Vintage Women's Fashion
Vintage Clothes with Style and History
There's a sense of elegance, sophistication and femininity about vintage clothes.
Some people buy vintage clothes for its investment potential, but for many it is the thrill of finding a unique and rare article of clothing at a garage or estate sale, vintage clothing shop or auction.
Bargains can still be found but the searching has become competitive because people know there is money to be made in vintage clothing. Still, stories abound amongst vintage clothing collectors, of finding gems at estate and garage sales, often for prices as low as $2 each.
The growing popularity of collecting and wearing vintage clothing has made those $2 deals harder to come by, as shoppers become more knowledgeable about top designers and what defines a classic piece of clothing.
The competition at garage and estate sales has become so intense that vintage clothing shop owners won't share information with shoppers because their shoppers have become their competition - people know there is money to be made in vintage clothing.
The business of vintage clothing has changed considerably since the late 1960's, when small shops catered to young buyers looking for alternative fashion. In the 1980s most people who wore vintage clothes bought them at thrift shops, which often received donations from estates.
The treasures and the ordinary from those donations all went to the thrift shops' racks. Now, many thrift shops have fashion specialists who go through the donations and take out the best pieces to be sold at a premium to vintage clothing shops.
It is difficult finding a genuine bargain in a thrift shop or sale without having a sense of fashion history. It helps to have references such as signature styles of designers to judge the garment by. Without that knowledge a shopper may be better off going to a retailer that has already edited down the stock.
Not all old garments qualify as vintage clothing worth buying. The term 'vintage clothing' to a serious collector applies to clothing that symbolizes an entire decade or era, like Audrey Hepburn's classic sheath dress by Givenchy from the 1950's, or the Chanel look championed by Jackie Kennedy in the 60's.
Vintage clothing is revered and has become very desirable. The future of collectible articles of clothing will still be from top designers - like Dior, Valentino, Balenciaga, Halston and Yves Saint Laurent.
Fashion from the 1950s and 1960s was concerned with silhouette, the shape and the look. Fashion designers from those eras were conscious of the female body and of construction of the garment - the cut of a jacket's shoulder or sleeve.
Auction houses, both online and in the real world, which hold auctions catering to couture, decorative arts, textiles and accessories (which includes vintage clothing) are reporting huge increases in interest from collectors and buyers after unique clothing.
Vintage Hollywood movies have always been responsible for creating interest in fashion. The 2001 Academy Awards ceremonies created a new interest in vintage couture when Julia Roberts arrived in a vintage Valentino dress, and Renée Zellweger wore a canary yellow chiffon number, circa 1960, by Jean Desses.
A stylist had bought the Desses dress at auction for a four figures sum, and vintage couture can cost well into the five figures. Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig, a Los Angeles stylist, found a 1970s one-shouldered orange Valentino dress that Jennifer Garner wore to the 2004 Academy Awards.
High-end vintage evokes an idea of old Hollywood because the screen idols and fashion icons of the era were wearing those same designer gowns. These gowns are often on loan from the archives of designers or bought from high-end vintage boutiques.
Vintage clothing doesn't have to be expensive. Beautiful evening gowns bought for under $100 can look as if they cost several thousand dollars - but they don't have a designer label in them. These garments can be great value - you'll be the only one at a party wearing it, and, if you spill a glass of wine on it, you won't be heartbroken.
Clothing & Accessories from the '40s, '50s, & '60s by Jan Lindenberger
Flared whisker jeans
BLUE FLARE JEAN
Secondhand Chic: The Secrets of Finding Fantastic Bargains at Thrift Shops, Consignment
Shops, Vintage Shops and More by Christa Weil
Vintage Style : Buying and Wearing Classic Vintage Clothes by Tiffany Dubin
The Official Price Guide to Vintage Fashion and Fabrics by Pamela Smith
Retro Chic: A Guide to Fabulous Vintage and Designer Resale Shopping in North America
and Online by Diana Eden, Gloria Lintermans
Vintage Style 1920-1960 (Schiffer Book for Collectors) by Desire Smith; Hardcover
Combs and Hair Accessories (Antique Pocket Guides)
by Norma Hague
These books now available from Amazon:
Bakelite Jewelry Book
by Corinne Davidov, Ginny Dawes
Bangle: Price & Identification Guide
by Karima Parry
by Matthew Burkholz
Appraisal By Mail
More Amazon Jewelry books:
Collectible Costume Jewelry: Identification & Valuesby Cherri Simonds; Hardcover