1960’s gown from Wild Honey Pie Vintage
The allure of vintage clothing comes from nostalgic associations with bygone eras, but there are also a number of practical reasons why vintage is so popular. Vintage clothing was often made out of better materials and was also often better constructed than what you’ll find on the racks today. There is also something remarkable about finding a piece of clothing that feels like it was made for you and knowing that someone else may have worn and loved it. I’ve put together a mini guide on what to look for (and look out for) when shopping for vintage clothes. Hope you enjoy!
vintage dresses via love it a lot
Keep an Eye out for Reproductions
The type of fabric used, and the labels on a garment, are the best indicators of age. Style can sometimes be misleading because certain styles and patterns have come into vogue in multiple decades. If you see care instructions on the label that lists instructions for washing, drying or bleaching etc. you can safely assume that the garment was made post 1970’s. Also, certain synthetic fabrics like polyester, lycra and others weren’t used until the later part of the twentieth century. A plastic zipper means that a garment was made in the 1960’s or later.
Red Mod Dress from Dorothea’s Closet
Know your Measurements
A 1950’s size six dress will often be an entirely different size than a current size six. If you can’t try a piece on (if you’re shopping online for example) try and get as detailed measurements from the seller as possible. Using a fabric measuring tape take your own measurements and see how they compare. It’s not a foolproof way to get a perfect fit, but it will certainly help.
1920’s flapper dress from Veronica
As many textiles age they become weaker and are more liable to be damaged by cleaning or storing them in the wrong way. Take extra special care with vintage clothing; research how to clean and store each piece. For extra special or delicate items it may be worth talking to someone who specializes in clothing preservation.
In my experience there is a certain amount of buyer’s remorse when it comes to collecting vintage. There are the pieces you bought because you fell in love with them, but you never quite work up the nerve to wear, and then there are the pieces that you let slip through your fingers and still think of from time to time. My motto when in comes to vintage is ‘if you love it buy it’ because if you don’t, someone else will.
Adore Vintage Studio via Apartment Therapy
Take Advantage of a Shop Owner’s Expertise
A well curated vintage shop is truly a wonder to behold, with so many eras and styles represented in just one place. Buying from a reputable vintage shop, whether it’s online or brick and mortar, means the shopkeeper is likely to be very knowledgable and passionate about vintage clothing. Feel free to ask questions about a piece you are interested in, and don’t be afraid to ask them to make recommendations; most of the vintage shop keeper’s I’ve met are happy to play dress-up.
image via Dear Golden
When buying vintage shoes there are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you are buying online. Older women’s styles often have narrower widths than what you might be used to. Take full measurements of your foot and compare to the seller’s measurements. Also, pay special attention to the heels of shoes, as that is where you are most likely to see signs of wear. Replacing the heels on an older pair of shoes may prove more difficult than a newer shoe.
Here’s a little vintage fashion treat for you. Some great examples here of 1930’s fashion styles, and I love the prim and proper voice over.
Happy Friday Everyone!