How to Mix Vintage and Contemporary Brands with Abby of Clothes & Pizza
Even though Abby spends her days in the tech industry, you will never find her in one signature uniform. “One day I might channel a 90s streetwear look, and the next I may be inspired by 70s office secretaries…I love to experiment with trends and styles and themes and decades.”
See how Abby mixes vintage and thrift with newer pieces and get inspired to have a little more fun with your daily looks.
So, who are you? :)
Hi! I’m Abby — the one woman circus that is Clothes & Pizza. I’m a vintage lover, sometimes stylist, skincare hoarder, YouTube creator, and full time User Experience Designer in Silicon Valley. I’ve been running my blog for about 2 and a half years. I started it when I lived in Brooklyn (where I spent the last 10 years), but I’ve recently moved to the Bay Area where I live with my husband and our tuxedo kitty, Noodle. On my blog, I cover all things personal style and focus mostly on mixing vintage with contemporary brands. You’ll also find a little bit of skincare and beauty content, as well as home decor (we are slowly renovating our 1940s California ranch home).
How do you describe your style?
In a word: eclectic. I don’t think I have a “signature style”—I like the freedom to channel different themes and characters every single day. One day I might channel a 90s streetwear look, and the next I may be inspired by 70s office secretaries. I could never be the type of gal to have a capsule wardrobe or a “uniform” style of dressing. I love to experiment with trends and styles and themes and decades.
How did you get into vintage clothing?
In high school I discovered the beauty of thrift stores. I was enthralled by the ability to purchase an entire outfit (that was 1 of a kind, essentially) for such low cost. I was in high school during the heyday of Fast Fashion, so the shopping options that were within my high-schoolers’ budget was either Forever21 or thrift stores. And I had no desire to look like everyone else (back then, or now), so I chose to thrift! I loved the unique silhouettes and the high-quality construction of vintage pieces, and to this day I gravitate more towards vintage than second hand. Everything from the quality of the fabric, to the attention to detail, to the unique prints and patterns, made me fall in love with vintage.
What are your tips for mixing vintage with contemporary options?
I often talk about adding and removing pieces to successfully channel a theme without becoming overly costumey. Just because something is vintage doesn’t mean it has to look “retro” when you wear it. It’s all about balance: is the vintage piece bold and over the top? Balance it with something more simple and modern. For example, a vintage abstract print blouse looks perfectly modern when paired with sleek black trousers. When I’m getting dressed I don’t pick things based on whether or not they are vintage—a printed blouse is a printed blouse, whether it’s vintage or from Nordstrom.
How does your style change between NYC and the Bay Area? How do you build your wardrobe for a bicoastal life?
I definitely dress more casually here on the west coast than I did on the east coast. I think New Yorkers in general dress more “to be seen” which I am totally down with. Whereas Californias (or at least Bay Area Californians) dress more for comfort. The weather is also so much more temperate in CA, so I had to give away at lot of my heavy coats when I moved here. I also don’t wear nearly as much black as I wore in NYC.
What is your go-to look?
When I’m feeling uninspired or need to get dressed in a hurry, I have a few outfit combos that I tend to fall back on. One of them is a vintage tee + killer denim. I recommend vintage denim always (or at least 100% cotton denim, no stretch) because it looks wayyyyy better than the contemporary stuff. Vintage denim is typically thicker and made without spandex, so the material looks more luxe and substantial. It also usually has natural whiskering and distressing, which looks really rad. You can’t go wrong with this outfit combo, but you gotta nail the denim! It can make or break the look.
I also feel like owning a black leather jacket and/or denim jacket are key pieces. An outfit always looks more polished and stylish with a badass leather jacket or denim jacket on top. Things to look for: vintage (if you can find one) is obviously a no-brainer, real leather always looks better in my opinion (it’s thicker, sturdier, etc), go with a classic cut (like a motorcycle/biker jacket) in a comfortable fit (don’t buy anything too cropped or tight- it will feel trendy). All these same guidelines apply for a denim jacket too— go for a vintage fit or a classic silhouette (Levi’s, Wrangler, or Lee). Nothing too stylized or fitted. You can wear pretty much anything and it will look cool as long as you throw on a killer jacket.
What's a piece in your closet you wear to make more of a statement?
Usually dresses: they are a pretty easy way to pack a punch. I will also add big/bold earrings and a bright lip if I need to change the feel of an outfit in a hurry. Lately I’ve been loving the puffy sleeve trend—it’s a super fun way to add some drama to a look.