Have you noticed how eager guys are picking up others’ unwanted T-shirts and soles these days? Five-dollar washed stretched cotton prints and old-school Adidas sneakers get snatched up almost as quickly as a can of Coke on a hot afternoon. Vintage clothing has always been popular among the ladies, but these days, more and more men are getting in on the trend. And with new stores like Filthy at hip Haji Lane opening and more online options to scour, it’s no wonder men’s hand-me-downs are all the rage.
Why it’s Hot
Certainly, the main reason why vintage is always fashionable is because vintage pieces are all one-offs. This assures trendsetters that they are wearing an exclusive piece that no one else will have. “I buy vintage because it tends to have a royale one-off look…and let’s face it, no one likes to rock up to a club looking like the goose next to him,” exclaims vintage lover Phil Gallagher, who runs the vintage clothes website www.istealmemories.com. “Also, vintage clothing is made from damn fine cotton that you just can’t find these days,” he adds.
Chang, owner of vintage store The Attic at Far East Plaza, which sells apparel for men and women, agrees. “Vintage used to be for people on a budget. Now it has turned more glamorous, even for men,” he states.
Indeed, vintage clothing is on a roll. While stores selling vintage women’s wear and vintage-inspired clothing have mushroomed, stores focusing on secondhand menswear have also piggybacked.
Guys wear seconds and vintage clothing for many reasons. Gallagher reckons “chicks dig a well-dressed original man,” while many industry observers cite aesthetic appeal, versatility, uniqueness and quality of older clothing as key incentives.
Fashionably attuned blokes scour flea markets, op shops and online stores for one-of a-kind looks, but with more and more stores opening, men are also making their way down to stores like Filthy at Haji Lane and Daytripper at The Heeren for some rare finds, and you should too. Filthy, for one, is essential for dead-stock Comme des Garçons shirts that sell for a fraction of the cost, as well as the imported jeans from Japan. Daytripper and Oppt Shop at The Heeren are also where men stock up on T-shirts, jackets and jeans, while the more adventurous even trod to 24-hour Mustafa Centre in Little India for ’80s Casio watches.
And then there are those who love the web for their choice vintage buys. Insurance Consultant Halim Abdul, for one, searches Ebay for preppy Oscar De La Renta ties to match his tailored shirts and shiny leather soles for that über chic executive look that no one else is likely to sport. “There’s a great variety of items you can find on Ebay, and you’ll almost always come up with a whole list of what you want to choose from,” he says.
But to make men’s vintage truly work for you, we say: Mix it up with other pieces from your wardrobe to let your personality shine through. Look to old movies for inspiration or gather pieces to assemble that Italian playboy look like Jude Law’s character from The Talented Mr. Ripley. You can often get the look without digging too deep into your late grandpa’s raggedy chest box if you refer to our directory list below. Also, match your vintage clothes with authentic vintage shades and customized jewellery for a totally killer look that is as original as it is affordable.
Secondhand stuff has come up against this bizzare local notion: Wearers of vintage clothing will inherit the bacteria of the previous wearer and result in BO (body odour). What do you think?
Isa, 19, Student
“No, that’s not true! I’ve been buying vintage wear and haven’t found it a problem. Unless you have BO yourself, then maybe.”
Halim, 28, Insurance Consultant
“It is definitely a myth. Regardless of whether it is vintage or secondhand, it is always advisable to give it a good wash before wearing it for the first time.”
Winston, 22, Student
“Of course it’s a myth. I haven’t had issues with vintage clothing and smells. But if it looks like a rag, I won’t buy it.”
#01-146A Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Rd., 6732-3459.
Look hard enough and you can find rare Penguin polo collared tees alongside rare rock concert ones.
#04-27 The Heeren, 260 Orchard Rd., 6733-6678.
T-shirts are the main staple here, with a respectable selection of jeans and jackets.
20 Haji Lane, 9747-2251.
Branded finds like Comme des Garçons and Vivienne Westwood here are certified gems.
House of Japan
55 Haji Lane, 6396-6657.
Can’t get enough of torn jeans and printed tees with vintage Disney images? You can get them here at a fraction of the original cost.
145 Syed Alwi Rd., 6295-5855.
Eighties Casio watches are the main vintage finds here.
#04-36 The Heeren, 260 Orchard Rd., 6733-9406.
This hot favorite is where some of the best vintage tees can be found, as most are scoured from the US and Japan.
Vintage corner at Beach Road (no shop name)
#02-167 Beach Road Garden Complex, Beach Rd.
If you’re on a really tight budget, this is good for used Adidas T-shirts that sell for as low as $3.
Online retail sites like www.shadykids.com,
www.istealmemories.com and the perennial favorite www.ebay.com are where branded vintage like Oscar de la Renta, Vivienne Westwood, Dior and Comme des Garcons.
Tips on keeping your vintage real and fresh.