When you are cleaning out your closet, you may want to think twice before getting rid of some of your old clothes. You can tailor your old clothes in your closet into a fashionable outfit for today. Why? Vintage clothing is back in style!
How do you know what to toss and what to keep? Start by understanding what items in your closet might actually be vintage.
What is Vintage Clothing?
When you hear vintage clothes, you may think of what people were wearing in the 1960s or 1970s. But, did you know that vintage clothing can come from more modern times? Vintage clothing is:
- Apparel that is at least 20 years old
- Apparel that is not more than 100 years old
- Apparel that represents the style and fashion of a particular time period
In fashion, you have vintage and classic clothing. If you want a truly vintage look, it’s important to understand the difference. Classic clothing spans over several periods of time, because it never goes out of style. It is the “little black dress.” Vintage clothing is the apparel that includes the characteristics of the style of the period. This could be anything from the monochrome dresses and costume jewelry of the 1910s to the large shoulder pads of the 1980s.
Era Characteristics of Vintage Clothing
When looking back, specific fashion characteristics defined each time period. The clothing fell out of style and the replacement clothing creates another style. Some of the fashion eras include:
- 1920s: Flapper dresses, Mary Jane shoes and long, beaded necklaces
- 1950s: Full skirts, petticoats, sweaters, saddle shoes and pearl necklaces
- 1960s: The iconic Jackie Kennedy look kicked off the 60s; the second half shifted to loose, flowing tops and bell-bottom pants
- 1980s: Big shoulder pads, blazers and golf shirts
- 1990s: Leggings, oversized sweaters, big flannel shirts and choker necklaces
There is also a difference between vintage clothing and vintage fashion. When you talk about vintage clothing, it is a particular piece of clothing. Vintage fashion describes an entire outfit from the same time period, which includes the characteristics of the period in each article of clothing and accessories.
Vintage clothing might be that embroidered peasant from the 60s that you pair with your favorite pencil skirt and black pumps. Vintage fashion would be pairing it with fringed jeans and tall sandals. Consistency and fashion period accuracy are key with vintage fashion.
These Never Go Out of Style
Some articles of clothing become vintage in almost every era. One such item is blue jeans. In each of the eras you can find jeans, but the characteristics change. In one time period, you may wear:
- Tight-fitting legs with cuffs at the bottom
- Loose fitting legs
- Holes or fraying all over the legs
- A rip or tear across the knee
- A specific color, like black or even bright colors
Shopping for Vintage Clothing
It’s also important to know the difference between vintage and old clothing. Second-hand stores may carry some vintage clothing, but they may not have anyone who is knowledgeable in truly vintage clothing. You may think you bought a vintage piece but in reality it is not.
If you really want to ensure that you buy vintage, look for stores that have vintage in the name. These stores make sure the employees have the expertise in vintage clothing. You may pay a little more for the clothing, but you can rest assure that you have true vintage clothing.
Another aspect of vintage clothing is the sizing. Remember that there was a change in the sizing of clothes over the years. What you wear today is not the same size as 40 or 50 years ago. So before you make your final purchase, make sure the vintage clothing fits you. Try everything on.
The Cause for the Vintage Clothing Comeback
Vintage clothing is making a comeback because of pop culture. Pop culture creates a buzz. The buzz comes from celebrities wearing a particular style of clothing. Celebrities may wear the vintage clothing at awards shows, photo shoots or just out and about. When people see their idols wearing a particular style they too want to follow in their footsteps.
Think back to the 1980s when MC Hammer wore the parachute pants or when the movie Flashdance premiered with the legwarmers and blazers with the big shoulder pads. These idols and movies set the style for the era by making the clothing popular. People became just like their idols by purchasing and wearing the same clothing.
Examples of Vintage Outfits
If you are looking for examples of vintage outfits, check out our website. We can show you vintage clothing like:
- Blue jeans
- Coats and outerwear
You can also shop our collections for a complete outfit.