Vintage has been all the rage since 2010s. In the US only, there are over 30,000 vintage and thrift stores. The numbers are growing every day. Yet why shop vintage? Why is it so popular and why do many people choose the hassle of shopping secondhand rather than going to readily available retail stores, such as Zara, H&M or Urban outfitters?
The term “vintage clothing” usually refers to anything from the 1920′s up to 20 years before the present date. The further away the era the more sought after and difficult it is to get hold of and is usually more expensive. Don’t let this deter you though, you can still find some great pieces from the early decades for the same price as vintage clothing from later eras.
There are many fashion, environmental and ethical reasons why aficionados enjoy, and will continue to enjoy, vintage clothing. But here are just a few.
Don’t give yourself a headache trying to keep up with all the latest trends on the catwalk. As soon as you get your head around it, something new will be in. Moreover, haute couture brings variations of the same styles and models every 10-20 years so there’s always a good chance that if you opt for vintage, in a few years the same style will be everywhere. That’s why vintage is the best choice for clothing.
Vintage not only invokes a sense of nostalgia but each item has a unique and fascinating history.
Vintage clothing can also be a great talking point especially if you know the story behind a garment. The beauty of wearing vintage clothing is that it hasn’t just come straight out of a factory onto the shelves of a department store, it has lived through previous owners, been tested by time and can even be sentimental. Vintage clothing holds memories for each owner just like a piece of music can, and can be passed on through generations collecting more stories with every owner.
All in all, wearing vintage clothing gives you a sense of exclusiveness and individuality as well as keeping alive the era you are styling from.
By buying and collecting vintage we are recycling clothing and reducing landfill. Any recycling is good for the environment but especially so when bucking the trend of cheap throwaway clothes and reducing the need for manmade fibres.
Cost. It is far cheaper to buy a vintage garment than its modern day equivalent. Yes, in some cases demand and the intrusion of big business have inflated prices, but there are still great bargains to be found in retro clothing in local auctions, charity outlets, and on reputable websites such as Brag Vintage.
Nowadays most clothing is produced on a massive scale in warehouses and factories often based in developing countries where labor is a lot cheaper. The capitalist drive for higher profits, higher margins and faster production times is often to the detriment of quality. You’ve only got to look at the latest big name high street offerings to see that the fabrics used are often thin, cheap quality and the seamstress work sloppy.
Vintage clothing is typically handmade to a much higher standard than today’s machine made mass produced garments. It’s already a pretty good reason why shop vintage.
A high proportion of vintage clothing was hand produced in the UK where quality was key. Standards were high and suppliers took pride in each individual piece. For the same price as a badly made t shirt in your favorite high street shop you can buy a high-quality pair of Levi’s shorts from a vintage store.
Over the past years, there has been a vintage revolution across the world and you can see why. The attraction of vintage clothing, when pitched against inferior high street alternatives, is clear. It is evident why people are rejecting high street brands in favor of vintage pieces; why waste your time repeat-buying shoes that break every few months when you can invest in a high-quality pair for the same price? On top of that, you get free reign with fashion history! A spectrum of styles is at your fingertips, you get the originals from their time in history, not the interpretations and copies that have been produced this year.
If you’ve never been to a vintage store before (where have you been?!) then get down to your local store and check it out for yourself.
There is no need to follow the crowd. Each piece appeals to our own sense of individuality. Vintage clothing and accessories will enrich any high street ensemble. With decades of design to draw on, unlimited personalized outfits can be easily created. Mixing vintage with modern gives a new lease of life to your wardrobe and allows you to wear a little bit of vintage on a daily basis.
It is much easier to go retro now. The internet makes it possible to find and buy vintage fashions from all around the world. The local charity shop or specialist back street boutique are no longer the only port of call when looking for ‘new’ items.
Use Vintagestic to find all the best vintage stores and antiquities near you. It’s the most-updated thrift and vintage store finder where you can add reviews and shop from the best shops.
But don’t forget the most basic reason of all. People simply enjoy good quality clothes. With vintage clothing, unique designs are enhanced by high-quality materials and hand stitching. It’s the perfect storm for any fashionista and one which ensures vintage is here to stay rather than being merely a passing fad.
Fashion trends generally come in circles of around 20 years, sometimes more, sometimes less. Some people like to move with these trends within their vintage clothing while others prefer to stick to one or two of their favorite eras. While shopping for vintage clothing don’t forget to look in a wide range of stores.
But don’t be worried! There are some great shops and online stores that cater for every decade so you won’t have to make do with limited options. Vintage clothing can stay with you a long time and you don’t have to just keep it for special occasions.
