Vintage clothing provides era trends

Random Goods owner Cheryl Gleason houses a variety of vintage clothing, shoes and accessories from each decade in her store. From fur to florals, they’ve got it all.  

Jenna Hrdlicka

A new style emerges every era in the fashion industry. New trends gain popularity — new types of jewelry, clothes and shoes become the norm. When fashion pieces from these eras survive the test of time, they become vintage pieces that can be incorporated into modern styles.

As fashion trends change throughout the years, certain favorites from the past circulate back in style. At Random Goods, a local vintage and consignment store in Ames, staff agree that fur trim, lace and leggings are among the many vintage fashion pieces that have been trending recently.

Although the fashion industry is constantly changing, trends will always represent certain eras.

“People often gravitate toward a particular style of clothing because they like the era,” said Cheryl Gleason, owner of Random Goods.

“Like me, I like the ’40s,” Gleason said. “I just love that big band era and the clothing that went with it. It was very American and full of history.”

Fur, pearls and T-strap heels represent the Roaring ’20s. Flapper dresses from the ’20s also take their place in consignment and costume shops every year around this time. The fun fringe dresses are popular Halloween and theme party costumes.

Other trends that have resurfaced throughout the years include backless dresses from the ’30s; floral patterns, varsity jackets and cardigan sweaters reminiscent of the ’50s; floppy hats and leggings from the ’70s; and cut-out shoulder dresses that embody the style of the ’90s.

Some timeless trends trace back as far as the 16th century, such as lace. Although the composition and style of lace has changed throughout the years, it has remained prevalent in fashion throughout history.

While vintage items are full of history, many other reasons prove why they are popular in many people’s wardrobes.

“What I like about [vintage clothes] is, a lot of times, the story behind them,” Gleason said. “This one time a lady brought in a bunch of dresses and some coats, and goes, ‘I just thought maybe the college students would like these for their theme parties.’ Well, the one was an Oscar de la Renta dress. She had no idea what she had.”

Gleason said people also like to shop vintage because of its uniqueness. People can take a piece of vintage clothing and change it into their own style and personality. Another reason why people like vintage is because of the benefits of recycling and reusing items as well as vintage items’ superior quality.

When shopping for vintage items, one way to check quality is by simply feeling it. The staff members agreed that when you feel the superior materials used in making vintage clothing, you will immediately be able to tell a difference between the vintage piece and a modern piece. Another trick is to inspect the tag. In the past, tags were often sewn in with a “four-corner” method, rather than just the top.

Vintage pieces can be incorporated into a person’s everyday wardrobe or used for costumes.

“If you put on vintage clothing, you are creating fun just right there,” Gleason said. “It’s like an attitude change; you have a little era swagger. When you go to a theme party with vintage costumes it’s like a little escape. It just creates fun.”