What's Old Is New...Again
We believe that with great risk often comes great reward. We believe in voting and automatic voter registration. We believe in self care. We can't believe there are no longer prizes in cracker jacks. We believe fashion, like history, is cyclical.
It's hard to ignore the recent revival of 90s style as the market floods with every size of hoop earring, mom jeans and platform sandals. Even the bucket hat is getting a rerun. Although the 90s firmly rooted itself in an almost defensive individualism (and fascination with those individuals), it arguably got most of its inspiration from decades past. The 90s adopted much of its iconic style from the 60s and 70s (think ankle-length florals, plaid flannels, tie-dye, bell bottoms and the mini skirt).
Looking for accessories that harken back to the effortlessly cool style from past generations can feel effort-ful. There are not only thousands of fashion houses vying for your attention, but as a culture, we're viewing this market with skepticism. Brands are taking a hard look at how their styles are produced and marketed, gravitating towards sustainability.
One of the best ways to ensure your footprint remains small, and your jewelry collection growing, is to buy vintage. Etsy is one of my favorite marketplaces for once-loved pieces. It has a broad community of sellers-and a very easy way to narrow down what you're looking for.
How to Search on Etsy
I usually begin by using the search bar (ie "chokers", "gold hoops" or "shell clasp belt"). The key to looking past the thousands of results is to use the modifiers on the left-hand side. You can select a color, price range, or shop location. Towards the bottom, you can select an "item type" where there is an option for Vintage. Etsy considers all items from over 20 years ago vintage.
Most of the styles are fashion jewelry (also called costume jewelry)-and incredibly reasonably priced. Finding a great seller can be a one-stop-shop and I love finding stores that cultivate the exact vibes I'm looking for.
You can favorite an item by going to its product page and clicking the little heart in the top right corner. Find your favorited items by clicking on the heart labeled "favorites" next to the search bar.
Things to keep an eye out for:
Shipping Cost - since you may be purchasing from several shops, pay attention to the shipping, each store sets their own prices. Finding several styles from the same shop will keep your cost down!
Repurposed/Altered - some sellers will sell their own "repurposed" vintage items. Some of the styles (like charm bracelets) can still be really cute-and have a lot of vintage elements.
Destash/Lot - sometimes these can be great-you can get a lot of styles all at once, usually for a great deal. The catch? Usually these are a mismatch of styles. Sometimes they contain only one side of an earring, a necklace with a broken clasp, or 7 of the same hoop earring. These are great for making your own "repurposed" jewelry.
Closures - many earring styles come with clip-on backs. These can be great for people with sensitive ears, who can't shop today's fashion jewelry market due to harmful materials and treatments. If you hate clip-ons but love the style, a local jewelry store can easily convert most clip-ons to pierced styles.
I always clean my styles before wearing, and disinfect my earrings. Cleaning your styles really depends on the materials. If your pieces are fabric, wood or can be damaged with water, spot clean them with a q-tip.
For most metal, plastic or costume/fashion items, "jewelry cleaner" can be too harsh. I've always soaked mine in warm water with a little hand soap (I've heard baby soap can be used as well!). Let it sit for 30 seconds, rinse it and check-if it needs additional care, spot clean with a q-tip (prolonged exposure to water will tarnish your pieces). Make sure to dry your pieces as soon as your finished cleaning them.
To disinfect earrings, wipe the post with hydrogen peroxide.
See some of my collection below!