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Where To Buy Vintage Clothing

Updated on December 1, 2015
Princessa profile image

When it comes to beauty products Wendy enjoys trying natural cruelty-Free Cosmetics and sharing the results with her readers.

Victorian-Style Clothing

Portrait photograph of a young girl wearing Victorian-style clothing during an appearance at the Whitby Gothic Weekend festival.
Portrait photograph of a young girl wearing Victorian-style clothing during an appearance at the Whitby Gothic Weekend festival. | Source

Vintage

Vintage is a style for fashion-nostalgic people. It represents a time period, a cultural expression of an era through fashion. Generally speaking, items from the early 1920s up to the mid-1970's classify as vintage.

Best Places To Buy Vintage Clothing

Markets

I would say that the best places to buy vintage clothes are markets. Not only you will find the best prices here, but you can bargain with the seller and get extra information of where the item came from and how to take care of it. I also love the ambiance in markets, everything looks different and more romantic in a street market. You see the clothes with natural light and you can smell them, touch them, get a general feeling of the 'piece of time' you are buying. In a shop we are sometimes deceived by artificial lighting that makes clothes look a different shade. The same applies to photograpied clothes for sale online, colours are never the same when you see the item at home.

Portobello market in London is a fantastic place to find vintage clothes, antiques and collectables. Always a delight to visit.

Portobello Market

Christie's and William Doyle Hold Regular Auctions of Vintage Clothing

Auctions

Auction houses such as Christie's and William Doyle hold regular auctions of vintage clothing and other vintage articles. Even if you can't get to these auctions or afford the prices, browsing their online catalogues or buying the catalogue is an informative treat for any vintage collector. This, however, is an expensive way of buying vintage clothes, mainly reserved for the connoisseurs and the wealthy.

For the less wealthy, online auctions such as ebay are a better bet. But you need to know your stuff if you do not want to be ripped off.

1950s Vintage Slip

1950s vintage slip
1950s vintage slip | Source

Buy Vintage Clothes On The Internet

There are some great sites for buying vintage clothing online. The problem is that it can be very time consuming finding real vintage as lots of people sell past seasons clothes under the vintage name, just because the clothes are old!

Before buying and item online, you should make sure you know in what condition it is. Remember, the older the item, the more likely it will show the signs of age.

The specialized sites use a naming system that will help you assess what you can expect when buying vintage clothing. Here is a list of terms taken from the fashion-era website to describe the condition of clothes.

  • Mint: It means, the item is perfect like when it was originally made and shows no sign of wear (mint condition is rare for vintage clothing).
  • Near mint: An item shows only the slightest signs of wear.
  • Excellent: An item shows typical signs of wear due to occasional use.
  • Very good: An item is considered wearable but has some surface flaws (staining or soiling, for example).
  • Good: An item is wearable but cannot be returned to excellent condition even if repairs are made.

1930s Gown

1930's Fully Beaded Black Rayon Gown Clear beads on black rayon crepe.  The gown measures: 33/34" bust, up to 25" waist, up to 34" hips, 55" long from shoulder to hem, 58" long in back.  The price:  $ 1,465. from antiquedress.com
1930's Fully Beaded Black Rayon Gown Clear beads on black rayon crepe. The gown measures: 33/34" bust, up to 25" waist, up to 34" hips, 55" long from shoulder to hem, 58" long in back. The price: $ 1,465. from antiquedress.com

Some Great Sites For Vintage Clothes

vintagetrends.com

Here you will find a very good selection for men, women and children at affordable prices. Manly items dating back from the 1940s to the 1980s although you might find the odd 1920s item.

