Chicago Is VFG's Kinda Town

The VFG has recently been mentioned in the Chicago Tribune!

5 rules for buying vintage

By Kelly Aiglon
Special to the Tribune
Published March 2, 2006


It's Oscars season, so get ready for the ubiquitous red-carpet question and answer:

"What are you wearing?"

"Vintage."

Interested in tracking down vintage looks, but don't have the Hollywood connections? We asked local experts to dish on where and how to hunt for high-end vintage apparel and accessories. Here are the five rules to dress by:

1. Start with a key accessory. Accessories are often an affordable way to get into vintage. Sunglasses are great starter pieces, says John Muller, owner of Lincoln Park's Couture Club, which sells '70s-era sunglasses with big, circular frames and "that bling-bling movie star look."

2. Stock up on jewelry. Why? It's timeless. Laurie Davis, owner of the North Center boutique LuLu's at the Belle Kay, stocks everything from Victorian mourning jewelry to simple silver cuffs from the '60s.

And the best part? The value of jewelry "escalates beyond belief," says Davis. So, "for resale purposes, buy the best you can afford."

3. Know the big names. Designer labels may add to an item's value. There are obvious choices--Chanel, Pucci--but don't count out American designers of the '60s and '70s, like Geoffrey Beene and Bill Blass, says Muller.

4. Spot the real deal. Don't want to pull a Reese Witherspoon? Verify authenticity by inspecting garments with an educated eye. "Look at closures and you'll find clues [as to an item's year]," advises Liz Meyer, owner of Wicker Park's Silver Moon. "In the '20s, there were no closures. The '30s had snaps. The '40s had zippers."

To learn more about authenticity, check out www.vintagefashionguild.org, which offers buying tips and hosts online chats.

5. Give auctions a shot. "Auction prices are wholesale prices," says Leslie Hindman, president of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. "For $400-$600 you can have a fantastic dress."