers and high street stores jumping on the band-wagon and opting to derive inspiration from past eras. I myself have always love the idea behind vintage clothing, wondering whether a swinging 60’s shift dress was worn to a Beatles gig, and what song a battered pair of shoes danced to. Spearheads in the vintage revival include Alexa Chung, the Olsen twins and Morrissey; however he does seem to just wear the same stitches he did back in the Smiths hay day, including the ubiquitous nerd-glasses.

The vintage stores in Dublin have never been comparable to the ones in London, Berlin or New York, but have recently stepped up their game. Because of the unique nature and handmade quality of vintage clothing, it tends to be fairly expensive, but it’s a sure bet that no one else will have anything remotely similar. Vintage virgins are put off by the fact that they must trawl through an abundance of rails in order to find something decent. However, vintage has become more accessible to the adoring fashion lovers of Dublin and I wish to impart some of my wisdom and experience as to where you can get the vintage look.

The Harlequin is home to some of the best vintage pieces in Dublin. Sequins, florals and groovy patterns from every era line their colour-coded rails. The basement houses the men’s section that is filled with check shirts as far as the eye can see and here lies the British mod label, Pop. For your convenience, their leather jackets have already been broken-in and their old school tracksuit tops are a hit with the indie kids.

Quack & Dirk is new to the vintage clothing scene and is situated on the Northside of Dublin down an intriguing alleyway off the main Fairview Road. Against a backdrop of red and white walls, the vintage pieces on offer here give a refreshing youthful alternative to the typical ‘vintage’ dresses. The Loft Market, a New York-style indoor fashion market located in the Powerscourt Centre is known for its vintage stalls that are exploding with obscure prints and well preserved jewellery. It is perfect for one-off pieces and the in-house DJ provides an eclectic soundtrack your day of shopping.

In the cobble locked epicentre of quirky that is Temple Bar, lays two unsuspecting vintage abodes. Epoch is a new cranny in an old house on Crow Street that stocks clothes spanning the decades from the ‘50s right up to the early ‘80s. The men’s collection includes jackets, suits, denims and the all important headgear; for the superfly and the super-styled. For ladies there is funky day wear, flowing chiffon pastels, crisp summer whites and a plethora of pearls and beads to accessorise your vintage find. Wild Child, which used to be situated next door, now resides in Georges Street Arcade but you can still find Wild Child’s signature pieces amid a purple haze of far out tunes that will certainly get your shopping senses tingling. My personal favourite are their paisley printed dresses that can be tailored to perfection no matter how wrong the size may be.

Surprisingly, A-wear has recently launched a vintage range in its Henry Street store in a space known as The Attic. In a sectioned off area similar to a desolate house filled with antique chairs and dressers bursting with little trinkets, this new clothes line is conveniently dispersed so there is no need to rustle through rails or wrestle the person beside you. Unlike typical vintage clothing, this line offers a handful of each item along with a size range; a luxury you won’t find in authentic vintage stores. The unique element of vintage is removed but the juxtaposition of these cute pieces against the normal Awear get up offers a fresh outlook to the high street. Their budget-friendly prices are a wonderful prescription for the recession stricken fashionista.

Urban Outfitters has always catered for the vintage look by incorporating it into their usual stock. They take inspiration from second hand pieces and offer alternative looks, but much like A-wear, they tend to reproduce a lot of it to cater for their demanding customers. A Store is Born, to the working students dismay, only opens on a Saturday, but is small enough to whip around on a lunch break. It provides a more elegant side to the vintage look with their stock mainly consisting of gowns and frocks for special occasions.

It is easy to recreate the vintage look without digging out your parents dusty flares. Reinvigorate your wardrobe economically by mixing vintage garments and high street buys. Try wearing wet-look leggings with a paisley printed dress, and the boys can team their skinny jeans with old school cardi’s and jumpers. The world of fashion is head over heels for all things retro and I suggest you follow suite, or at least just start with a tattered vintage blazer.


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