You may be overwhelmed at the idea of adding vintage into your life even though you love it! Thoughts like, “Oh, I have no taste” or “I don’t know how to decorate” or “Wearing vintage with this outfit? You’re kidding, right?”
Breathe deep. This too was me. Albeit, it was a very long time ago. Because like this subject matter, I too am vintage. But I sell vintage clothing now and I basically live and breathe vintage because I love it so much.
My love for it began many moons ago. It harkened back to the days of being a wee one (okay, ten years old) and scouring, loving, obsessing over antique stores (and thrift stores.)
I suppose this means my life for vintage came from my mom and dad. And not because they too are vintage. They’ve always loved old things and so do I! (Folks, here’s the 411: vintage is anything that is over twenty years old—that’s right. No, that’s not a typo. And antique is anything over one hundred years old.)
We would traipse from
And now with online sales, things have changed. Yes, we still have amazing antiques stores, and they are even more magical now because they are fewer and farther between, but today we can find a vintage clock, or a vintage painting, or a vintage tin can with the click of a mouse.
There are a few “rules” I use when incorporating vintage. And because vintage is such a part of my life, I’d love to share them with you.
There is no right or wrong in vintage.
Okay. Plain and simple. Taste is personal be it in clothes, furniture, or food. Vintage is the same. What one may think as tacky, another will think as gorgeous. Vintage is subjective. The whole “trash to me, treasure to another” is as real as the giant Elvis cardboard cutout you have in your office. And that’s okay. There is no right or wrong choices in vintage. So have fun with it!
Study your vintage subject
Probably the coolest thing about vintage is studying what you’ve found. Find a painting you adore with a signature? Jump on the internet and find out who the artist is! Want to know what year that vintage denim Levi’s jacket is you found? Or what about the classic side table with scrolling legs that Aunt Nora gave you? Research it. It’s the story behind the piece that gets me every time. I fall in love with it even more. And I’m never disappointed with what I’ve learned. Ever. More advice: never stop learning and you’ll live the most interesting life!
Buy vintage that speaks to you.
Listen, who cares if what you like isn’t the most valuable or most collectible. At the end of the day, you have to live with the piece whether it’s in your home or on you. If you only kind like the item, but it’s from the turn of the century (making it more valuable), then don’t get it! If it’s vintage green pottery that speaks so loudly to you that you’re drooling when you peruse Etsy or Ebay, then go with that! Sometimes, it’s the small, insignificant things in life that bring the most joy.
Just as the author Marie Kondo of the best seller, The life-changing magic of Tidying Up (I highly recommend this book) says with living minimally, “Keep only those things that speak to your heart.” Um okay. Simple enough. The same applies to vintage. If what you think you should be collecting doesn’t excite you, don’t buy it. Buy stuff that gets you going!
Buy vintage classics.
I know. That part about me saying “Buy what you like” is sort of doing a 180 right now. But only for those of you who love vintage and also want an investment and something timeless. If you want that trifecta perfection, then there’s one rule for you: buy classic. Traditional furniture, classic wardrobe pieces, traditional décor.
Trends come and go but classic is classic because regardless of the year, you can hang it on your wall or put in on your body and your peeps won’t know if it’s new or old! Talk about saving money over time. Not saying a trend or two isn’t essential for keeping things lively, but classics will always give you the biggest bang for your buck.
These are my basics for a vintage life. I buy what I love. I also have to buy what I love and sell what I love because my closet is groaning (literally groaning, I mean if I have to squeeze one more vintage sweater in there …)
Vintage is supposed to be fun, crazy, subjective, and freeing. So enjoy it! Buy what you like, incorporate it sparingly, or go full throttle and LIVE vintage.
Life is short. Live it happy with who you are, not what others think you should like or have. And that means if you love high-waisted vintage acid washed jeans (yes, those are trendy just for the record and they are now vintage) or if you love collecting oil painting of ships on the New England coast, awesome!
Create your own vintage setting, your own vintage style, and you’ll live an authentic and very vivacious vintage life that tells the story of you.
MORE BY HEATHER SPIVA: