Who What Wear Curates is a new franchise that sees Who What Wear's Shopping Editor, Joy Montgomery, join forces with some of the industry's coolest vintage brands to show you that second-hand does not have to mean second-best. This series will give you exclusive previews of sellout second-hand drops before they are open to the public, and we'll be hand-selecting our favourite pieces and showing you how to wear them for the season ahead. Prepare to get clicking, because these pieces won't stick around for long.
Welcome to our first instalment of Who What Wear Curates, your chance to get a glimpse into the collections of some of the industry's coolest vintage brands. We have long extolled the benefits of second-hand shopping, both for creating a unique personal style and for its positive impact on the environment, but during lockdown, it has really felt like the online vintage market has taken off in a whole new way. We have particularly loved seeing our readers' amazing response to our secondhand stories and receiving so much positive feedback.
Who What Wear
We have, of course, created vintage try-ons in the past, however, the main issue is that it's not possible to shop the exact second-hand item that you see in the photos—the very nature of vintage is that it is one-of-a-kind, after all. While we always try to include vintage options in our general shopping content and regularly cover related topics, we really wanted to create a dedicated space where pre-loved fashion can be front and centre. Enter Who What Wear Curates.
To kick us off, we got in touch with Retold Vintage, one of the more established brands within the online vintage market. Set up by Clare Lewis, the platform has become known for its stunningly curated edits, filled with versatile pieces that will easily slip into the contemporary wardrobe. I've always loved the variety Retold offers, and Clare's collections always feel accessible to both vintage aficionados and newbies alike.
"Retold was born out of a mission to make vintage and second-hand clothing inspiring and accessible to as many people as possible, especially to those who wouldn't have considered wearing it before," Clare explains. "There has been a huge shift in the last couple of years which has been amazing to see. People are consciously wanting to incorporate more secondhand into their wardrobes and therefore the vintage and pre-loved community has really grown significantly. Just look at Selfridges, a shop that has really embraced the secondhand retail market with pop-ups from Vestiaire, Depop, Hurr rental, and now their Project Earth campaign. I, for one, didn't think even two years ago the wider retail sector would be embracing secondhand so much.
"My top tips for shopping vintage? Firstly, choose timeless styles; this could be a beautiful trench, a luxe cream silk blouse or a pair of Levi’s. All classic wardrobe staples that you will wear forever. Don't feel the need to go head to toe in vintage—it could be as simple as finding a gorgeous vintage blazer to wear with your favourite jeans or accessorising with a vintage belt. Secondly, invest in a tape measure and get to know your body measurements. Vintage sizing is very different to modern day so don't rely on old labels etc to ensure an item fits. Thirdly, stay true to your own style and use Instagram to follow vintage accounts that resonate with your personal aesthetic – it’s a great source of inspiration."
The brand's hotly-anticipated autumn collection is landing this Sunday, and I got a chance to preview the edit, hand-pick my favourite pieces and style them up, so you can make the most informed choice when it goes live.
The collection will be available to buy from 5.30pm, so make sure to set your alarms, because these pre-loved gems won't stick around for long!
Scroll down to shop my favourite pieces from Retold Vintage's autumn drop.
The Heritage Suit
Joy Montgomery for Who What Wear
Style Notes: Tailoring, particularly blazers, have to be one of the easier ways to dip your toe in pre-loved fashion. This tweed suit is in great condition, and offers the ideal boxy fit that will look chic with both jeans and midi dresses. I'll wear with loafers now then layer-up with a roll neck and boots come winter.
Style Notes: This is definitely my favourite piece from the collection. It's rare to find a leather trench that fits so well (I'm a size 8 and it's only a little oversize), but this bottle-green iteration hits the mark. This'll pack plenty of Alexa Chung vibes with a pair of pointed flat boots and a white tee. Delicious.
Style Notes: Proof that you can nab one of this season's biggest trends without having to buy new. The knitted vest is set to be autumn's hero layering piece, and it can be worn alone or layered over a long-sleeved top. My top tip? Try the menswear section for a more oversized fit.
Style Notes: I honestly couldn't believe this Aquascutum coat was second hand—it is in such perfect condition. Coming in a thick woolen fabric, it hangs beautifully, both belted and undone. This pre-loved gem will serve you for many winters to come.
Style Notes: Obviously I had to include this dreamy statement collar blouse, which is yet another example of how you can find 2020 trends on the vintage market. The fit is quite oversized, but it's balanced-out by the proportions of the collar. I can imagine it looking particularly fab layered under a sweater vest.
Style Notes: In the world of online vintage there are plenty of prairie dresses to go around, but simpler styles can be harder to track down. This '70s dress caught my eye with its chic beige hue and cool pointed pockets. It would look so good with tan knee-high boots and a flowing trench for cool autumn afternoons.
Style Notes: If you prefer something a little softer in the jacket department, this dark grey style will fit the bill nicely. Whether you wear alone or over a chunky knit, the waist-cinching belt will help to give shape, while the smart-casual fabric allows you to dress it up and down with ease.