Friday, May 24, 2024

Old fashions are cool again: What to know and where to go to shop vintage in the Upstate

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Incorporating vintage clothes into your wardrobe is a sustainable way to add a unique flair to your outfits. However, vintage shopping can be tricky for beginners. 

Where should you shop? What should you look out for? How can you tell if an item is authentic? These are all questions David Parra, owner of Aged Attire, a vintage clothing shop in downtown Greer, has been finding the answers to since he started sourcing vintage finds as a teen.

“I’ve been sourcing, or looking for, vintage clothing ever since I was 16, and I was just selling it to high school friends,” Parra said. “It just kind of evolved into a love of thrifting, finding cool stuff.”

Aged Attire just celebrated its one-year anniversary on Trade Street. 

“It’s been great,” Parra said. “I think we blend in really well with the culture of Greer. It’s a very artsy, yet calm city, especially downtown because there’s plenty of coffee shops, antique stores (and) boutiques.”

Parra answered some common questions and offered some tips and tricks for those looking to break into the world of vintage fashion this spring:

What is vintage clothing?

The common standard for vintage clothing is anything 20 years old or older. 

You can find vintage pieces at thrift stores, flea markets, estate sales and, of course, at vintage clothing shops. Research is a key part of the hobby to make sure you aren’t tricked by a convincing reproduction. 

“There’s plenty of people on YouTube that explain what’s vintage, what to look out for, what kind of stitching to look for, and stuff like that,” Parra said. “That’s how I learned, and honestly, I feel like that’s the best way.”

How can you tell if a piece of clothing is vintage vs a reproduction?

So how do you know if your 80s band tee is the real deal or a recent reprint? 

Knowing vintage styles is important, but knowing vintage manufacturing methods is the real key.

“When it comes to actually going out shopping, I would say definitely do your research because nowadays people reprint old graphics,” said Parra, who has amassed a collection of vintage t-shirts in his shop. “You can tell by the tags, stitching, fading, the material that they use. Lots of different, very small details.” 

Parra said many vintage clothes, especially jeans and T-shirts, were made of 100% cotton. Tags were sewn in and typically woven, not printed. Hems are typically single-stitched instead of double-stitched.

What should you keep in mind while vintage shopping?

Like with any secondhand clothing item, you’ll probably need to do more than just look at the size on the tag to determine if the item will fit you.

“If anything I would say size up slightly in vintage,” Parra said. “Most of the stuff was 100% cotton, they shrink. So, for example, Levi’s jeans, if they were washed and dried so many times, they are going to be nowhere close to what the tag says. It can say it’s a 32-inch waist when, in actuality, it’s like a 28.” 

Knowing your measurements and bringing a tape measure with you when shopping can be helpful. Try on items if the shop allows.

If you’re hoping to sell or trade some of your finds, you should also keep up with fashion trends and grab some in-season items.

Parra said band and brand t-shirts, like Harley Davidson shirts, and pieces repping sports teams are always popular. Y2K styles and brands like Southpole and JNCO are the current trends.

Where can you shop for vintage clothing in the Upstate?

Aged Attire, 102 Trade St., Greer: 80s, 90s, and early 2000s vintage clothing 

Retro Shack, 300 Union Street, Spartanburg: 80-90s vintage clothing with an emphasis on sportswear, streetwear, premium shoes and accessories.

Old Skool Outfitters, 123 S. Main St. Unit B, Greenville: Streetwear and accessories that are 20+ years old.

Disorderly Conduct Vintage, 13 Shoppers Dr., Greenville: Various pieces and styles from the early 2000s to the 1800s.

Stripes on Main, 311 N. Main St., Anderson and Stripes Vintage, 108 N. Clemson Ave., Clemson: Vintage, one-of-a-kind, and collectible streetwear and shoes.

Samantha Swann covers city news, development and culture in Spartanburg. She is a University of South Carolina Upstate and Greenville Technical College alumna. Contact her at sswann@shj.com or on Instagram at @sam_on_spartanburg.

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