The thrill of a great find, the budget-friendly price tag — vintage shopping comes with a sense of satisfaction that buying new just can’t match. Lately, with so many contemporary and luxury brands drawing inspiration from the '70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s for their designs, there are countless vintage trends for fall 2019 that you should actually buy secondhand. Whether you shop vintage exclusively, or mix old and new to create a truly bespoke wardrobe, it's never been easier to score trendy pieces from decades past.
"Some of my favorite styles from the ‘80s and ‘90s are popping up, from sleek suits, to high slit skirts, to low-heel mules," says Amber Glaspie, owner of the popular e-boutique Elia Vintage. Her latest vintage treasure? A '90s-era cowl-neck halter top by Theory. "I see so many amazing designers recreating vintage-inspired clothing, but there is something special about scoring that original vintage find," Glaspie notes. "I often find the quality of good vintage can give many current brands a run for their money. Vintage also has an accessibility that allows people from all walks of life to afford great quality looks." Add to that the fact that buying pre-owned styles helps to curb the already critical waste problem the fashion industry perpetuates, and there's plenty motivation to seek out fall's trends secondhand.
Online vintage shops like Elia Vintage are becoming increasingly common, with many utilizing platforms like Etsy or even Instagram, where items are posted to the feed or IG Stories and followers can then purchase via direct message on a first-come, first-served basis. No longer do you have to spend hours scouring racks at your local thrift store in hopes of landing a vintage treasure. These stores source sought-after styles, making high-quality vintage pieces that are trendy, yet unique, readily available to anyone with an internet connection.
"The hidden, must-have gem in every wardrobe is now made easily accessible," states a rep from SVC, an Instagram-based vintage shop that counts such influencers as Débora Rosa, Josefine H. J., Sophia Roe, and Xenia Adonts among its clientele. "Vintage shopping doesn’t just give you retail therapy, it’s a retail rebirth. One-of-a-kind pieces every time, oozing out originality, funk, and mystery. No one knows when, how or where it came from, all they know is it looks special, it’s different, and far, far away from the conventional high street or catwalk norms."
Below, you’ll find a starter list of some of this season’s key trends to consider buying vintage. Low-heel mules and baguette bags from the 1990s, and oversized blazers and puff-sleeved blouses from the 1980s all included.
For a relaxed, effortless look, choose trousers with a pleated front and ultra-slouchy leg.
The '80s was the era for broad-shouldered blazers. Feel free to go up a few sizes or shop the menswear side of the store for this style — it's supposed to look a bit too big.
Whether you go for something strappy and minimalist, or sharply square-toed, the heel should always be of the kitten variety.
Just in time for fall, everyone's wearing all things leather. Not only is vintage a more sustainable way of wearing it, but it's also more affordable than any newly-produced genuine leather piece would be.
Slinky, satin button-downs are peaking in popularity on vintage sites right now. Pick one in a trendy hue for a cool alternative to traditional shirting that still feels elegant and tailored.
Power suiting became a wardrobe essential in the '80s and '90s as women climbed the corporate ladder en masse. Embrace your inner boss lady with masculine coordinates in a statement-making color.
Chunky Gold Jewelry
From thick vermeil chains to Princess Diana-esque earrings, the '80s and '90s have all the chunky gold jewelry options you could ask for, and typically for pretty fair prices — so go ahead and layer up to your heart's content.
Puffy balloon sleeves were a defining silhouette of 1980s weddings and proms. They've made a triumphant comeback in 2019, but opt for the originals for a look that's especially eye-catching.
The fashion world reconnected with the baguette when By Far released its now-iconic Rachel Bag. There's still much to love about By Far's creation, but if you want a style that not everyone owns, vintage options from the late '90s and early 2000s will open things up for you. Plus, you can sometimes find some great deals on vintage shoulder bags from luxury labels like Prada, Fendi, and Gucci.