I dove headfirst into this trend, and was pretty lucky, because my mom, who had lived in New York in her 20s, had held onto most of her clothes, and I was able to raid her old wardrobe for some great pieces. I wore my mother's old party dresses and fancy attire, mixed in with basic items like jeans or simple skirts. I also shopped in used clothing stores, and even worked in a few of the more famous New York City ones (Canal Jean Co. and Reminiscence), for quite a few years during and post college.
|Outside Scribner's bookstore in some typical '80s city garb — antique coat and scarf, cropped jeans, short boots.|
|In SoHo, near the basketball courts, wearing my "James Dean Rebel Without A Cause" reversible jacket that used to be my mom's, a vintage scarf that originally belonged to my grandfather, and some antique clip-on earrings.|
I was always a little leery of those overcoats, some still with an odor of mothballs. I wondered where the store's antiques buyer had found them. Were they really so many old men in Cincinnati no longer in need of their winter overcoats, or were they just from some overstuffed warehouse, where they never sold? And here they were, on the backs of New Yorkers (and New Jerseyans and Long Islanders, etc.) 40 years later. But tons of people bought them, and wore them during the cold winter, and looked pretty cool while doing it. Even as an avid film buff, I couldn't really remember any old black and white movie featuring overcoats exactly like these, but I think a lot of people were buying these sorts of clothes and remaking themselves in what they saw as more modern versions of cinematic superstars of the past, like Humphrey Bogart or Lauren Bacall. I know I was at times.
|In one of my mom's old party dresses, channeling Kim Novak.|
Fashion these days, in comparison, is pretty boring. People seemed to pay a little more attention to putting together a look in the '80s. Maybe their outfits were over-the-top, but they were interesting, too. What current fashion trend is interesting? Certainly not leggings, or the persistent wearing of one's trousers 4 to 5 inches below one's underwear. Where are all the fun clothes?
|This fun little number probably cost me round $5.00, and the vintage shoes and oversized blue plastic hoop clip-on earrings, not much more. It was a wow at the Warhol opening at MoMA. And more than that, as you can see, it was a lot of fun to wear.|
I've been wondering if this latest film version of The Great Gatsby will spawn another "vintage glamour is back" moment. These trends never really seem to take hold for long, however. Fashion trends only last from one season to the next. Lots of folks like myself still enjoy shopping at thrift and used clothing stores. It might never be like it was in the '80s, when vintage clothing and style became a bigger trend. I find that a little sad. But I guess you can now be prepared for the sight of me walking down the street in a vintage trumpet skirt or something similar. I warned you.