When your mother’s closet comes a-calling

Old clothes get a second life with today's fashion. (Maria Acle/AQ)

Behind those two doors lies a wardrobe’s paradise, although you never know what you might find. You could either get a whole new array of fun accessories or a bunch of oversized or tiny pieces. Yet we always take the chance.

Yes, I’m talking about our mothers’ closet.

Throughout the ages children opened it in search for that one piece that would make them stand out in the crowd – that one piece no one else has.

It’s hard to be unique when there is so much of the same out there. Five dollar shirts that everyone has, $20 jeans at Bluenotes that everyone owns, $15 boots from Stitches that last less than a season, but everyone buys. It’s hard to resist those prices. But in the end, we all look the same.

That is when your mother’s clothes, in other words vintage fashion, comes to the rescue. From the 1950s to the 80s (and soon the 90s), everything from saddle shoes and big collars, to spandex and big hair is making a come back on the fashion scene.

“By wearing vintage you let yourself show off your individuality and discover your own personal style, rather than going for whatever is being sold at the malls,” says Hilary Ball, a second-year St. Thomas University student.

With her beautiful flowered dress, Ball looks comfortable in her skin. She says vintage clothes can be cheaper if looked for in the right places. Still, she doesn’t think the price is the main benefit. Ball says she loves having her own unique style.

“I also feel that by buying vintage or used clothing I am reducing waste; when you buy all of your clothes new and then throw them out when you’re done with them, chances are they end up in a landfill somewhere. By buying used you are giving perfectly good clothes another chance to be worn.”

While the student fills her wardrobe with pieces from both her mother and grandmother,she also buys at reNu Boutique and Lovely Betty, both located in Fredericton.

Heather Ogilvie, owner and manager of reNu Boutique, says fashion is cyclical.

“There are certain silhouettes, certain prints and such that come back around.”

She says part of her challenge is to find those pieces that are reappearing in the fashion world.

There is nothing more thrilling than searching for that perfect item that has been around for years. As Ogilvie says, vintage clothing is a piece of history.

“You get a better quality garment for the price you pay. If a piece of clothing has existed for 30 years, you know it’s well made.”

Yet, Ogilvie says it’s difficult to compete with the “accessibility of cheap, fast fashion.” The store owner believes our “necessary eco-mindedness” might save this trend.

Both men and women are now adopting the style. Even if it’s as simple as one accessory—such as a little clutch or a jacket—your outfit will instantly come to life. Sometimes, there is nothing more charming than that unkempt flair. Whatever your personal style is – preppy, athletic, indie, geek chic – there is always room for a hint of vintage.

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