Monday, May 28, 2007

What's old is new again?

Don't save your old clothes thinking that they'll be popular again. They won't... not in the exact same styles, colors and lengths. It's a huge mistake to think that you can wear old, trendy clothes, unless you're going to a costume party.

Fashions may seem to repeat, but it's the influence that repeats, not the exact same style, color and fabric.

The famous and beloved Lilly Pulitzer clothes are back, but they're fresher now. The prints are more animated and vital. The fabrics are softer and drape in more flattering ways. The designs are less traditional. Lilly's trademark fashions are still cute, but now they're practically traffic-stoppers.

Check fashion magazines such as Allure that show you other "then and now" versions of fashions. You'll see that today's updates are just that: Updates. Some elements will be the same, but others will be different. And, those differences are significant.

For example, many of today's popular fabrics are clearly inspired by mid-1960s geometrics. However, the colors are fresher now.

If you studied a garment from the 60s--no matter how well maintained--the colors would look faded because... well, the dyes and fabrics are about 40 years old.

In many cases, today's fabrics are higher quality. Those 1960s cotton blends weren't as refined as they are today. Manufacturers have learned a lot about finishes as well as the materials that go into today's cotton blends.

If you are able to find a vintage 1960s garment that still looks great, be sure to get it altered to fit you perfectly. Take it to a tailor who specializes in fine fitting. (If you're not sure, ask a top fashion store to recommend a good tailor.) 1960s clothes--with or without funky darts designed for very different undergarments--didn't fit as well as today's fashions do.

In general, old and trendy clothes--less than 50 years old--can provide great retro inspiration for fun, new fashions. But, the original fashions usually won't impress anyone.

By contrast, vintage accessories can add quirky, wonderful accents to your wardrobe. Retro scarves, purses and jewelry are fabulous additions to many outfits.

Upscale second-hand shops can be a great resource for high-quality vintage accessories. Yard sales and jumble sales can yield amazing and fun wardrobe items. If you live in an area where retirees move, you may find a gold mine in estate sales, thrift shops and rummage sales.

In general, it's best to remember fondly fashions from the past. The modern, updated versions are vastly better than their vintage counterparts.