Post by Lola

Whether you’re just getting into the idea of vintage fashion, or you are a long time shopper, it’s only natural that after a while of searching, finding and wearing fabulous clothes from the past that you begin to wonder a little more about its origin. After all, you’re wearing history.

  • While there is debate on timeframes, most ‘vintage’ labeled clothing is at least 25 years old.

Maybe you want to know whether you’re wearing a style as it was intended to be worn. Do you want to know what accessories were typical of the day, or if certain styles were blended? Do you ever wonder how the Kelly bag got its name? We did too.

To help our fellow vintage fashion lovers in their quest for knowledge, Blue Jean Baby created a list of resources. Explore them to find out more about how and when your favorite fashions were worn. Learn tips to put a date on the clothes you love and what to look for in construction.

You might find the ultimate look inspiration in some of these resources as styles were set by famous faces in the past. The movie stars of the silver screen are responsible for many iconic looks. By the way, the Kelly bag was named after none other than actress turned Princess Grace Kelly.

  • The Kelly bag was originally a Hermes design favored by Grace Kelly. She used the bag to cover her pregnant belly from photographs.


If you’re learning about vintage fashion and want to see how items were intended to be worn, movies are one of your best resources. Period pieces can show you where wealthy Victorian ladies placed their brooches, shoe buckles and even what type of socks they wore with those boots.

If the 50’s are more your style, Guys and Dolls is a fantastic musical to see those styles in action. From well dressed ladies with collar stays and belted sweaters to the full suit and hat ensemble on the men, every bit of this film is over the top in fashion.

No list of great films for vintage fashion would be complete without Funny Face. With a plot centered around the fashion world, it features incredible clothes, models and the running of a fashion magazine. If you’re looking for full and glamorous costuming, this is the movie to watch.

  • Most movies with a set time frame have an entire team working to ensure costume details are accurate.

Vintage Fashion Guild

Seeing fashion worn is great, but if you’re looking for a bit more education, you can lose yourself for hours at the Vintage Fashion Guild. This site is a veritable encyclopedia of fashion and covers everything from materials, styles, designers and labels. It’s also equipped with plenty of photo examples.

  • The Vintage Fashion Guild was founded by a group of vintage sellers in 2002.

Union Labels

Vintage Life has created an easy-to understand post regarding how to read and interpret vintage labels. While most people may not know this, everything about a union label can give you clues on the age of the clothing it’s attached to. Even the colors of the label are important.

With time and practice, you’ll be deciphering labels at a glance. This is really helpful as when you’re shopping you may not have time to check every construction detail. Being able to pin a date range at a glance can be a huge benefit when you’re picking through vintage.

  • Union Labels began in January of 1959.

Vintage Patterns Wiki

This, true to Wiki platform, is a collaborative effort, but Vintage Pattern Wiki is a great resource to learn about construction of vintage clothes and what details were common when. It’s good to know what collar styles or bodice darting was used during which period. Hem and sleeve length were also indicators of era.

Learning, from patterns, the construction of a vintage clothing item can help you spot reproductions and fakes. An example of this would be the restrictions WWII put on clothing. Coats weren’t allowed to have more than two pockets, Dolman sleeves or a swing due to the L-85.

Shopping For Vintage, The Definitive Guide to Vintage Fashion

This book is from 2008 so the shop list in the back may not be up-to-date in your area, it’s still full of tips that can keep you from buying a reproduction or inspired when you want the real thing. You can find it on Amazon.

As more people grow to appreciate vintage fashion, more communities and resources for learning appear. Vintage clothing is becoming appreciated as history as well as self expression. At Blue Jean Baby, we’ve always had a special affection for vintage clothing and couldn’t be happier to see it becoming more popular.

Stop by often to browse our store to find curated vintage, or read our blog for more fashion tips.