Garments produced during 1920s and thereafter are considered vintage, however, clothes produced within the last 20 years would not be treated as such.
While many fashionable ladies and men may like to peer into the future to fish out the newest fashion trends, there are still many of us who don't appreciate 'The New', all that much. Such is the state of ours, that we have to make do with all that is available in the present to somehow make a decent appearance.
But, our hearts ache for vintage and long for the age when clothes were soft, sequenced, flowing with every little move, and handmade with motherly love and care. We can't help but curse our fate for being born in the wrong era, when our closets would have tastefully held our truest, deepest, and brightest fashion desires...
And we don't care if the rest of the world cringes at the thought of us wearing seconds, nor do we bother to fit into the general crowd and conform. No, we are and always shall remain a part of a grand tradition to uphold the past and keep the priceless fashion trends of yesteryears, alive and shimmering.
For all those who love vintage, there are some commandments that must be kept in mind. One can't blame fashion enthusiasts to drive off-course and lose sight of their main purpose, if they are faced with racks full of richly-designed clothes. Here are some essential things to consider when buying vintage clothing.
Is it Real Vintage or Vintage-inspired?
While hunting for genuine vintage, and it really is genuine hunting in the modern sense; you will need to know how to tell apart real vintage from the thrift, previously owned, and the vintage-inspired.
The things that define vintage clothing depends wholly on the era to which it belongs. Therefore, you will need to do a thorough research on the trends that were prevailing in a particular decade.
For instance, flapper dresses distinctly belong to the 1920s' and used materials such as cotton, wool, silk, and rayon to a large extent.
For example, the fashion trends that dominated the 1930s were floral feedsack dresses, daywear knit sweaters with skirts, and of course the sensuous and stunning Bias cut silk dresses.
Therefore, if you wish to restrict yourself to the fashion of 1930s, you will need to keep a look out for these type of designs. On the other hand, if you just wish to mix and match the vintage with the new, you can go ahead and pick styles up from various fashion eras.
Check Labels for Authenticity
While searching for vintage, always look for a union tag near the designer tag or under the collar or neck of the dress, so as to be assured that the dress was indeed made in the U.S. before the 1980s.
Another label that proves authenticity is the one that says "Union Of Needle traders Industrial and Textile Employees", the acronym for UNITE! The reason the labels are authentic markers of vintage clothing is because, by the beginning of 1980s, the union had stopped producing clothes.
If you happen to see an existing brand but with an unfamiliar label, the chances are that you have found a vintage avatar of the popular brand. That being said, check the material used and whether the seams are handsewn or not.
The purpose is to invest your money in a vintage clothing that will last for many more years to come, provided you use it sparingly. You will need to flip the cloth inside-out to check for tears, stains, and frayed inner lining, which would be hard to repair. You will also need to check whether all the buttons and sequins are in order.
Most importantly, you must always check for dirt and odor. While considering buying vintage fur, run your fingers through the fur to see if it sheds. In case of leather, you will need to gently rub the material to check for peeling.
You will need to buy a dress or clothing that is large enough and can be altered to fit you, if the need arises. In many instances, it's the undergarments that make all the difference in making a dress look good or bad.
Therefore, if a dress mandatorily requires a certain type of undergarment which is hard to come by, you may consider moving to the next best option in the store. It is inadvisable to try on vintage clothes as they may contain germs and bedbugs, which are a major health concern.
Secondly, you are not the only one who may have tried-on the dress and that itself should deter anyone from doing the same.
Consider the Cost and Your Budget
Some vintage stores sell their goods at exorbitant rates and in some cases, they have unique outfits that cannot be found anywhere else. Nonetheless, it is always better to try out a few stores and know the general price range for a particular design of vintage clothing.
If the dress is in impeccable condition, has a rare design, or ia designer-clothing, the likelihood of the rates being more is high. Therefore, while looking for vintage clothes, keep your budget in mind and spend accordingly.
Dry cleaning a vintage clothing may not only prove expensive but may also destroy the material. A safer option, whenever possible, is to air dry or use cleaning alcohol to get rid of any mothball odor.