What is vintage clothing?

The term “vintage” is used to describe clothing between 20 and 100 years old...

Written by Kirsten Oostrik
10 Aug 20
1 min read

The term “vintage” is used to describe clothing between 20 and 100 years old...

The term “vintage” is used to describe clothing between 20 and 100 years old and is also clearly representative of the era in which it was produced. The item should reflect the styles and trends associated with that time. The definition of vintage is subject to change, every decade brings new items that fit into this category. All vintage clothing eventually becomes antique (clothing that is 100 years old or more). Vintage clothing can be used clothing, new (from deadstock) or handmade.

Vintage in new or unworn condition is highly sought after. This clothing is often described in technical terms as “handpicked vintage”, this to indicate the difference with vintage that is bought in large batches from clothing sorting companies. Unworn vintage is also described in terms such as “mint condition” and “deadstock”. Deadstock means garments from old stocks. Unworn vintage is increasingly difficult to obtain and is therefore rare, which affects the price. 

Vintage comes in different price ranges: from authentic for collectors to counterfeit for trendsetters with a smaller budget. The collector’s items (exclusive vintage) are available on the internet. Flea markets (for example Waterlooplein in Amsterdam) offer second-hand vintage clothing. These garments do not usually come from authentic brands, but they do contribute to the look you want. When a vintage product is popular, a producer can decide to put it back into production with a few adjustments if necessary. These products are called retro products or revival products.

Flea Market
It is not the first-time vintage is fashionable. In the sixties it was also a trend to combine new clothes with old ones. Flower dresses and blouses with old-fashioned patterns were worn with modern accessories like tights and gogo boots. In 1971, French stylist Yves Saint Laurent launched the vintage style and so-called 'flea market fashion'.

Next week we're going to talk about recognizing vintage clothing, so keep an eye on our website!

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Written by Kirsten Oostrik

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