Clothing,  Thrifting Tips

In Defense of Reproductions: Why Sometimes They’re Better Than the Real Thing

On my last thrifting adventure, I was sorting through the racks of summer blouses (where I’ve been drawn to lately thanks to the warming temperatures!) and I stumbled upon the most beautiful floral sleeveless blouse. It had all of the touches of a sixties gem. It was covered in pink tulips, had intricately designed buttons all the way down and was modest enough to wear to a church picnic with ease. 

My heart immediately did a little happy dance, thinking I’d scored a vintage find! I always go to the local thrift store and secretly hope that some elderly woman decided to donate her entire wardrobe to them. That would be like hitting pay dirt, and I know you vintage-loving thrifters know exactly what I’m talking about. The quality! The styling! The precious patterns! They just don’t make them like that anymore.

Or, do they?

I was shocked when I moved the price tag aside to find that this wasn’t a vintage piece at all. It was a modern piece from a line carried at Target. Did I shudder in disgust and put it back on the rack? Absolutely not! While I might know it isn’t a super valuable classic piece, others don’t have to, and I was certain I could rock it with a flowing skirt come spring.

So today, let’s talk thrifted reproductions. From furniture to clothes, are we better off sticking to the real, older stuff all of the time or can today’s manufacturers create replicas that are just as beautiful or sometimes (dare I say it) even more so than what came first? I say it’s the latter, and here’s why:

1. Thrifted reproductions hold up better.

My favorite sundress is a yellow, semi-sheer floral number I inherited from my dear neighbor’s grandmother. It’s the perfect airy wardrobe piece and I’ve worn it more times than I can count. Yet, I’ve also had to mend it an equal number of times. The truth is, older clothing usually doesn’t hold up quite as well as its newer counterparts, and the logic behind it is fairly simple.

True vintage pieces have been around for a long time! Their elastic has had time to dry rot, their colors have faded and their stitching has loosened. Thus, when you put it on and attempt to wear it in your daily routine, you may notice that it’s beginning to fall apart relatively quickly. While there are many classic pieces that buck this trend and wear as great today as they did on Day 1, the pattern follows that newer reproductions are the smarter investment if you plan to get routine wear out of your piece.

2. Thrifted reproductions incorporate subtle modern elements.

Sure, you love the look of vintage clothing and you pine for days gone by. Yet, we can all agree that there are some vintage pieces that scream their decade and you might not want to leave the house looking like you’re wearing a costume. On the other hand, reproductions are typically made with just a nod to vintage fashion while still remaining totally fresh and current.

Case in point? That authentically vintage floral maxi dress with shoulder pads that’s taking up valuable real estate on the thrift store rack might look hideous on. Yet, a few feet over you might find a newer floral dress that looks like it actually belongs in this era. Shop for what you love but don’t forget that no matter how much we may adore bygone eras, we’re in 2018 baby.

3. You’ll have a wider repertoire.

If you limit your collections to just vintage items, you’ll be searching for a long time. For instance, you may want a closet full of tops, pants, skirts and blouses from the sixties. That means a ton of time browsing thrift stores and scouring the internet to find the ideal articles you need. You’ll also be limited on where you can shop.

Yet, if you’re willing to go with a reproduction, you can often find them in almost any category from retro clothing to antique home furnishings. Thus, it’s in your best interest to learn more about these options and the quality and style they can afford. Your time is valuable and you shouldn’t have to spend it searching in vain for totally authentic vintage pieces. Be willing to step outside the box a little and your local thrift store will open up to you like you’d never imagined.

Now that you know a little more about why thrifted reproductions are often as preferable as the real thing, does that change your shopping strategy? Do you own mostly classic pieces, newer ones, or a little of both? Sound off in the comments below!