I asked sponsors to choose their top three finds. Here are Born Too Late Vintage’s picks: 1960s Black Feather & Sequins LBD, $79.99; 1940s Black Purse with Lucite Handles, $59.99; 1970s Pheasant Border Maxi Dress, $49.99.
Our second May sponsor, Born Too Late Vintage, also agreed to an email interview. Below is the result: she had excellent advice for vintage buyers, as well as a deal for She’s A Betty readers: a $5.00 credit off purchases of $20 or more. To receive the credit, email Viviene with code SAB4321 and the product number, and wait for her to invoice you.
Now, for the interview:
1. What’s your store name and where can we find you online (all websites, blogs, etc.)?
I also have a blog. As co-moderator at Specialist Auctions Vintage and clothing section, I also work on their Myspace page.
2. How long have you sold vintage? Do you sell vintage part-time or full-time?
I’ve been selling vintage just short of five years, but I’ve been buying it personally since I was in high school–so in all, about 30 years. I am a full-time seller of vintage and contemporary clothing.
3. Why do you sell vintage?
I love to shop for beautiful, well-made clothing, and you just can’t find things today that are made with the same care as vintage clothing. Also, with selling vintage clothing I’m not limited by what size I wear. I can buy whatever I love without worrying about the size.
Do you sell for love or for money?
It has to be a combination of both. I’d be a fool to pass up an item that is a guaranteed moneymaker, just because it’s not my style. That said, I tend to buy what speaks to me personally.
4. How do you decide what to sell at any given time?
Since I have customers from around the world, my stores really don’t have seasons. I have coats listed now because Australia and New Zealand are going into their winter months, but I also have bathing suits and summer dresses listed for those in the northern hemisphere.
Do you follow trends?
I keep abreast of what’s happening in fashion, as that greatly impacts what sells from my stores. But I will always carry the eras I love best, which are the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.
5. How much of your personal wardrobe is vintage?
I have quite the collection of vintage hats and shoes. I also own several dresses and coats from the 1960s. I’m a plus size, so when I find plus size vintage I do keep a few pieces for myself. However, I would not be much of a business woman if I kept it all.
What are your favorite non-vintage stores?
I actually don’t have any favorite non-vintage stores. Most stores do not cater to plus sizes so I find myself sewing what I really want. It’s really the only way I can get exactly what I want.
6. Based on your knowledge of fashion history, do you think fashion designers should be able to copyright their designs?
Throughout the history of fashion, you will see styles come back in cycles. I’ve seen it in clothing my daughters wear now that I wore back in the 1970s. There will always be a market for knockoffs for those who cannot afford the designer labels so I don’t think that copyrighting designs will stop that. Who would you award the copyright to since fashion repeats itself over and over again?
7. What are three things you wish shoppers knew about buying vintage?
1. They should always remember the measurements provided on vintage clothing are the clothing measurements, not their body measurements. Always allow 2-3 inches leeway for the item to fit you correctly. Women wore foundation garments with these items and that makes a huge difference in whether an item is going to fit you correctly or not. Make sure your measurements are accurate, or better yet, have someone else take them for you.
2. Buying vintage is an education in itself. One of the best places to gain knowledge is the Vintage Fashion Guild [Ed.note: Fantastic resource]. The Guild has a label resource and a blog which features fashion trends, items Guild members have for sale, and links to Guild members’ stores. There are also features on bathing suits and many other items as well. It’s a great place to visit to add to your vintage knowledge.
3. The majority of vintage sellers are full-time sellers. This is how they make their living. So next time you think “I could buy that dress for $10 at the thrift store,” remember you are not only paying for the dress but the expertise of the personal shopper that found it for you.
Thank you, Born Too Late! For more vintage advice, check out Born Too Late’s blog, and for more vintage finds, visit Born Too Late’s store (remember to use the code).