What’s old is new (and cheap, and in)

Gia Lombardo

Following the leads of the stars, many young people have begun hunting for vintage clothing to give their wardrobes a funky twist. Local second-hand shops are a great resource for original, stylish clothing ideas – and the Villanova area has several good hunting grounds.Fifties-style circle skirts, big pins and costume jewelry are all trends coming back from the past. Actresses like Jennifer Aniston, Renée Zellweger, Julia Roberts and Gwen Stefani have been sporting antique gowns on the red carpet. Jennifer Garner’s Vintage Valentino dress at the 2004 Academy Awards definitely turned heads. Modern designers such as Jessica McClintock and Prada have been updating styles from other time periods, and popular stores like Urban Outfitters carry vintage-style t-shirts and dresses. Genuine vintage accessories and clothing can bring a new element into your everyday wardrobe.Don’t feel obligated to wear a completely vintage outfit, mix old and new styles together to achieve a unique look. You don’t even have to go far to look for an old school tie or a ’60s button down. In fact, great resale shops are just a few train stops away. Picadilly Court specializes in “clothing, antiques and treasures,” nestled into North Bryn Mawr Avenue. The store resembles an upscale garage sale, with tables of dolls, random glassware, shelves of books and baskets of shoes. It won’t be easy to dig through everything, but this store definitely has some one-of-a-kind buys waiting. The first thing I notice is an aged teal, jewelry box, and I bet it has been through countless necklaces. I sort through racks of clothes and find a gorgeous black, velvet and silk cocktail suit with a matching pink satin skirt. Unfortunately, it’s not in my size, but I keep looking. A funky green hat catches my eye, and I consider buying it until I look at the price tag. $185? I think I’ll be mostly just looking in here. I also spot a cashmere men’s blazer priced at $65, not too bad as far as blazers go. I find an awesome detailed vintage shot glass priced $28 and a rainbow of shawls made from enticing fabrics. Gilda Fulginiti, the woman behind the counter, informs me that kids mostly come to Picadilly Court to buy antique jewelry. The rings I spot in the display case range in price from $10 to $125, and they are all interesting. I don’t know anyone who would spend $100 on a Superman ring no matter how old it is, which probably explains why it’s collecting dust. Understandably, authentic vintage items are usually expensive. If you find a 40 year old shirt that still looks new, you can expect it to be pricey. Also, clothing used to be made with higher quality fabrics and stitching than today, which you will notice if you decide to splurge and take home an original find.If you are bargain hunting or looking to create a vintage look for less, visit Greene Street Consignment shop, where the motto is “one store fits all” and you can definitely find something for everyone. Greene Street looks like it could be a consignment shop in the mall, very well organized and stylish. This is the perfect place to find an inexpensive evening dress. They also have an impressive men’s selection of shirts, pants, jeans and jackets, and I found more variety here than the average “Wet Seal” type store. The big seller at Greene Street is jeans because they have an impressive selection. I found a great pair with embroidered flowers and beading, very vintage-esque and it only set me back $18. If you walk into Greene Street with $20, you can walk out with a great new purse, belt, dress or pair of shoes. Most of the clothing here is more modern, but antique-inspired clothing isn’t hard to find. If the idea of spending hours sorting through racks of clothes doesn’t excite you, there are a lot of great online stores to explore. Catching the Butterfly (www.catchingthebutterfly.com) sells clothing from the 1940s-1980s and promises to be moderately priced. Viva La Vintage (www.vivalavintage.com) is pricier but has a great selection. Modern Handbag (www.modbag.com) has fabulous designer-priced vintage- inspired purses. I am confident that there is a great vintage buy for every personality and budget. If you feel inspired to seek out a local consignment shop, take a few pointers with you:- Always check return policies before you purchase. – Size tags are irrelevant. – Try everything on. – Check for stains before you buy anything, and also make sure the stitching and lining are in good condition.