Does the clothing we put on our bodies tell a story? Of course it does. How could it not? Each day that we stand in front of our closets, we decide how we want to present our exterior selves to the world. Some of us dress to reflect our mood, some for comfort, some for status, and others purely for the love of fashion. Regardless of the reasoning behind our outfit choices, each item we put on our bodies contains memories: the necklace your Grandmother gave you for Christmas, the shirt you were wearing the first time you were kissed, the skirt you wore to your first job interview. One day somebody else might have their own life adventures in your most treasured and loved pieces of clothing. It’s weird to think about…
Now, of course not every piece of clothing conjures such powerful memories, but all clothing has some type of story to tell. Who owned that shirt? What was she like? What life event occurred when she was wearing that necklace? Could this bracelet have gone through multiple owners? What did she look like when she wore these pants? This past weekend when I attended the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show, all these questions came rushing at me as I tried on piles of costume jewelry, picked up gorgeous beaded bags from the 60s, played with the tassels on amazing jackets from the 70s, and ran my hands over the softest Italian cashmere. I was clearly surrounded by clothing and accessories, but underneath all that, I really was being engulfed by a multitude of stories from the past, like holding on to a tiny piece of history. Because, really, when you think about it, that’s what vintage is all about: being able to slow time down, just for a moment, and bring back something “old” into our modern world. Vintage is about seeing a black and white photograph of the most glamorous woman of the 60s, wearing some impeccable gown, and knowing you want to bottle up all that fabulousness and project it yourself. Vintage clothing allows you to just that: to pass on happiness, confidence, and style.
Personally, my experience with vintage clothing is not extensive, but it’s always fascinated me, which made attending the Vintage Clothing Show such a treat. Because of my limited experience with vintage, I don’t have much to compare the show to, but I can say that I was overwhelmed by the many vendors and their extensive collections. The room itself where all the vendors were located was not overly large. In my head I actually pictured it to be bigger, to be honest, but with so many different beautiful things to look at, it would be easy to spend your whole afternoon getting lost searching for treasures. The show carried everything from hats and shoes (of all sorts), to purses and dresses, to coats and sweaters, and to necklaces and earrings. I actually remember looking at the array of items and saying, “this is overwhelming” (but in the best way possible, of course).
I spent the majority of my time in one particular booth, looking at jewelry (it’s my weakness). Unfortunately for my bank account, the looking quickly turned into spending and I picked up a couple items (I’ll have to share photos). All the items were in great condition. My bracelet is from the 60s, and of course had a great antique look to it but the quality itself has lasted these 50 odd years. Pretty impressive. It actually appeared to me that most items that were being sold at this show were in great shape. You weren’t about to find some ratty, tattered skirt, or some dingy coffee-stained t-shirt being sold amongst these vendors. You could tell the vendors took great care to present quality merchandise. Did I mention they even had vintage designer items to view (or buy if your pockets are deep enough)? Seeing a Vintage Chanel sweater was highly impressive and made this fashion geek swoon.
All in all, attending The Toronto Vintage Clothing Show makes for a great afternoon and is well wroth the $10 admission fee; I highly recommend it, especially if you love fashion like me. It gets you away from the routine of walking around a stuffy mall. We’ve all walked by the same stores, purchased the same items—it gets boring after a while. Not only that, but exploring vintage gives you the opportunity to add unique pieces to your closet—ones that nobody else has. And don’t forget, each item that you do pick up, it has a story, and it’s just waiting to share it with you. Just make sure you’re listening.