Personal vintage: yay or nay?

I’ve been cautiously welcoming the return of the flare these last few seasons, but I’d like to exhaust my closet before buying anything new. I’m now thinking of resurrecting this pair, which have been languishing in a box for years. They date back to around about the turn of the millennium, when I bought them from a local atelier who were making them to order. I wore them a few times before they became a roaring success for the woman who made them and suddenly there were duplicates in different colour ways walking around my neighbourhood. I hated that but I still liked the pants, so I put them away.

Now, I have no problem wearing vintage in general, but the problem with digging out something form my past like this is that it comes with all kinds of baggage, and it can be hard to dissociate it from previous reference points. I don’t think I’ve ever kept hold of something for this long without returning to it and I’m not even sure why I still have them when just about everything else from that era is long gone. I’m also struggling to uncouple them in my head from the late ‘90s fashion culture that produced them.

But I like them dammit! Yes, I like these pants and I’m willing to give them another go. I’m looking to London's Goodhood for urban baggy inspiration, as well as the colourful, dressy palazzo styles that are around right now. 

Obviously, I need to know, what do you guys think. Are they fun and a bit Fenty, or obviously dated? More to the point though, is there any personal vintage lurking somewhere in your storage? I’m not sure if I should be delighted or ashamed that I want to wear these again…

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Stagiaire Fash replied 3 years ago

    Hahaha. Half my closet is “personal vintage” (I’ve got to remember & use that phrase), but I can only think of one item half as cool as those pants.

    My favorite looks are the last two, not just because you work in your coat, but because my response would be a “safe” basic black, so I love that you have tonal matching in one and some very cool stripes in the other.

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    OMG, those are amazing!!!! 

    I would wear them on New Year's Eve!! 

    I especially love 1/2 and 6/7  -- the straight/ A line seems to boss the volume in the bottom around just enough. 

    Wow. No wonder you saved them. 

    I don't have much "vintage to me" left in my closet, alas. For decades I had an 80s Vuokko dress and two same-era Marimekko dresses from the years that I worked for a firm that sold them. But moths got to the Vuokko (which I loved, loved, loved!!) and the others had never really fit and alterations made them worse, so with great regret I let them go. 

    The vintage items I have now mostly belonged to my mother -- some gloves, clutches, jewellery -- easier stuff to incorporate. 

  • bonnie replied 3 years ago

    I love #4.

  • Janet replied 3 years ago

    OMG, I think they are awesome, and don't hearken to any particular era as far as I can see. I think they're just funky-unique and don't really see any kind of era association with them, but maybe because I've never seen pants like that anywhere! Please keep and wear. I think they look amazing on you.

    Hehe, they remind me of this sweatshirt I got a couple of years ago -- I just wore it the other day. It's fun with a colored long sleeve tee underneath to show a different color under the grommet holes. 

  • Janet replied 3 years ago

    The "vintage" clothes I have are kind of hopeless at this point. A couple of leather jackets/coats that haven't looked current in over 15 years. A black Jessica McClintock dress I wore to the 1993 Clinton inaugural ball hosted by one of my old employers. A crazy paisley men's shirt I bought in the 80s and wore over leggings (which was old even back then, I think it is as old as I am). I seem to have a knack for holding onto things that never come back. ;-)

  • Christina F. replied 3 years ago

    Those do bring me back to the 90s! But hey, they fit, and they're fab, and you're styling them in a more modern way. I think you're right that Rihanna would approve.

  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    Liz, honey-pie, no more overthinking. THE TROUSERS ARE KILLER FABULOUS. You are ready to wear them - again. 

    I like them best in #1 and #2, at that length. You can also join Team Yummy Bottom...

  • Sisi replied 3 years ago

    Oh, you look fab in those pants! They are so unique that they do not look dated in my opinion. I especially like them in pic nr. 7. I have kept many beloved clothes from the Eighties and I would wear them again in a heartbeat ... if only I was still the size I was back then.

  • Nomad replied 3 years ago

    Agreed with all above. Those pants are so cool and unique that they transcend eras. "Dated" just doesn't apply. #2 and 6 are my favorite iterations, but they all look amazing... I absolutely love your style and it suits you perfectly.

