Why Buying "Nouveau Vintage" Is The Smartest Thing You Can Do For Your Closet

What do you call something that's not quite old enough to be considered vintage (the strict definition puts that at 20 years) but not quite new enough to be in stores? How do you find those 3-year-old boots you always meant to buy, but now can finally afford? In these days of peer-to-peer marketplaces, a new category of clothes exist online. We're dubbing it "nouveau vintage."

They're the clothes that you'd find at consignment shops like Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads, but without the shoving and with the confidence that the $800 Chanel bag you're fondling isn't actually a Channel bag that should only cost you $18. Online, there's a huge array of places that sell nouveau vintage, and we've hooked up with re-sale site Tradesy, one that lets shopping addicts poke into the depths of each other's closets. We sent three of our editors on a mission to recover those items that they missed out on the first time around, and had them weave said items into outfits that are a true mix of high and low, new and vintage, and nouveau vintage.

Want the opportunity to go wild on Tradesy, too? Just enter here for a chance to win a $3,000 nouveau-vintage spree.

Photographed by Tory Rust.
Connie Wang, style director

The Score: Miu Miu Heels
"The e-commerce pages to buy these Miu Miu heels were up all of fall 2011, but I couldn't pull the trigger. Now that I finally (finally) have them (for one-third of the price, mind you, and with the added benefit of someone else stretching the toes out for me), they're just the thing to dress up my wardrobe of baggy pants, big sweaters, and boyish separates."
Photographed by Tory Rust.
The Score: Coogi Sweater
"Like nearly all great things about '90s hip hop, Coogi is also making a renaissance this year. This cropped sweater's got the label running down each sleeve and that tell-tale brass plate on the hem. I've made it more me with a current-season leather skirt from Banana Republic, a thrifted J.Crew button-down, and my beat-up Calvin Klein slip-ons."
Photographed by Tory Rust.
The Score: Gucci Top
"As a one-shouldered plaid party top, this is probably as pretty as I go with my clothes. I would have probably skipped this over on the rack, but there's something about seeing things through the lens of a resale site that lets you give things second chances. I wore it with a pair of Marni jeans I scored at an outlet mall, a $20 souvenir jacket from Tokyo, and a pair of ankle boots."
Photographed by Tory Rust.
Naomi Nevitt, shopping and market director

The Score: Vintage Leather Jacket
"A leather jacket works as a cold-weather essential if you layer a super-soft turtleneck underneath for extra warmth. This one could pass for Acne even though it's a vintage men's style. Since designers are looking to vintage for inspiration these days, sometimes scoring the real deal is almost better than buying in season."
Photographed by Tory Rust.
The Score: Céline boots
"I wanted to make these incredible Céline boots less fancy, so I paired them with my faux French standbys — a striped shirt and an oversize camel coat. Shoes this good are seasonless, and these babies were in mint condition making them feel like a totally new purchase rather than vintage."
Photographed by Tory Rust.
The Score: Anthropologie Dress
"To make this sparkly dress work for the office and a holiday party, I added a linen blazer in a boxy shape. This dress already had a bit of a vintage feel, although it must have been from a season or two ago. It's almost a bit '20s with its beading and straight cut."
Photographed by Tory Rust.
Annie Georgia Greenberg, senior style editor

The Score: Vintage Boots
"Over-the-knee boots were on my must-have list this fall. I like them just as much with skinny jeans as with skirts. Here, I tamed them a little bit by pairing the heeled shoe with a structured wool skirt and sweater."
Photographed by Tory Rust.
The Score: Blumarine Cardigan
"I don't usually go for short cardigans but this one spoke to me because it's the perfect shade of red and has a distinctly vintage cut. I love the way it looks against dark denim and styling it like a shirt makes it more modern and work for my wardrobe."
Photographed by Tory Rust.
The Score: Saint Laurent Leather Jacket
"This jacket feels. This jacket feels like.... No. I can't even. I can't even explain it. This jacket feels like heaven, if heaven was a jacket (and it might be!). I decided to keep the rest of the look just as luxe. I went for some dressier pants, a casual sweater, and a vintage neck scarf to balance out the new/old vibe. I like when you can't tell where or when an outfit is from. That means it's pretty classic."

Don't forget to enter to win $3,000 toward a nouveau vintage collection of your own! Click here to sign up.