I hope everyone is enjoying a greener, cheaper summer as part of the Wardrobe Refashion Challenge, in which we’ve taken a pledge to buy only recycled, renovated, or handmade clothes. A perfect way to honor the Challenge and not feel deprived of glamour is to shop vintage. San Antonio’s grande dame of vintage stores is designer Agosto Cuellar’s Jive Refried, a wealth of ’50s shirtdresses, ’60s mod Pucci-print minis, Mexicana, and Western wear. (Currently, that is; merchandise changes every day.)

As I was perusing Jive’s selection with Agosto earlier this month, I realized vintage shopping can be intimidating to the uninitiated. Don’t let it be, just follow my tips!

1. Take a lap. Even the smallest vintage boutiques will be filled to overflowing with clothes and accessories — take a deep breath and give the store a complete once-over.

2. Disregard sizes. Sizing has evolved historically to accommodate vanity, so today’s six may have been a 1950s 12. Silhouettes have changed as well, and clothes more than 50 years old will probably be cut more narrowly through the shoulders and hips, and be shorter through the waist and hem.

3. Ask for help. Trading in vintage clothing is a passion, combining a real love for the hunt and a deep desire to see a wonderful cast-off find new life in the modern world. The staff will want to help you! Take up their time, show them anything that interests you. Like a personal stylist, they will start to create your unique look.

Another great way to support the Challenge is to support local designers, so please attend the
annual Art of Fashion show on July 19 at Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, to see designers like Agosto Cuellar, Angelina Mata Chumney, and Henry de la Paz as well as student and new designer work.

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