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Viva La Vintage: The new status symbol

From Margot Robbie's 90s Chanel throwback to Kim Kardashian West's Alexander McQueen 'Oyster' dress at the Oscars: pre-loved fashion is taking over our feeds. It’s out with the new, in with the old...

My longest relationship began ten years ago. While there’s been some hiccups along the way I can safely say we are, quite literally, attached at the hip. This courtship is my not-so-secret love affair with vintage. It makes up about 80% of my wardrobe, with treasured items such as an £8 (Dhs38) Giorgio Armani power-shouldered jacket found in a North West London charity shop, a 60s shift dress purloined from Carmen in Copenhagen to a pair of wide-legged Diane von Furstenberg trousers sourced from the mecca of second-hand treasures, Battersea Car Boot Fair.

So, it’s been particularly thrilling to see the marked shift in shopping habits, as eco-conscious consumers are sharing the pre-loved love on the ‘gram more than ever before. According to research, the UK second-hand clothing market will be 1.5 times bigger than the fast-fashion sector by 2028.

Celebrities, too, are showing off their thrifty buys. Eschewing the latest designer pieces in favour of a one-of-a-kind gem. In November, sitting in the VIP suite to watch UEFA Champions League match, Rihanna’s arm candy of choice was a monogram Louis Vuitton football bag, which was, in fact, created to commemorate the World Cup in 1998. For those in the market for such an item? A pre-owned version is currently being sold on Farfetch for £3,976 (Dhs19,048).


It’s not just RiRi. Katie Holmes – who single-handedly made us all fall back in love with our cardigans (or rather, the ‘sexigan’, as we’re calling it) – pinpoints why it’s cool to be old-school. “I can spend hours in a vintage store combing through all the treasures,” she says. “I like to imagine the women who wore the pieces and what their lives were like. It’s like going into a museum, but you get to touch everything.” Miley Cyrus is also a fan of the IRL vintage experience, sharing with her 101 million Insta-followers a snap of her wearing a fringed leather jacket, captioned: “Tom Ford but make it thrifty. Previously loved/owned clothes = most sustainable fashion source.”

For time-poor individuals seeking second-hand offerings, Instagram sellers listing rare and designer vintage garms such as and @retold_vintage will make your life a lot easier. Big Little Lies actress, Zoë Kravitz, even found the antique engagement ring of her dreams, from The One I Love NYC, on the social platform. The vint-mood is rippling onto the red-carpet too. At the 92nd Academy Awards, pre-loved pieces reigned supreme: Margot Robbie adopted a 90s Chanel throwback and Elizabeth Banks took her 2004 Badgley Mischka Oscars dress for a spin, while Lily Aldridge chose an archive Ralph Lauren gown for the occasion. Without question, the vintage awardrobe of the night has to go to Kim Kardashian West, who wore Alexander McQueen’s “oyster dress” from his S/S 2003 Shipwreck collection (sourced from archive fashion boutique LILY et Cie in LA – the same spot Jennifer Aniston procured her vintage Dior by John Galliano gown for the SAG awards). It is one of only two Oyster gowns ever produced, the other one housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection.

Last year, too, showcased a rousing prelude to A-listers new sustainability pact: Lily-Rose Depp wore a vintage Chanel gown first debuted on the Haute Couture Spring/Summer 1992 runway at the 2019 Met Gala – originally worn by Christy Turlington – and Elle Fanning opted for a pre-loved Prada gown at last year’s Cannes festival. In with the old? Yes please.

For those whose resolution is to shop more vintage savvy? BURO. called on vintage seller on Instagram, Daisy Murray, to share her top thrifting tips.


Vintage clothing sizes have, unlike the beautiful pieces, dated, so you need to get to grips with your sizing. This means always knowing your bust, waist and hip measurements in both cm and inches to ensure things will actually fit you (don’t try and squeeze – the right thing will come along in the perfect size). When you’re shopping online, this means checking and/or requesting exact measurements, and when you head out to car boots and charity shops, having a measuring tape (a dressmakers one) to hand just in case there’s no fitting room.


I largely try and find as natural fabrics as possible for daily wear, however, these tend to fade. For vibrant party pieces therefore, I don’t mind going for synthetic fabrics, plus they keep great shape and there’s therefore no need to iron and/or steam. If things look too delicate (silk etc) I also steer clear – I want to really be able to live in my clothes i.e. climb, dance and drink in them. Non-fancy natural fabrics with some synthetics thrown in also mean you can machine wash HOWEVER this should be done sparingly, with the clothes inside-out, on a cold/low heat wash. Moth repellent in your wardrobe is also a must.


There’s nothing more haunting than a £60 (Dhs287) Burberry trench left unbought, take it from me. However, in general, I would advise setting yourself a budget. Look at what you already have, be realistic with what you wear, and buy for the real actual you, not the fantasy you who spends a lot more time at garden parties.


Wear your pieces to death and love them, that’s the most sustainable thing you can do. I cut out ‘new’ high-street clothes fully a couple of months ago and it has been truly easy (apart from this Black Friday, I’m being truly tested) and there are a few reasons why. Namely that new, high-street pieces depreciate at an alarming rate – vintage items keep their value, if not increase in value. This means I’m truly investing in my wardrobe instead of it being a bottomless black hole. Add this onto the lowered carbon footprint and it’s an easy choice to make.

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