vintage love affair

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Spent the nicest afternoon in Fort Langley recently. I was there for a tea party at Little White House (have you been? it’s lovely) since I was having tea with some amazing fashion & lifestyle bloggers, I wanted a ladylike look but with a classic edge.

Living in Vancouver, BC we are so fortunate to have some pretty spectacular Fall weather – bright, warm and sunny. Hence the open toe booties and blatant disregard for pantyhose.

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Before children I was a bit of a clotheshorse, to put it mildly.

After children, I didn’t fit into any of it.

Now that I have my health back on track, I get to play dress up in my own closet and it’s been really lovely to revisit some of my favorite items. It’s got me thinking about something my Aunt’s taught me, and would oft repeat when we were out shopping. The translation is clunky at best but goes something like this…”you only cry once when you buy quality”

If there is a family motto between my cousins and I – I think this is it.

I love fashion, but I love investing in classic pieces more. Fashion changes. Style endures.

No matter which end of the closet I am in, I can always count on my collection of quality pieces to pull my look together, and feel polished. A great handbag, shoes and jewelry, make a world of difference to the simplest dress. I believe they are worth the investment of time (to care for them properly) and money (you only cry once!)

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This vintage Gucci handbag is a great example of an investment piece.

It’s a timeless label, timeless shape and neutral enough to go with most anything you throw at it.

Finding quality vintage is so much easier now than ever before – there’s eBay, designer consignment shops, even Instagram shops – I recently discovered @vintageguccifinds on Instagram for example.

Unlike buying new, where you can walk into any Gucci flagship store and pick out your handbag, vintage requires some skills. There’s the nerves of steel necessary to weather the auction storm, if you go that route. And the philosophy that you appreciate an older model, as well as being able to discern just how “old” and “weathered” you are willing to go. Personally, I have collected vintage since I was a teen so I have an appreciation for some “character” but I am pretty picky about the wear and tear on any vintage item.

There’s no value in something that has not been cared for properly by it’s previous owner – even if it comes with a fancy pedigree. Worn out, is worn out.

Lastly, as with all quality designer pieces, fakes abound. You must educate yourself.

Fortunately, as easy as it is to source vintage nowadays, it’s also much easier to learn what to look for and what to avoid. You can’t rely on others to do your due diligence – learn the markings and signs of a real quality item versus a fake.

There are lots of online resources for identifying new used designer, but vintage designer can be trickier – one of my go to spots is the forum area on www.purseblog.com – the collectors there are a wealth of info and really helpful. Study the photos, find the style and designer you like best and educate yourself on all aspects of that piece before you buy. Once you know which era, or style or designer you are aiming for, you can start with a simple search on eBay to see what’s available and what the going price is for that bag. Again, study the photos, ask questions of the seller and educate yourself.

Something else worth noting : The investment of a vintage designer bag does not depreciate the way it’s new counterpart does. If you educate yourself, take care of your investment properly (that’s another post) you will most likely be able to recoup your investment if you decide to sell your piece in the future. It’s a win/win.

I love vintage because an older prestige item is much more affordable than new, and more importantly to me – tends to be timeless and unique. I’m not carrying the “it” bag necessarily, but I am carrying a fabulous designer piece that I love, cherish and can pass on to my daughters.

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Style endures friends, style endures.

sunglasses: Gucci
navy wool dress: Theory
navy cashmere cardigan: Brooks Brothers
burgundy boot: Vince
bracelet: mother of pearl buttons DIY  (future post)