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In the last few years, society has become increasingly aware of the damage of fast fashion on pollution and climate change. The fact that half a million tonnes of microplastics derive from discarded fast fashion pieces and 20% of global wastewater comes from textile dyeing leaves no room for misunderstanding. We cannot continue consuming newly produced clothes at our current rate if the future of fashion is to be sustainable.
Whilst vintage is more ethical than fast fashion, there is a difference between true vintage and second-hand clothes. Vintage items are expensive luxuries and works of art in their own right, reflecting the trends popular at the time they were made. For something to be considered vintage, it has to be between 20-100 years old. Whilst some second-hand clothes have vintage elements, true vintage pieces are one-of-a-kind, unique articles of clothing, beautifully created by high-end designers.
Vintage clothes are a great eco-friendly alternative to fast fashion. Other than the fact people enjoy feeding their shopping habits without the guilt when they buy retro clothing, vintage clothes were made to last. In recent years it has become accepted that fast fashion brands will create low-quality garments that will only last a few wears. This is a foreign concept in the world of vintage, as retro clothes were intended to last the buyer years. In addition to their environmental and stylish benefits, they are also often a good financial investment, as the price of vintage clothes usually increases as time goes on.
What’s the catch? Vintage clothes are stylish, eco-friendly goldmines, waiting to be discovered. But with so much out there - how do you know what’s worth spending your money on?
Deciding to delve into the world of vintage is a bold move. There is so much to explore and it requires more patience and research than regular shopping - but this is all part of the fun. Particularly when you buy vintage online, it’s hard to know the quality of the piece and how much it is actually worth. The following tips will make it easier than ever to become a seasoned vintage shopper.
BUY FROM PLACES YOU TRUST
Source websites and online stores that stock quality items for reasonable prices. See our list below of our favourite online vintage stores, or read reviews of online shops to ensure you are buying from a trusted source.
KNOW YOUR MEASURES
Depending on the time period in which the garment was made, sizing may vary. Knowing your measurements is crucial to make sure the item will cater to your desired fit. To avoid disappointment, get yourself a tape measure and work out your sizings so you can check if items will actually fit you.
SHOP WITH A VISION
It is imperative to have a goal in mind when shopping for vintage clothes. The plethora of items takes time to sort through and if you don’t know what you’re looking for you could be scrolling for hours.
FIND YOUR NICHE
Consider what it is about vintage clothes that you are most intrigued by. Is it the fabric, the era, or the silhouette? Once you know what you find enthralling about vintage, it will make your search for the perfect hidden gem even easier. Instead of being swayed by brand names and designers, you’ll be drawn to stylish pieces for the right reasons.
Our society celebrates convenience, and whilst vintage shopping may take longer than logging on to ASOS, that’s all part of the experience. Vintage clothes are a work of art, representative of the popular trends and styles at the time. If you appreciate vintage clothes for what they really are you will find yourself enjoying the browsing process.
In need of vintage inspiration? Peruse these jaw-dropping looks from celebrities who never miss the mark when it comes to vintage clothing.
Aniston’s most famous role, Rachel Green from Friends, has somewhat become a vintage icon herself. It is no surprise to see Aniston wearing this dazzling Dior dress, designed by John Galliano for the 1999 spring/summer collection. The detailing on the bottom of the skirt is stunning, complementing the timeless style of this beautiful gown.
Zendaya is a well-known vintage lover. Her Instagram is dotted with gorgeous red carpet looks featuring beautiful vintage pieces. One of her best has to be her look for the Euphoria premiere, in which she wore this beautiful Valentino strapless dress. Designed for the 1992 spring/summer collection, 30 years later this dress is still breathtaking.
In 2019 Aboah graced the red carpet with this unique green sequinned dress, first seen in the Gucci fashion show in 2004, designed by Tom Ford. The bold green colour and texture of the sequins demand attention, as one can’t help but marvel and this stunning vintage piece.
Alexa Chung has always loved a casual vintage look, as her style continues to appear effortless and classic. She wore this gorgeous number (designed by Eveliina Vintage) twice on her Instagram, demonstrating it’s wearable nature - perfect for summer.
Vintage shopping has made it online. It’s never been easier to find a stunning vintage steal in the comfort of your own home. There are a variety of apps and websites catering to different price ranges so everyone can enjoy the beauty of vintage clothes.
Archive Six is a rare vintage archive brand, founded by Thidarat Kaha. Driven by community and a determination to make the fashion landscape sustainable, Archive Six supplies unique and quality vintage pieces.
A one-stop shop for high-quality vintage clothes. threadUP sells good quality vintage pieces for up to 90% off.
Similar to threadUP, Vestiaire Collective provides the best of pre-owned fashion at a highly discounted price. They always deliver quality and beautiful items.
Discover more online vintage in our guide to affordable vintage and second-hand online stores.
Vintage clothing is the gift that keeps on giving, with thousands of unique pieces bringing joy to multiple owners and helping the environment. Explore the beauty of vintage shopping online, today.
Florenne Earle Ledger