How to Work Vintage Into Your Wardrobe

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According to Julie Heller, vintage expert.

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Intent on making 2017 your Best Year Ever? We can help with that, thanks to our 2017 Coach of the Month series. Here, our first coach of the year, vintage clothing expert Julie Heller, offers her expertise on how to shop vintage like a pro.

Many of my clients at Era Luxe [Heller’s NYC vintage showroom] are major, longtime vintage collectors, but just as many came to me as first time vintage wearers. There is a common misconception that it’s difficult to wear vintage, but if you start with one piece at a time, it’s actually incredibly easy to incorporate into your wardrobe, and the intrinsically unique nature of vintage immediately sets your look apart from everyone else’s. The key is in strategically pairing vintage pieces with contemporary clothing—which you already own. The simplest way to start adding vintage into your wardrobe is with accessories: jewelry, belts or a vintage bag.

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A Hermes Kelly is the absolute chicest handbag. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, two of my personal fashion favorites, are often seen toting Kelly bags—in their styling sensibilities, the more beat up, the better! We get them at EraLuxe from time to time, but another good place to check out is Vestiaire Collective [http://www.vestiairecollective.com/]. As amazing as they are, Kelly bags can be a bit pricy, running anywhere from about $4,000 to $20,000 depending on the year, color, type of leather, and the condition.

Another great “beginner” piece is a vintage belt. Every influencer and celebrity has been seen around town in a classic Gucci logo buckle belt. You can find good ones anywhere—even Ebay! Another option is the Moschino letter belt. I’m always on the hunt for them for EraLuxe because as soon as they come in, they go straight back out the door; they’re so easy to add to anything from jeans and a t-shirt, to a simple a maxi dress. Everyone from Chiara Ferragni to Miley Cyrus to Kourtney Kardashian has been spotted in one. I’m also a fan of non-designer western style belts right now. I love pairing mine with an otherwise modern, minimal look.

Vintage jewelry is also super easy to wear. Costume jewelry from Chanel is incredibly iconic—Nicole Richie and Rachel Zoe are often seen wearing it! I happen to love ’70s flex collar necklaces and I always have lots of them on hand. Clients love them because they are relatively inexpensive (around $75) and they work with almost every neckline. They are so on-trend right now that Saint Laurent has created a custom update and is selling them in store right now!

Once you have a few items, you’ll learn your favorite designers and eras. Then collecting gets really fun, and you’ll get more and more adventurous when it comes to buying and wearing vintage. Soon you’ll be wearing slinky Halston gowns and Tom Ford for Gucci velvet tuxedos—in fact, tune in later in the month for tips on pulling off looks like those.

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