HOW TO IDENTIFY, BUY AND SELL VINTAGE CLOTHING

Views 111 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this Guide is helpful

Buying everyday clothes can be a daunting but pleasant experience, but finding good Vintage clothes is something which takes a lot of extra skill and knack. You may have to dig deep through the numerous 'vintage' and 'retro' listings on ebay, to find that special something. Unfortunately many people list things as vintage or retro when they are not, the trick is to KNOW YOUR VINTAGE.

Vintage garments require a lot more care, they may need to have special cleaning or alterations done to them before you wear them. So make sure you ask everything you can about a garment before you place that winning bid!

There are debates about what is retro and what is vintage; as a basic guide, here is the most common definition;

ANTIQUE - anything earlier than the 1920's

VINTAGE - generally anything from 1920's to 1960's

RETRO - 1970's to 1990.

 How to tell what era your potential sale/purchase is from;

  1. Peter pan collars - small rounded collars found on jackets, coats and blouses. Were popular in early 1960's.

  2. One shouldered dresses and tops are charactersitic of the 1970's disco era

  3. Bracelet lengt sleeves on jackets and coats are typical of the late 1950's

  4. Uneven and jagged hemlines (what we call 'hankerchief hem' today) were at the height of fashion in the late 1920's evening wear and reappeared in the late 70's

  5. The empire line - dates a garment to the early 1960's.

  6. Halter neck dresses and tops are a distincitve 1950's shape

  7. Sweetheart necklines are generally 1940's

  8. If a dress has it's waistline at the hips it may well be the Roaring 20's.

 

 

  • Do your research to check that it is indeed that era!

  • TOP TIP - The care labels (eg washing instructions) we see inside today's clothing were introduced in the 1970's. so if you have one of these inside your garment, you can be sure that it's 70's or later. Although do be careful, check that it has not been cut out, easy to tell by material remnant.

  • Most clothes made in the 50's were made by the wearers themselves or by dressmakers, so dont be surprised if they dont have a label in them. Generally only the top-designers had clothing labels.

  • Looking at the labels themselves can be a good indication; eg 1930's was art-deco style lettering and the 1960's had bright and playful designs.

  • have a good look at the zipper or other fastenings. Zips were rarely used before 1940's, plastic zipper dates to the 1960's. So any clothing before the 60's is likely to have a metal zipper.

  • make sure you get accurate measurements as a size 12 from the 60's may be a size 8 by today's clothing standards!

 

THE 1920'S - WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • beaded flapper dresses

  • long strings of pearls

  • geometric design knitted sweaters

  • cloche hats

  • mesh evening bags (GLOMESH)

  • emboridred shawls

  • feathers and sequins

  • low waists

  • Designers such as -Lousie Boulanger, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli

THE 1930'S - WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • bias cut gowns

  • chiffon tea dresses

  • belted day dresses

  • twinsets

  • wide legged trousers

  • frilled blouses

  • tailored suits

  • shoulder capes

  • peep toe shoes

  • berets

  • Designers such as - Cristobel Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain, Coco Chanel, Nina Ricci,

THE 1940'S - WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • wide shouldered jackets

  • fitted skirts

  • floral print dresses

  • trench coats

  • hand knitted twin sets

  • platform shoes

  • pillbox hats

  • wide legged trousers

  • narrow belts

  • Designers ; Christian Dior, Jean Desses, Coco Chanel, Irene

THE 1950'S - WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • printed cotton circular skirts

  • fitted suits

  • beaded cardigans

  • poodle skirts

  • halter neck dresses

  • capri pants

  • opera coats

  • cats-eye sunglasses

  • stilettos

  • designers - balenciaga, coco chanel, christian dior, hubert de givenchy

THE 1960'S - WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • a-line shift dresses

  • mini skirts

  • pop-art prints

  • pillbox hats

  • psychedelic prints

  • knee-high botts

  • afghan coats

  • maxi skirts

  • trouser suits

  • metallic knits

  • vinyl dresses

  • crochet dresses

  • Designers - pierre cardin, givenchy, pucci, lily pulitzer, yves saint laurent

THE 1970'S - WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • kaftans

  • flares

  • maxi skirts

  • wrap dresses

  • tupe tops

  • tiered skirts

  • peasant tops

  • maxi coats

  • platforms

  • ponchos

  • disco dresses

  • hot pants

  • bondage trousers

  • playsuits

  • victorian blouses

  • Designers - pierre cardin, CHLOE, Elio Fiorucci, Anne Klein, Calvin Klein, Missoni, Emilio Pucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Vivienne Westwood

THE 1980'S - WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • power suits

  • puffball skirts

  • lycra mini dresses

  • leggings

  • slogan t-shirts

  • pie-frill blouses

  • rah rah skirts

  • bodysuits

  • harem pants

  • novelty print sweaters

  • wide belts

  • logo print bags

  • puffy prom dresses!

  • Designers - Giorgio Armani, Chloe, Escada, Calvin Klein, Christian Lacriox, Ralp Lauren, Gloria Vanderbilt, Vivienne Westwood.

Well that's it from me, I dont claim to be a complete expert, but i do love vintage and read up on as many fashion and vintage clothing books as i can. So i hope this has helped you in your Vintage buying or selling on Ebay!!

Thanks Princess_Vintage

This guide has been compiled in reference to 'Viva Vintage'  by Trudie Bamford, Penguin Books 2003.

Have something to share, create your own Guide... Write a Guide
Explore more Guides