Vintage Vantage

One of the most fun aspects of shopping at Goodwill® is stumbling upon a vintage treasure. Whether you were in search of that item doesn’t usually seem to matter when the charm of past decades calls out in the form of sweet lace, funky plaid, or even a unique patina. If you know nothing about vintage clothing and home décor other than the fact that you like it, we’ve got some great background information to share with you today! Vintage experts, there are even a few tips we’re going to cover that you may not be aware of, so read on to find out more…

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The trick about incorporating vintage into your lifestyle is that if it isn’t done properly, it can end up looking frumpy, out of date, or pieced together. An old blouse and bureau have one thing in common: if they aren’t styled properly, they detract from the overall look. So how does one show off classic pieces so they become beautiful focal points? By keeping things bright and crisp just as The Goodwill Gal has done in her guest bedroom. If you notice, the whole room has one cohesive color scheme. And although there is chipping paint on a couple of things, it still seems like a really fresh space because it is uncluttered and clean. Also, since not everything in the room is vintage, she can get away with a few things really showing their age. If you want to feel like you live in a time capsule where everything is from a bygone era, then it might be best to seek out mainly pieces that are in mint condition or are perfectly restored otherwise the age will seem obvious, but not in a good way.

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Is it really vintage? With so many reproductions out there and, of course, the spin off styles that tend to come a couple of decades after the real thing, it’s often hard to tell if those bell bottoms are actually from the ‘70s or if they’re fresh out of the ‘90s. A vintage clothing expert, Lisa, from Seattle Goodwill(WA) shares her favorite identifiers for older items that she stumbles upon in the Goodwill clothing section. One quick tip: look to the zipper first! There are several hints waiting for you there that might help you narrow down the timeframe of the item’s production. If it’s on the left side, for example, it’s very likely that the garment was produced during World War II. Why? Because with all of the fellas away at war a lady needed to be able to zip her dress independently! Click through for more age-identifying hints.

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Okay, so you’ve found a great vintage piece while out thrifting, but once you get it home you realize that you can’t just throw it in the wash as you would your jeans or tee shirts. This garment has history stitched right into it! To jeopardize that seems like a crime. Thankfully, Laurie from Goodwill Industries of Alberta took the time to share with us a few of her favorite techniques for caring for vintage clothing. Before reading this I didn’t realize that we all have access to a strong, safe, and – best of all, free – bleach no matter who or where we are: the sun! Rather than risk your delicate vintage linens with the use of dangerous chemicals, just lay stained items outside on a bright day and watch that ice cream evidence fade away. Perfect!

I really love this natural bleaching tip, too, because it aligns with my eco-ethics. One of my most favorite reasons to shop at Goodwill is because buying second-hand items is so much more environmentally friendly than purchasing brand new items (complete with packaging and a new carbon footprint). Being eco-friendly means a lot to Goodwill, too. That’s why Goodwill agencies serve as sustainability innovators by harnessing renewable energy, including installing solar panels on their roofs and becoming LEED certified. This is the cherry on top of why I shop at Goodwill, but, for me, it often comes back to Goodwill being the best place to find vintage at a reasonable price. Wouldn’t you agree?