A good size finder section based on measurements. And you can find details such as material, year and condition for all the items for sale. The sizes are given on inches so you can measure yourself and get and idea of how it will fit.

antiquedress.com

Here you will find an amazing collection dating back to the 1750s. Yes, it is not a mistake, you can find accessories and clothing items as far back as 1700 on this site. It gathers museum's pieces, memorabilia, clothes worn by Hollywood stars and other personalities. Most items are very expensive, but there is an under $150 section. Even if you are not interested in buying but you are interested in fashion through history, this site is well worth a look.

ebay

This is a good site if you know what type of vintage clothing you want. Go to the Clothing, Shoes & Accessories portal, click Vintage, and start searching for item listings on eBay. If you want quality items, you can use the advanced search and enter the name of your favourite designer, or a time period to have a narrower selection of relevant items.

fashion-era.com

This site does not sale clothes but it is an excellent resource for research. But, if you are interested in vintage fashion, here you will find all the information you need on the subject. From silhouettes, materials, colours, everything classified by decade and put within a historical context.

vintageslips.com

This is a family owned business specialising on vintage lingerie such as slips, panties, gowns, peignoirs, corsets, bras and girdles. A place to find the finest labels including Van Raalte, Vanity Fair, Gotham Gold Stripe, Lorraine, Gossard Artemis, Adonna, Maidenform, Lovable, (just to name a few). Despite being vintage, most of the items ranging from the 1930s to the 1960s have never been worn and are in excellent condition.

Amazon


Fashions in corsets and lingerie, from: 1900s to 1950s

Tips For Finding Vintage Clothes Online

Keywords: Rather than just looking for vintage when browsing online, do enter a designer name. Sellers who can tag their items as a Dior dress or Hermes' scarf are more likely to have a good selection of vintage clothing. Simply describing clothes as vintage does not tell anything and you might end up buying just an old 1994 prom. Dress!

Best buys online: Due to size differences it is better to buy accessories such as scarves, bags, belts, and hair ornaments on line rather than fitted dresses.

Vintage 1950s bloomers

Pink Bloomers in cotton from the 1950s, price $26 from vintagetrends.com
Pink Bloomers in cotton from the 1950s, price $26 from vintagetrends.com

Why Buy Vintage Clothes?

  • Vintage means value. Collectible items are an investment as they will continue to grow in value.
  • Uniqueness. An advantage of wearing vintage dresses is that you don't have to be afraid that you will see it on your colleagues too, because they are quite rare.
  • Fashionable. Remember that fashion goes in cycles, this year fashion is all about the 70s, so if you have already been building a 70s wardrobe you are ahead of the pack, and if you have been wearing it already, you can even say that you are a trend-setter.
  • Express your personality. Wearing vintage is a fashion statement. You impose your style, your personality is affirmed through your wardrobe rather than following the high street trends for the season.
  • Bargain prices. You can get great, unique clothing, often at bargain-basement prices if you are patient enough.
  • High Quality. Clothes made in the 50's are of a higher quality overall. The fabrics are superb.
  • Fun To Shop. Vintage can be extremely fun to shop; unlike high street fashion -which looks almost the same on every shop you go. If you rummage through vintage shops or markets you will always be surprised with what you find.


60's Vintage wedding dress

wedding dress in Chiffon, with a beautiful elegant design. Train is 60 inches long, has a pinprick hole on front, if sewn would definitely not be seen. to fit a bust 30, waist 22.  Price $275 from vintagetrends.com
wedding dress in Chiffon, with a beautiful elegant design. Train is 60 inches long, has a pinprick hole on front, if sewn would definitely not be seen. to fit a bust 30, waist 22. Price $275 from vintagetrends.com

How To Shop Vintage

How to Wear Vintage Clothes

The best advice here is to mix and match. If you want to look modern wear one item at a time rather than an "all vintage" style. I mean, wear a vintage dress with modern shoes or a vintage handbag with a modern dress. Always match vintage pieces with modern purchases to create a unique and fresh look.

Celebrities Wearing Vintage Style Skirts

Taylor Swift sweet floral skirt and cute ballerinas.  Dita Von Teese looking great on a floral skirt and flat shoes.
Taylor Swift sweet floral skirt and cute ballerinas. Dita Von Teese looking great on a floral skirt and flat shoes.

Comments

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    • flode profile image

      flode 

      7 years ago from Paris

      Just my thing... First Paris, now Vintage clothing! I love your hubs.

    • santiana profile image

      santiana 

      7 years ago

      I love vintage clothes. Great hub.

    • mysisters profile image

      mysisters 

      7 years ago

      Great Hub. Vintage is so chic. A great place to look online is www.etsy.com

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Beautiful clothes and some people dodn't know that they are vintage!

