How To Make Vintage Work For You (Part 2)

via artwork made by me!
In the second installment of  'How To Make Vintage Work For You' I'll delve into little tips & tricks that I use to take vintage clothing and bring it back to the 21st century. Because let's face it, some clothes look a bit old fashioned, but with a little alteration here and there you can give it your own personal touch.  It's important to take care of vintage as well. Keep reading to know how!

How Do I Personalise Vintage?

♥ Got it, Flaunt It Firstly, It is imperative to know your body type. Know what accentuates your body and what looks good on you. Some things might look good on the hanger but may not look good on you & vice versa. You can't possibly alter vintage clothing without knowing what looks good on you!
♥ Awkward Sleeves Most vintage blouses or dresses have sleeves that are at awkward lengths. Somewhere between 3/4th sleeves and cap sleeves You can either try rolling the sleeves like you would do to a shirt or cut the excess fabric.
♥ 80's Shoulder Pads Shoulder pads are usually sewn to the garment with a few stitches. So just use a seam ripper to remove those stitches. Sometimes shoulder pads are sewn between the lining and the garment itself. For moments like these, I'd advise you to take help from a skilled tailor. I accidentally ruined a vintage blouse once when I tried to cut open the lining with a scissor and cut the blouse instead. Lesson learnt!
♥ Hem Away Sometimes vintage dresses or skirts look drab or old fashioned but hemming it to suit your height and proportions really makes a world of a difference. I altered this vintage dress to suit my height.
♥ Recycle/ Reuse There are times when you love the fabric of a certain vintage outfit but it's certainly unwearable. Here's when you have to be a little creative. Convert them into cushion covers, table cloths, cloth bags or even cover your journals with it. The possibilities are endless!
♥ Buttons Sometimes you'll find blouses with unique buttons but the garment itself cannot be salvaged. You can rip the buttons out and use them for another blouse or sew it onto the front of a plain skirt!
♥ Add Trims I like to add lace or sequinned trims to plain tops along the sleeves or collar to make them unique. You'll find loads of quirky trims in the market. Here in India, It's not uncommon to find sari trims. Imagine all the beautiful things you could make with them!
♥ Make Vests & Pinafores Sometimes, you'll find stuff with exaggerated shoulders on a beautiful blouse and the like which don't really fit into today's fashion. Maybe if you're at NY Fashion week, just maybe. At times like these I prefer hacking off the sleeves & wearing them as vests. Poofy sleeves on vintage dresses can be hacked to make cute pinafores to layer with a collared blouse!
♥ Belts There's nothing a good slim belt can't fix. Whether you're short or tall, slim belts suit every body type. Wide elastic belts from the 80's work well with vintage dresses too. I made a post about how transform a (not-so-vintage) shift dress where belts play a prominent role. The idea is the same though!
♥ Layer Vintage items are amazing to layer with too. Wear a vintage blouse with an interesting print like a jacket over a tank top or inside a knitted sweater like I did here.

Of course, I prefer not to completely transform a vintage garment because that's where the charm of it lies. I think a million times before modifying a garment. It is true to its time & the elegance of the garment is lost significantly when dramatically altered. Some of my favourite vintage clothes are barely modified.

How Do I Take Care of Vintage?

♥ Clothing It's obvious that vintage clothing needs to be taken care of. A basic rule I follow is that delicate clothing should ALWAYS be hand washed. You don't want that tulle dress ruined in the washing machine, do you?
♥ Bags When it comes to bags, it's important that you take care of it a little more than you would with brand new bags. Since vintage bags are delicate & prone to break easily use yours with care. (I learnt it the hard way when I took a vintage velvet bag for a night out & broke the shoulder strap. Sigh) This shouldn't discourage you from buying vintage bags. They have a charm of their own & they're classic pieces that never go out of style.
♥ Jewellery Vintage jewellery is amazing too whether it's costume jewellery or precious metal jewellery. My aunt just gave me her quirky bangle collection from the 80's and I can't wait to wear them at every chance I get!

Kate from WhereDidUGetThat has the best effortlessly chic vintage wardrobe I've ever seen! Here's a post where she shows you how to wear vintage
Deenie from Bourbon & Gloss also illustrates how she wears vintage.
College Fashion was one of the first "blogs" that I started reading. This 'oldie but a goodie' post is filled with little known tips & tricks about how to care for vintage clothes and shoes.
Paulie Bland from Paulie Antiques is one of my newest favourite bloggers! She was kind enough to share tips on removing stains from delicate vintage clothing.
Do stay tuned for the last post in this series! And of course if you have any questions you can email me at pforpearlblog[at]gmail[dot]com or just send in a request through my "Say Hello!" page.
{Click here to read part one of this series}


  1. Great list! It would be really cool to see you do a tutorial on some of these tips with visuals.

    1. Thanks for commenting! I wanted to make a list of things sort of like a cut & keep guide. Hence the links to blog posts instead of a gargantuan blog post.


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