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Vintage Clothing: The Inside Track

Is Vintage Clothing exclusive to vegetarians? Is it a prerequisite that in order to appreciate Vintage Clothing you must own Bob Dylan's entire back catalogue on vinyl? Why do all women quote that Marilyn Monroe "if you can't handle me at my worst you don't deserve me at my best" line on their dating profiles? Apart from the last one, these are all pertinent questions. Introducing Caspar De La Mare. Caspar is a pillar in the thrift community and owns A Dandy in Aspic, a retro clothing shop in the heart of the vintage clothing capital, Camden's Stable Market.

A Dandy in Aspic (named after the 60's spy thriller) is famously referred to as a treasure chest of authentic, handpicked vintage menswear dating from 1900-1979 sourced from all four corners of the globe. I managed to get an exclusive interview with Caspar and lifted the vintage-veil on what really constitutes Vintage Clothing.

Caspar De La Mare
Caspar De La Mare

Do you just wander in to the local Marie Curie to get your stock? 

"I like to keep that side of things hidden as it spoils the mystique. I do go abroad and I will leave no stone unturned to find quality true vintage pieces. A great deal of what I sell is unused New Old Stock that comes from shops that have closed and had leftover stock in their storerooms." 

Do the clothes have to be a certain age to be classed Vintage? What's the cut-off? 

"In terms of age : 25+ years = Classic. 50+ years = Vintage. 100+ years = Antique. However these days 1990s is considered the new vintage, not in my books though." 

Is Vintage clothing on the rise or decline? 

"In my opinion at the moment there is overkill, as the very word 'Vintage' is being used to describe anything that is not new. There are many so-called 'Vintage' shops that don't sell any true vintage and many designers are doing a 'Vintage' collection. This should be referred to as heritage or retro."

Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman

What artist or celebrity wears Vintage clothing the best? 

"Martin Freeman has a great love of the early 60's, American Ivy league-style which was adopted by the Mods here. It is a very classic sharp look." 

What's the most expensive item of vintage clothing either in your shop or that you've come across? 

"There was an incident at a London auction house that specialises in vintage clothing/textiles where a 1930s men's faux-fur teddy bear coat sold for a staggering £25,000. It was involved in a bidding war between two collectors. It's price estimate for the auction was £250 -350."

Peter Brooker

Peter is a published author on men's style, a huge James Bond fanatic and the host of our very own Menswear Style Podcast. His new book 'From Tailors with Love: An Evolution of Menswear Through the Bond Films' is available now.

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