Sunday, September 5, 2010

Vintage Clothing Introduction

Vintage Clothing

Not just because an item is considered old, you can automatically call it “vintage”. Vintage clothing is a generic term for new or secondhand garments originating from a previous era. Just like fine wine, vintage clothes are aged. The more they age, the greater their value becomes.

Generally, clothing made before the 1920s are considered as antique, while clothing made during the 1920s to 1980s may be considered vintage. However, a vintage purist may tell you that anything made within the past 15 years is not vintage, but considered as contemporary. That said, one not only has to check the dates, but also the craftsmanship that goes along with vintage clothing to determine its authenticity.

Vintage clothing was designed to be worn for years, therefore they were made of robust quality and were meant to be passed down from one family member to the next. Garments usually have unusual buttons, hand finishing, hand embroidery, handmade lace, appliqué, beading and other techniques.

Some Tips on How to Identify Vintage Clothing
  • Identify the fabric. Read garment labels, compare the fabric to identified fabrics in your closet, at the fabric store or conduct a burn test. If the fabric is synthetic, most likely the garment was produced after World War II. Nylon, the first synthetic fabric, was available to the public in 1940 in the form of hosiery. General garments made of nylon were not widely available until the 1950s.

  • Examine the zipper as its location has changed throughout the decades. A zipper in the center of the back of the dress indicates the garment dates to the late 1950s or later. A zipper starting under sleeve and ending at the waist or hem indicates the dress was created anywhere from the 1930s to the 1960s. Before the late 1930s, women wore dresses that were fastened or closed with buttons, ties or clasps

  • Observe the cut. Hemlines and sleeves have changed throughout the decades. Hems did not rise above the knee untill the 1960s and armholes were very narrow in the 1950s throughout the 1970s. In ladies' wear, waist measurements of dresses were much smaller in proportion to hip and bust measurements in the 1940s and 1950s as compared to the succeeding and directly preceding decades.
Know Your Vintage Clothing Condition

Undertandably, because vintage clothing is not new, it is important to determine its condition before purchasing. This is especially useful when buying clothes online as it will help you determine if the garment is worth investing.

  • Mint – the item is in pristine condition, as when it was originally made, showing no signs of wear
  • Near Mint – showing the slightest signs of wear
  • Excellent – showing typical signs of wear due to occasional use
  • Very Good – the item is considered wearable but has some surface flaws (staining or soiling)
  • Good – an item is wearable but cannot be returned to excellent condition even if repairs are made
p/s :buying a vintage pieces should be considered an investment as well as a fashion statement.
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