We're super excited to announce we are officially carrying vintage at Cats Like Us. It has been a bit of an experiment for us, but we have had so much success over the last year we are expanding our vintage offerings!
I recently sat down to talk with Julie Ann about the topic! ~Andy
~ interview ~
For people confused about the difference between vintage and retro can you explain the difference?
"Vintage" when talking about clothing, is old clothing made older than 20-30 years ago. So, right now, anything older than 1999 is considered vintage when talking about clothing. Makes you feel old, right?! "Retro" usually means new clothes in vintage style.
You didn't always carry vintage clothing at Cats Like Us. What made you decide to start?
Up until last year we only sold retro (new) clothing in the store. This is going to sound crazy, but it came to me in a dream. We were out of town for Andrew’s grandmother’s funeral and I was having a hard time sleeping and when I woke up ~ for the first time since opening Cats Like Us ~ I seriously considered carrying vintage. Maybe she told me to!
Customers have asked why we don’t sell vintage and I have avoided it in the past, because it can be a lot of work. First you have to find it, and it’s getting harder and harder to find. It may need to be cleaned and repaired, and finally the sizing isn’t the same what it is today. That being said it is fun to find and our vintage inventory helps differentiate us from other "retro" clothing sellers.
Another thing to think about is that ~ in a way ~ wearing vintage clothing is recycling. Watching all the clothes that end up in a landfill is discouraging, not to mention how some workers are treated where new clothing is made. We wanted to help, even if it’s just in a small part to help with the environment.
What do you like about vintage clothing?
I love that it’s unique from modern retro offerings. Vintage items are basically one of a kind, so if you are looking for an item to wear in a pinup contest or big rockabilly event (I’m looking at you Viva Las Vegas) chances are if you choose something vintage no one else will be wearing it!
I also love the quality. The fabrics and structure are better than anything being made today. They often have little touches that make the items special, like a bow, fancy buttons, or a funky pocket.
What background do you have with vintage?
I’ve worn vintage since my teens because I always preferred the style to current trends.
In order to learn more about vintage I spent some time working in a vintage shop in Buffalo. Each time I came into work I learned about a new designer or style that I didn’t know about before! We did a ton of business for the World's Largest Disco, a local event.
My schooling background is in Art History, specifically Modern Art which spans 1900 through the 1970s. That time frame coincides with vintage fashion and often the things going on in art paralleled the style of the time. Let's face it, some clothing IS ART!
You try and carry all sizes in retro, but do you also have a range of sizes in vintage?
Surprisingly yes! Vintage can sometimes have a bad reputation of being small, but larger sizes were available. The sizing may be different from modern sizing, but we have found vintage in what would be XS-XXL and then some, and carry a whole range. We have always tried to be inclusive of all sizes, if they are available we get them!
We hand measure everything we sell online, so if you know your measurements you can know if an item will fit! We are always happy to answer any questions about it too.
Do you collect vintage? Is there a specific designer or style you particularly like?
Personally, yes. I’m more drawn to certain fabrics and styles rather than specific designers. I do love Lilly Pulitzer because even though she’s a big name her clothes are everyday wearable. The same goes for Vera scarves, and I even have a Vera blouse from the 1960s! You can find a Jonathan Logan dress that’s stunning, but where can you wear it unless it’s somewhere super fancy? Plus I’m a klutz and would ruin anything really fancy!
What is the most interesting particular vintage item you have found?
I have a two piece 1960s tiki shorts set. The fabric of the top and shorts matches, and it even has a matching belt, and the shorts are reversible!