Rushville Republican

April 11, 2014

Second hand rose...or fashionista?

By Linda Hamer Kennett What's in the Attic?
Rushville Republican

---- — “Fashion is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma”....John Fairchild

1940’s sensible shoes with a ‘70’s midi-skirt. High waist skirts with over the knee boots. Polka dot shirts with bell-bottom pants. Retro fashion is here to stay, and why not? What other form of styling allows you to live on a budget and recycle while expressing own unique personality?

Consider by some to be a new trend in shopping, retro fashions have actually been growing in popularity since the early 1990’s. Always on the cutting edge, whether politically, professionally or for her wardrobe choices, Barbara Streisand was one of the first mega stars to sing the praises of retro/vintage dressing. Soon followed by the likes of Bette Midler, Kate Moss and Julie Roberts and Madonna, the retro trend was in full swing by the dawn of the new millennium and continues through today.

The majority of retro clothing {fashions from 1940-1980} has been previously worn. However, there are occasionally pieces that surface from old warehouse stock or the back of someone’s closet. These unworn pieces are rare and more valuable than their “previously owned” counterparts, especially if they still carry their original price tags. But beware. Items that have never been in circulation are sometime warehouse “deadstock” that was held back because the pieces were flawed. Exercise caution here and take a moment to examine old clothing with the original tags.

Selecting the proper size in retro clothing takes some adjusted thinking. What constituted a size medium in the 1970’s would be more appropriately labeled and extra-small by today’s standards. In general people were smaller pre-1980, in fact obesity was all but unheard of. For this reason most retro clothing did not come in XL. XXL etc. If you have trouble finding retro clothing in your size you might consider making your own from the wide selection of “new” retro patterns available.

A strong factor in the popularity of retro fashion has to be the incredible span of styles that evolved during in the mid-20th century. Adaptable to any age or price range selections vary from Disco and Glam-Rock to the simplicity of the Peasant, Surfer and “Annie Hall” looks. In pre-1980’s restaurants women were not allowed to wear slacks pre-1980, inspiring the creation of the (acceptable) flare legged jumpsuit. Skirt styles ran the gambit from mini to maxi dependent upon you taste. Tie die fabric and “love beads” allowed you create your own fashions at home and for the rebellious there was there was always leather and “Punk”.

Fashion experts suggest several tips to get you started on your “retro-robe”. 1) high-cut jeans that sit just above the navel. 2) Polka dot and striped fabric for skirts, shirts and accessory pieces. 3) Over sized sunglasses. 4) Bight colors for day wear. 5) Gold lame and sequined fabrics for evening.........and hats, hats, hats.

Shopping venues abound for retro clothing. Women of the mid-20th Century were a frugal lot who seldom discarded their out of style clothing, making Mom or Grandma’s closet a great {and affordable} way to start your search. Other popular venues include, flea markets, consignment shops, garage sales and second hand shops. Online shopping offers both convenience and wide range selections. Check out eBay, Etsy, and Until next time........Linda

(Linda Hamer Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in down-sizing for seniors and the liquidation of estates and may be reached at 317-429-7887 or