Let's pretend for a moment that you don't know about vintage clothes (don't worry, it's just a game) and you are packing for a trip to New York City. You open your closet and stare at its contents, your suitcase open on the bed. What should you pack?
You could pack that darling BCBG dress you bought at the mall last summer. No, surely everyone will see that it's mall wear and a cheap imitation of everything chic they picked up at the Barney's Co-op. And how about your purse? You spent a pretty penny on it down at the Coach store. You can hear their laughter now. "Coach store?" they'll roar on the subways. "That's it? A lousy Coach purse? I have the latest Dior bag right here!"
Let's not even get started on shoes. I once heard two women dissing people who wore Christian Louboutin shoes because Manolos were so much superior. It was all I could do to point to my feet and say, "Check out these. Green patent and suede stilettos with a fetching button detail. Henry Waters 'Shoes of Consequence', and you'll never have them." Yep, vintage, and they cost me all of $12.99.
Clearly, it's no use competing with women in New York or Paris or Berlin. Instead, the best plan is to forge ahead with your own style and dress vintage. I recently spent five days in New York. I brought four 1950s cotton dresses and one 1940s dress, a 1940s rayon nightgown and dressing gown, a 1960s embroidered cardigan, and a 1940s chocolate brown suit jacket with passementarie trim for when it was cooler. I kicked butt. Crammed on an elevator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the elevator operator surveyed me and a scrubbed family and asked the family where they were from. Then he looked at me and said, "But you're a local." In my Xtabay-purchased blue cotton dress with its deep neckline and shawl collar I was better than local. I was one of a kind: Vintage.