Old is the New “New”

Written by on November 24, 2012 in Fashion, Women - No comments

In recent years, the vintage look has emerged as a leading trend among the fashionable set.  Beginning with the retro sixties designs that designers showed on the runways a few years ago, this trend has only gained momentum in the ensuing seasons.

Thrift store shopping has become de rigueur and an explosion of vintage store have opened both online and on the ground. This popular trend allows anyone, no matter the size of their budget, access to  “on-trend” looks.

As it turns out, it’s also one of the more affordable ways to shop sustainably. Anything you acquire through a secondhand channel is an item that you diverted from the landfill. It bears mentioning that textiles account for over 5% of all waste in landfills in the United States alone. That translates into over 13 billions tons of clothing and footwear.

Whether you take your clothes to a Savers, Goodwill, Oxfam or a consignment shop, or you purchase at these locations, you are doing your part in the reduction waste in the fashion industry.

Shopping in the vintage and secondhand markets does require a bit of knowledge to do it successfully. First, you have to be able to discern quality.  Shopping at high-end consignment shops diminishes the risk, but it is correspondingly increases the cost. Still it’s a good place to start if you are new to the game.

Once you gain familiarity with quality brands and construction, shopping at more affordable shops will seem less daunting in terms of sifting through the volumes of merchandise to find the gems at greatly reduced prices.



Secondly, having a fair understanding of current trends is key. The trends for this fall according to Style.com are oversized outerwear, royal brocades, and head-to-toe leather.

Also look for fur (preferably faux) as almost a detail as in the form of a trim or in  sections like sleeves or just the front panel of a jacket. Matching printed tops and bottoms popular in the late 60’s and early 70’s are big this season.

The silhouette is about structured curve right now, which is achieved with peplums, a-la the 80’s. Finally, look for pleated high-waisted pants from the late 80’s and tailored slim-fitting pants from the 60’s.

The palette for the season is black, white, and neutrals; particularly contrasted in a single garment. Also orange has been replaced by pink as the current “it” color. While you’re perusing the secondhand racks keep your eye out for brights (not neon) as well.


If you don’t have a stylish relative or live a near a shopping district with used clothing stores, you can find beautiful vintage pieces online.

The Rusty Zipper has a large inventory. The site also does a good job of communicating the size of a piece by indicating measurements. This is very helpful because used garments are often altered making the size on the label an ineffective gauge of potential fit.

Another popular site for vintage and vintage-inspired fashion is Mod Cloth.  They carry a combination of one-of-a-kind vintage and estate pieces as well as new retro styles made by independent designers. With an incredibly large selection of unique pieces you are almost assured that you are not going to be see yourself coming or going wherever you are.

About the Author


Oceana Lott travels the world and writes about ethical fashion from her home in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to her blog, titled Oceana’s Canvas, you can follow her on Twitter at OceanasCanavas, Facebook at Oceana’s Canvas – Ethical Style, and Pinterest at Oceana’s Canvas.

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