Trends come and go and fashions change. Design is constantly evolving and tastes alter. Last season’s must-haves are this year’s charity shop donation. Yet the interest in, and the desire to own, vintage clothing shows no signs of waning. Vintage is in. Retro is cool. But is this just a passing phase? A fad fuelled by media and high street designers suddenly ‘discovering’ retro chic? Or is it something more? A movement that is here to stay; a scene that has something substantially more than simply fashion at its heart?
A fad or something more enduring?
A quick peek in the dictionary defines a fad as an ‘intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived; a craze.’ The operative word here is ‘craze’. A craze is shallow. A passing fancy. It’s here today and gone tomorrow. By way of contrast, vintage clothing has established itself as a thriving sub-culture embracing an ethos that combines an appreciation of design and good quality clothing with environmental awareness. It’s here to stay.
Collecting and wearing vintage clothing is a lifestyle choice
However, whilst dismissing the craze argument, it must be admitted that vintage-inspired clothing lines have indeed become something of a fad in high street retail shops and with certain designers. A trend that will surely turn full circle in time. But genuine vintage clothing will remain highly sought after by a growing number of enthusiasts who embrace the individuality, thrift, and quality found in authentic retro clothing.
You’re reading this blog so the chances are you are very comfortable with buying online. Some surveys, however, claim that there are still a significant number of internet users who are reluctant to order clothes from a website. Not being able to try on the garment is often stated to be the main obstacle to completing a purchase. Even with the brands you know well there can be a significant chance of disappointment, let alone vintage brand you’re not acquainted with.
Although not being able to physically touch and try on clothes is a drawback that applies to online shopping in general, there are plenty of advantages to buying your vintage clothing online that far outweigh those supposed negatives. Here are some of them.
Shopping in the high street for vintage clothes will restrict you to local charity shops and the odd boutique – if you’re lucky. But, fire up your PC, and you literally open up a whole world of possibilities. You have access to hundreds of specialist retailers with an enormous choice covering every style and design imaginable and from the very best and hardest to find labels.
This access to sellers is of course another massive reason why you should shop online. Specialist websites save you countless hours of searching through clothing racks or fruitless traveling to shops in a vain attempt to find something new to add to your collection.
As well as being able to source and offer a much larger range than high street charity stores, some vintage retailers have a rigorous quality control policy. It is, of course, quite understandable why charity shops or car boot sellers just want to sell a garment without worrying too much about its condition. Online businesses, however, know it is in their best interests to make sure their offerings and service are top quality given the plethora of review websites and social media outlets.
But this is secondary to the fact that vintage clothing stores run by people who live and breathe retro clothing. They are passionate about the genre and are hugely motivated to provide their customers with the kind of high-quality original clothing they themselves would love to own. A great attitude which, with the best will in the world, you are not going to find in the local charity shop.
Convenience is, of course, probably why most of us shop online. As we’ve already pointed out the internet opens the virtual doors of shops around the world. You can shop at home, on the bus to work, or even when you are at work (just don’t let the boss see). Shop from a PC, tablet, or your phone. It doesn’t get much easier. But it just keeps on getting better. Once the checkout is completed you can just sit back and wait for your friendly postman to deliver your purchase to you. And with some sites offering free postage why on earth wouldn’t you shop online?
Something we haven’t touched on yet is price. Shopping online is invariably cheaper in any market as online sellers don’t have the overheads which brick and mortar merchants face. Although bargains can definitely be had in charity shops, finding quality, retro garments is very difficult. Shopping online makes not only makes finding clothes easier the prices are so much lower than for comparable garments offline.
It is hard for many of us to get around the fear of buying clothes that don’t fit and then having to go through the hassle of returning them. But you can massively reduce the chance of getting the wrong size by following a few simple guidelines.
Reputable retro clothing websites will have a page containing a comprehensive sizing guide. As an example, you can see the Brag Vintage Sizing Guide here. They explain exactly how the site measures their clothes. Remember with vintage clothing, sizing labels are often absent, so all websites will (or should) measure their clothes. These measurements are then noted alongside the garment on the website.
Brag Vintage will not only note the size, for example, medium, but they also include detailed measurements such as pit-to-pit and base of the collar to hem, etc. Purchasing your retro clothing only from websites that display this kind of information will help you find the perfect fit every time. A useful tip to speed up your online shopping experience is to make a note of all your measurements so you can quickly see if a particular garment will be suitable for you.
All in all, with the fantastic amount of choice available why wouldn’t anyone take advantage of the internet to buy their vintage clothing?
If you’ve read until the summary, we truly hope that you’ve gained some knowledge regarding shopping for secondhand vintage items, both offline and online. While online offers a lot of opportunities, you can always find pretty precious gems in your local vintage shops.
Browse all thrift and vintage stores near you with Vintagestic, the ultimate antique, thrift and vintage store finder. Our database contains all thrift stores in New York City, the best vintage furniture stores in NYC and much more!
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