  • Suzanne (ambergreen) replied 3 years ago

    My thoughts are similar to Janet's--the grommets are a current trend, and in today's anything-goes aesthetic, a vintage iteration of a current trend (including with items we ourselves bought brand new decades ago) can totally work. And like Sisi (and Srah, and...) says, when something is that different, it can transcend datedness!

    I don't remember seeing anything like those in the 90s, but I lived in Boston then and trends were a little less global. Well, I did have some jeans cut like that in the early 2000s, but that's not quite the same thing.

    I do have "personal vintage" bought new back in the day and also items I thrifted as far back as the 90s (a few of which themselves are from the 60s and 70s), and yes, I wear when relevant. Every fashion season, I check my closet against current trends and see what I already have that suits them.

    Hmm...know what, a "personal vintage challenge" might be kinda fun...

  • Joy replied 3 years ago

    Nothing dated looking about these fabulous pants. You can make new reference points by wearing them.
    As far as my closet, my most vintage things still around are from after a weight loss about 10 years ago and are handed down from my mother or sister's DMIL...scarves, jewellery, a kimono. Women wore no jeans or trousers when I was young, and my old mini skirts would look too odd on 71 year old legs!

  • Katerina replied 3 years ago

    They are GREAT!!! It would be a shame not to wear them...
    My favourite is the 1-2 picture. The pants really stand out here.
    The style is perfect on you!

    As for the personal vintage - it is an interesting questions. It made me realized that I haven’t got as many personal vintage clothes as I thought I had. The oldest clothes which I bought new (non-vintage) and which I still wear are about 10 -12 years old (not vintage yet, just old, right?) It is due to the fact that my body has changed during the years and I donated some beloved pieces, which I otherwise would have loved to keep.
    On the other hand, I have kept my handbags, loads of scarves and sunglasses and my costume jewelry. In those areas, I have a lot of personal vintage items. I do not wear them all, some are still waiting for their revival, but I enjoy having them anyway.

  • Violettt replied 3 years ago

    "But I like them dammit! Yes, I like these pants and I’m willing to give them another go. "
    I think you answered your own question here.  We need to dress ultimately in what we like, regardless of what anyone on this site says.  
    Those pants are so "YOU". Enjoy wearing them.

    Yes, I have some clothes from long ago, that I simply love, regardless if they're outdated, the wrong shape jacket, or whatever, ie., a couple Escada jackets, long length, but super quality with gorgeous gold buttons. Yes, I look like, I am the little old lady from Pasadena, but I love them, recall buying them, and will wear them with pride. 

    Speaking of red, my jacket would look fab with those pants~lol

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    Thanks everyone! I obviously just need to take my '90's goggles off. Angie's right. I'm overthinking again. 

    fashiontern: you need to keep hold of those pants! Layer them with a long-line tunic and you're done. 

    Suz: ah, those ones that got away! I know we talk about this from time to time. This all helps me figure out what should stay and what should go. 

    bonnie: 4 might be my favourite. Maybe not the most flattering, but it feels quite unique and true to me. I like the proportions.

    Janet, I should have credited you with the inspiration! Your grommet top was definitely a prompt to dig these out.

    Christina F: maybe it depends on where we were at the time? Perhaps this look was very niche. 

    Angie: *blush* I think my bum is the only bit of me that's ageing gracefully right now! Sisi, Srah, thank you, that's very kind. 

    Suzanne brilliant idea! I'll have to see what else I've got here. Looks like Violett started already! :)

    Joy, honestly? You could still rock a mini with boots and tights. But I know what you mean, there comes a time some things just don't feel right any more. 

    that's a good point. I used to think 10 years was around about the cut-off point, but does that mean if you keep something for more than 10 years it's with you for life? Something to ponder.

    Violett: hah yes! And I hadn't even tried the Escada jacket yet! It's one of my absolute favourites. 

  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    You're aging gracefully FULL STOP. Rock on. 

  • The Cat replied 3 years ago

    They don't look dated. They look unique and artsy and YOU. My favourites are #2 and #6--great styling!

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 3 years ago

    Approprio, one day. I’ve lost weight each of the last two winters. I’m hoping this will be the one I go all the way to that goal. You said exactly what I thought about Joy rocking a mini skirt. She wears many surprising things so well, why couldn’t she throw on some tights with that mini and look as smashing as ever? And you say you’re aging? What?