    • profile image

      KlassicLine 

      7 years ago

      My mother has one of the largest and best Vintage Clothing collections in the United States. She has collected for over 35 years and has a store in Wichita, KS as well as online called Klassic Line Vintage Clothing and Costume. Her collections have been in many movies and Hollywood stars love to shop with her! She is very well known for the details given in sizes, material type, manufactured dates and purpose of the unique styles and history behind clothing. Her collection of books on vintage clothing and clothing history is very extensive. You can trust her to give you excellent customer service and will answer questions in detail about her collection. Most of her extremely valuable items are not on her website and keeps them stored nicely in her store in Wichita, KS for those collectors and high profile clients that visit her personally to shop for one of a kind couture and designer items. She does have wonderful items at Klassic Line Vintage Clothing and Costume and her site is being updated daily. I'm building a new site for her that will be for very expensive items in her collection that are above and beyond what most all online stores have.

    • messerc123 profile image

      messerc123 

      8 years ago from El Paso, Texas

      I love how fashion revisits the past. Loved your hub!!!

    • profile image

      Beaut Vintage 

      8 years ago

      WOW, great hub on Vintage Clothing.

      I love how you went into details about where to buy.

      I remember when I started off it was really difficult to find little gems.

      Anyway, I Love this!!!!

      Beaut xxxx

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      Nakojua: London's street markets are a great place to find vintage clothing. On muy last trip there I also discovered a little shop in Angel with the most amazing vintage clothes at very affordable prices.

      double_frick: Smetimes it might seem expensive, but once you consider the quality of what you are buying you realize that you are paying a good price.

      TEF4ever: Thanks for commenting!

    • profile image

      TEF4ever 

      8 years ago

      Great work...it's not everyday you read an article with detailed information about vintage...love it

    • double_frick profile image

      double_frick 

      8 years ago

      i'm so glad i found your hub!

      i always want to find vintage clothes online but they always seem so expensive, vintagetrends is perfect!

    • profile image

      Nakojua 

      8 years ago

      I Love this Article. I always wear vintage clothes,they're my favorite! I'm trying to find a nice white vintage dress that would fit my petite self, any ideas??

    • profile image

      Julie C 

      9 years ago

      Great article - long live vintage!

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      Hi Cailin, it was a pleasure to write this, I find vintage so chic :)

    • Cailin Gallagher profile image

      Cailin Gallagher 

      9 years ago from New England

      Beautifully researched Princessa!

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to comment. Please Feel free to share your own favorite vintage addresses.

    • chillingbreeze profile image

      chillingbreeze 

      9 years ago from India

      Hey! You worked really nice in collecting this info at one hub :) Good one..

      Cheers!

      Sun

    • megamass profile image

      megamass 

      9 years ago from Portugal

    • firefly07 profile image

      firefly07 

      10 years ago from UK

      thank you Princessa - some great info here for us vintage clothes lovers

    • Sophie Esperana profile image

      Sophie Esperana 

      10 years ago from Los Angeles

      Wow, I really enjoyed reading this especially now when I'm so into vintage dresses! Thanks for sharing this information. You have no idea how much I appreciate this :D

    • profile image

      myvintageconnection.com 

      10 years ago

      Enjoyed the blog and the photos!

    • profile image

      Lauren Romano 

      10 years ago

      I adore vintage clothes. Great hub!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Nice HUB.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Isabella Snow profile image

      Isabella Snow 

      10 years ago

      Beautiful! I love vintage clothes, thanks for this!

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      10 years ago from London UK

      Thanks,

      The image of Alysa wearing those bloomers will forever be impregnated in my mind ! lol

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      10 years ago from France

      Happy you enjoyed it and found it useful highwaystar :-)

      Compu-smart, is not too late yet. You can start collecting your best buys and keep them for another 40 years, when you might be able to sell them for a really good price.

      Ps. I liked the bloomers too. I have seen Alysa Milano wearing bloomers for going out, as if they were shorts! they looked fantastic.

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      10 years ago from London UK

      This hub has taught me thati should not have thrown all my old clothes away and hope you who are reading this hub don't either as fashions always come and go!

      ps i love the bloomers!:P

    • profile image

      highwaystar 

      10 years ago

      Hi Princessa, excellent info...and thanks for the great resources too, will share this and recommend your hub to others.

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