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Made in Los Angeles

Vintage Clothes: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

On January 6, 2016, by Andrew Corbett

Stop Staring 17

Anyone who’s searched throughout flea markets and consignment shops for second-hand treasures knows first-hand that vintage fashion can be good, bad… or even downright ugly. We’ve rounded up the best fashion staples along with some of most infamously misguided styles as a cautionary tale of what happens when bad vintage happens to good people.

Shoulder Pads

You know the story well. You see the perfect dress or jumpsuit, and it fits you like a dream from the décolletage down… but what is going on with the shoulders?! Unfortunately, many otherwise amazing styles were designed with freakishly oversized shoulder pads sewn inside, and even cutting them out doesn’t offer much of a solution given the excess fabric required to house such monstrous devises. The idea behind shoulder pads makes sense when it comes to enhancing an hourglass shape and balancing shoulders and hips. But when used in excess, this style is dated and cartoonish.

Gaudy Prints

Any color has the propensity to wow when styled correctly, but certain combinations are altogether wrong. Mismatched, dated and oftentimes geometric patterns usually don’t do anyone any favors. We’re sure that some skilled ladies out there can find clever ways to style neon floral motifs, but as a general rule, it’s best to leave them be.

Awkward Collars

You know exactly what we’re talking about! From square sailor collars to crochet doilies, some collars are just bad. This is primarily differentiated against based on the overall style of the garment, so as a basic guideline, a big collar looks more refined when paired with a minimalistic dress. Once you add polka dots, pearl buttons and pleats, the collar only adds to the visual confusion.

Sloppy Sweater Vests

There’s nothing worse than a sloppy, oversized vest that’s designed to be fitted. These are typically cut so that they swallow your frame, and most vintage styles seem to have that signature holiday theme. There’s no way to wear these effectively other than attending an ugly sweater party.

Frumpy Jumpers 

Oversized, shapeless jumpers are found in abundance at vintage shops, but they don’t do much for a woman’s figure. Metal buckles can look particularly dated, as well. Unless you can find a style that suits your frame or is easily cinched at the waist, these are hard to master.

Failed Florals

Generally speaking, florals are pretty and feminine. However, there are some bad flowers lurking in the garden. Whether it’s an oversized, randomly placed rose on a corduroy vest or a series of vines scattered across a sweater, these prints should stay buried.

The Good 

Don’t let these vintage bad guys make you fear shopping for older styles! There’s so much good waiting to be discovered between those holiday vests and sailor collars. Keep an eye out for dresses and suits with fitted silhouettes for a streamlined look that never goes out of style. Belted waists, coordinating sets and monochromatic hues all help to make a garment timeless and flattering.

Another benefit of vintage clothing is that most items are made of durable fabrics, which is something today’s fashions are largely lacking. In a world where everything is now sheer or “semi-sheer,” it’s comforting to know that these older models were made with modesty in mind.

What are your favorite vintage looks, and which styles make you shudder? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section!


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