  • kkards replied 3 years ago

    I own a ton of personal vintage... Some I know 100% will never be worn again, but carry soooo many memories...others are just waiting for the right time & place.
    I'd say, these where just waiting for that time & place. Wear them and love them.

  • rachylou replied 3 years ago

    In A Heartbeat :)

  • Gaylene replied 3 years ago

    *laughing* Well, like Joyce says, the thought of my actually wearing that 60s red suede miniskirt—the one with studs, no less!—carefully packed away at the bottom of my trunk is a bit daunting. My hips may still be slim enough to shimmy it on, but the rest of me, including my style sense, has definitely turned a corner.

    That said, I DO wear my vintage ‘70s camel duffle coat, carry my ‘80s Coach saddle bag, and pull out my ‘90s heavy gold cuffs from time to time. Those pieces of my past are as indicative of my style now as they were in past decades. However, that ‘60s red mini, along with a ‘70s hand knit Scandinavian sweater in moody greys and blues and an early Ann Demeulemeester jacket I bought in Antwerp in the late eighties remain in permanent storage. They are iconic-to-me items from my past which will never be worn, but neither will ever be tossed into a Goodwill bag. They hold too many memories to ever think of letting some stranger have them.

    For what it’s worth, the fact that your newest acquisition— that gorgeous leather coat—pairs so well with the pants makes me think the cut-off date for them could still be in the future. But, really, only you, not a forum vote, can say if your pants fit into where you are going now, instead of where you’ve been.

  • Sal replied 3 years ago

    I think if you want to wear them then you should wear them - or at least try a couple of times.  I think they are fab but I do know the feeling of having moved past a piece and not going back there.

    I have a few vintage pieces that I have inherited, a couple I have purchased.  In terms of ones I bought myself and still own 
    - pumps (17 years - does that count)
    - coat and skirt (also 17 years)
    - summer dress (18 years)
    - tee shirt (23 years, now a painting tee)
    - evening bag (20 years)

    I still wear these pieces from time to time (the painting tee gets worn the most LOL, it dates from a French Ski holiday - my only European ski holiday).

    There are a few styles I do not own and cannot go back to because of strong associations with a period of my life.  
    - oversized flannel plaid shirts
    - denim mini skirts
    - white boots

    The association I have with me wearing these pieces mean I will have to admire them from the sidelines, and enjoy other people rocking them, which they do.

  • Emily K replied 3 years ago

    Well, I don't remember any fashion like this "first time around" so *I* don't have any vintage baggage to bring to the situation.  I think you look pretty fab in them.

  • Mary Beth (formerly LBD) replied 3 years ago

    Okay, burn some sage, ring some bells, light some candles, walk in a counter-clockwise circle, do whatever.... BUT YOU NEED TO WEAR THESE PANTS, THEY ARE FABULOUS <3 <3 <3 

    p.s. - I was listening to a Malcolm Gladwell podcast last night, and he noted that there is some scientific study that indicates the music you listen to and love at 19-20yo, is a deep-seated love that stays with you all your life.   Maybe it's the same for fashion?

  • LaPed replied 3 years ago

    Definitely YAY! I think #4 is my fav, but 6/7 are wonderful too.

    I'm too young to have much personal vintage, except for a bunch of kids t-shirts that still fit, albeit in an appropriately cropped/tiny 90s way. Most of them I chopped up and sewed the graphics onto a hoodie, which is maybe on its way to vintage status as well...

    I do have a few things inherited from my grandmother, but most of them are too threadbare to be in rotation -- I wore them very heavily for a few years after she passed. They currently live in a craft supply box 'til I can figure out a good way to re-purpose them. And a couple jewelry pieces from my great grandmother -- she was a Pisces, as I am, and had a couple fish-themed pieces which my family decided ought to belong to me. :)

  • Style Fan replied 3 years ago

    Those pants are awesome and you look awesome in them.  WOW!!!  Amazing.  They defy trends. 

    I definitely have vintage pieces.  My favourite piece (and Mr Style Fan`s) is my brown suede fringe jacket that I bought in high school (probably 1969 or early 70s).  I have a picture of it for a challenge YLF did.  I also have a Pucci print shirt.  Then there are some mini skirts.

