Vintage Legend Cameron Silver Gives Us His Top Tips For Buying Vintage Clothes

Including a simple trick for checking shoes. And lots of detail about fabric


by Pandora Sykes |
Published on

Not only does Cameron Silver have the coolest surname we've chanced upon in a long time, but American fashion historian and owner of swishy vintage LA boutique Decades really knows his pre-owned fashion. His store is the one everyone in Hollywood from Gwyneth Paltrow to Rihanna goes to; and the one that Rachel Zoe pretty much lives in.

To coincide with the London Barbican's Jean Paul Gaultier retrospective, which opens today, Cameron has pulled together a selection of vintage Gaultier pieces from the Decades archive for boutique Matches.


And whilst there's not loads in our price range - although can we just say that this candy pink Bustier Denim Dress is 1980s Palm Beach met Balmain and less than the price of a Whistles jacket - we took this as an opportunity to catch up with Cameron for a quick Q&A about how to become a vintage-seeking missile.

Or, at least, become a little bit more savvy when faced with 4,8700 'new in' pieces on Etsy.

The Debrief: Hey, Cameron! So what vintage piece should you always buy, if you chance upon it?

Cameron Silver: A sexy jersey Halston dress from the 1970s. They always sell right away.

DB: And what kind of things should you always avoid?

CS: Anything that looks too costume-y is dangerous. Avoid looking like you are trick or treating in something vintage!

**DB: What about materials. Which ones stand the test of time? And which fall apart?


CS: Synthetic fabrics really could survive a nuclear holocaust although they aren't that posh, except for viscose. Cashmere and wool can be a moth magnet. Jerseys can stretch and suddenly have a train. I love chiffons but they are quite fragile and one must be careful with stains and perspiration damage as they are very difficult to clean. In all honesty, we must treat our beautiful clothing like art and take care of these treasures.

**DB: What about shoes? People are famously funny about vintage shoes, right? **

CS: I am cool with vintage shoes as long as they aren't totally destroyed and the resoling is quite simple [check out the soles before you buy, resoling depends on the shoe.] However, it's not always everyone's ideal of glamour to put your foot in someone's shoes....

DB: So it's a personal thing. And what kind of vintage stuff are you seeing people buy a lot of?

CS: Accessories, accessories, accessories. Everyone wants a vintage Chanel, Hermes, or Bottega Veneta bag. Plus vintage costume jewelry from Yves Saint Laurent is very desirable.

DB: Where's the best place to buy vintage?

CS: The best things come out a closet of a fashionable woman of a certain age. I just spent the afternoon with Anjelica Huston - that was a treasure trove. Auctions, flea markets, vintage fairs and online auction retailers are great places to find vintage, but nothing compares with sourcing from the direct owner.

DB: Hmmm, in the absence of any famous thespian friends, we might have to keep hitting up ASOS Marketplace. If only we lived in the US. Why do Americans - with LA's Rosebowl market and the Goodwill warehouses - have much better vintage than us Brits?!

CS: Americans have historically been massive consumer and consequently massive wasters. We have a lot of goodies in our cupboards!

**DB: You lucky people, you. So what's the best way to store your vintage items? **

CS: Fragile pieces should be folded with acid free tissue and placed in a box like a wedding gown. Avoid direct sunlight and certainly moths are the biggest enemy. Your clothes are an investment so it's wise to treat everything with TLC.

DB: Who are your favourite vintage designers to source for Decades?

CS: I love so many different designers, from so many different decades. I was just looking at a collection of Ossie Clark and adore them. Certainly both Gaultier and Moschino are of genuine interest at presence. If anyone has a Charles James [British born couturier, prevalent in the 1930s] gown in their closet, then please call me!

**DB: Er, not us Cameron. But thanks!


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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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