When I lived in Madison, Wisconsin in the late 1970s, the first vintage clothing stores I ever encountered were just starting to open on State Street. I was really fascinated by seeing all the pieces from different eras, but I especially liked the turn of the century, or Victorian pieces. The white cotton christening dresses, the elaborate crochet, lace, or cutwork on the blouses, the sailor tops and all the rest left an impression on me. Once I understood what the hallmarks from that era were, I started to see them repeated in the decades that came after. In fact, when I moved to Milwaukee to continue my career, I took a job at one of the largest vintage clothing stores in town. Victorian style pieces were all the rage and now, once again, we’re definitely seeing evidence of their elaborate, yet simple silhouettes in fashion. I collected some examples at my local Goodwill Store & Donation Center of items that would be awesome to wear this summer—and they offer a special nod to an era gone by.
Check out my slideshow below and take note of what to look for.
- Cotton rich tops, dresses and light colors like white and beige are reminiscent of the Victorian era.
- Tunic tops that have bow tie closures also feel like vintage pieces and could be used as swim suit cover-ups, or donned for daytime wear with shorts or jeans!
- Hunt for details that really stand out, like lace insets, crochet embellishment, or embroidery that looks hand done.
- Keep in mind that cotton items and blends are breathable, as well as easy to launder.
- All of the items shown are chic and summertime appropriate for you or someone you know! Shopping and donating at Goodwill is a win/win situation for all!