  • SarahD8 replied 3 years ago

    Well, that reversible Asian jacket from my post today was bought used about 25 years ago, so...I guess I'm down with personal vintage in my own closet! (That is probably the only item of clothing I have that is that old-to-me, though, and it's not something that was packed away for years. It has just always been more of a theoretical item than an item I actually wore I'm afraid.)

    I think the pants look great on you and if you are drawn to them I hope you do wear them! I agree with others who have said that they are so fashion-forward that they are not really of a particular era and thus don't "date" in the same way that many garments do.

    I think that if you (that's a general you, not you specifically approprio) are going to have a large wardrobe, then you have to be comfortable with things coming in and out of favor. (Mainly because I think our brains really can't track keeping too many garments in rotation at one time.) One of the things I really admire about Angie's approach to her wardrobe is the confidence and complete lack of apparent angst with which she does this. That's something that I really aspire to. I think that "personal vintage" is really just the extreme form of this. I say go for it.

    Along those lines, I really love #6 with your new black leather topper. That is my favorite from a philosophical perspective. I can't choose a favorite from an aesthetic perspective -- they are all great.

    I'm curious if you can identify how you are styling the pants differently now than you would have when you wore them the first time around. Does that make sense?

  • deb replied 3 years ago

    You need to wear those. Honestly, NEED to.

  • binkle replied 3 years ago

    Very Sacai! Go for it!

  • JAileen replied 3 years ago

    Yay! I like the pants with new long leather jacket.

    I have a trench coat I bought back in the 80s. I don't wear it and should pass it along.

  • gradfashionista replied 3 years ago

    Minimal experience with vintage, but those look more one-a-kind than dated. They’re too unique to pass up.

  • SandyG replied 3 years ago

    The pants are PERFECT and you should wear them as much as possible. I'd pair them with any of my David Bowie tees and a lean leather jacket, letting the pants make the statement. Rock on

  • shevia replied 3 years ago

    Possibly due to my lack of fashion past, but probably due to their transcendent style, your flares do not date to any particular time to me. They are timeless fab as classic and avant garde can be. I have quite a bit of vintage but no personal vintage at all - moved too many times in my youth to accumulate much of anything but, somehow, books.

  • Firecracker replied 3 years ago

    Those are some fabulous, super fun, chic party pants! I agree they would dynamite for a New Year's party (just because that's around the corner) or any fun event. I especially like 1/2 and 6/7, and I think you could style them a lot of great ways, but I like a fairly simple support act with them. They look equally good with chunky sneakers or heels as you've shown here.
    My personal vintage item is a loden coat from Austria, bought in the early 90s. I removed the shoulder pads and narrowed the shoulders for a less "linebacker" look and started wearing it again a few years ago.

  • cindysmith replied 3 years ago

    I love them!

  • replied 3 years ago

    Those are amazeballs Liz! I haven't got any vintage items at all, but then I never had your kind of fab style :)

  • Staysfit replied 3 years ago

    Love! Please wear them! Please! So glad you showed them to us too!

  • Leo replied 3 years ago


  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    Phew! Sorry it took so long to get back to this. I've had a busy day. Just in case anyone's still looking... 

    Thank you all so much for your thoughts on personal vintage in general, and the pants in particular. I'm going to make an effort to wear these next year, probably beginning on New Year's Eve (thanks Suz!)

    I've really enjoyed reading everyone's observations on those things we keep, and why we keep them. I'm mighty relieved I'm not the only one with an archive. Gaylene, I have a few personal icons here as well. Speaking of which, Style Fan, this thread was worth it just to get another look at that fringed jacket. Same goes for the Loden coat, Firecracker! Wear it forever!

    : that's a fascinating idea. I'm not sure if fashion works in quite the same way, but the culture we absorb during adolescence is no doubt a very powerful influence. SarahD8, I can't honestly remember how I styled these in the past. In some respects, they feel more relevant to my style now than they did then, or maybe I knew I was buying them for my future self...

  • ladypainter replied 3 years ago

    Those pants are amazing--totally see why you hung onto them.
    They look especially well with the new black coat and the striped top. 
    Wear them and enjoy them!

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