Black in Time: Noir Ohio

An vintage outfit featured on Noir Ohio.

… Because vintage is the new black

By Sara McKinniss

An vinateg outfit featured on Noir Ohio.

Local vintage clothing maven Maggie Leadman never intended to become the Miami Valley’s “go to” source for vintage clothing, but over the last few years, she has. For Leadman, owner of the Dayton-based online vintage fashion store, Noir Ohio, it all started with a serendipitous moment at a local thrift shop with a quilted Chanel handbag a mere six years ago. Since that fateful day, her store, blog and styling experiences, have led her to become a fashion powerhouse in the Dayton area.

Though Leadman is spearheading the vintage clothing movement in Dayton, the art of buying and selling vintage clothing underwent a revival over a decade ago. When fashionistas in New York City and Los Angeles started digging through the racks of America’s thrift stores, the rest of us eventually did too.
America was bored with Gap denim and stuffy business attire. Vintage clothing soon appeared in magazines and on television. Television shows like Sex and the City and Friends had their characters throwing caution to the wind and stepping out in clothes from many years before. Embracing the change in society, Leadman invested in vintage clothing’s staying power early on and it has paid off.

Leadman travels Ohio’s thrift stores looking for pieces to sell on her online store, housed on eBay. By operating solely online, she is able to share these pieces with people all over the world. A graphic designer by trade, her sense of style and appreciation for good design is invested in every piece she buys. Noir Ohio’s slogan is “Vintage is the new black,” and it seems to be catching on.

“I try to stay on-trend, but I still buy classic pieces,” said Leadman. “For me, it’s all about the hunt. I constantly look for amazing pieces. I literally have dreams about finding the perfect item.”

As she acquires pieces throughout the week, Leadman prepares for new auctions every Thursday. She styles all of the items, photographs them and uploads them to her store and blog. Her items range anywhere from vintage dresses to the slips, stilettos to saddle shoes, belts, purses and everything in between.

Looking at her blog is like looking back in time.

For some, undertaking the task of finding that perfect vintage piece may seem daunting. Racks and racks of clothes in thrift stores can be overwhelming to some people. But with the right approach, anyone can find that diamond in the rough … or even that 1980s pair of Manolos. Leadman offers advice to vintage newbies to ease the burden of this task.

“There are certain iconic pieces, like designer ones, that you can never go wrong with,” said Leadman “Try a trench coat, like a classic Burberry tan trench or if you stumble upon a handbag, try that. These are simpler ways to try vintage without looking costume-y.”

Leadman also noted that starting with one piece and incorporating it into an overall look can make wearing vintage clothing easier.

“If you’re new to vintage, try finding a great bracelet, necklace or a blouse and wear with more modern pieces,” said Leadman. “You have to have a lot of confidence to wear vintage. You have to be comfortable with yourself, have a sense of style and you must be secure in it to pull a look off.”

Leadman also has her own personal interest in vintage clothing that helps her not only view what she does as a job, but reminds her to be passionate about her work.

“It’s an amazing thing to think about the history of each garment, “ said Leadman. “Each piece has its own history. Someone famous could have worn it.

That’s the great thing about something from the past; you just don’t know and never will, but you hope that it was important to someone. Knowing this, it helps me appreciate vintage fashion even more.”

To visit Leadman’s blog, go to noirohiovintage.blogspot.com or visit the online store, Noir Ohio, on eBay.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Sara McKinniss at SaraMcKinniss@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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