What is Vintage Fashion?
Vintage describes clothing between 20 and 100 years old that reflect the trends and styles of the era in which they were produced. The trend for buying vintage clothing first started in the 1960’s. Before then people mainly handed down or bought items of clothing from each other for economical reasons or issues with supply.
But the mass production of fashion has changed so much in the last 30 years, making women more aware of sustainability. Now vintage fashion is driven by women wanting sustainability in their purchases and a desire to be different and original in the style of clothes they wear. What better way to stand out than to wear clothes few others are likely to own?
Handmade or Manufactured Vintage Clothes?
During WW2, many women learnt how to sew and would either alter their own clothes in order to stay up to date with fashion trends or they would make their own outfits. This skill continued into the 50’s and 60’s and that’s why you see a lot of vintage clothes from these years that are handmade, so have no care or branded labels sewn into them.
The 60’s saw the birth of the small boutiques, which was mainly influenced by Carnaby Street in London. With that came the real growth of women’s clothing labels, so you will find that some vintage clothes have branded labels sewn into them.
Many of the branded labels also carried the origin of where they were made and the majority were manufactured in the UK, as importing manufactured clothes from abroad was still relatively new and no cheaper.
The high street as a concept began around 1970’s, with the emphasis on the ever changing fashion trends and the desire to buy more affordable copycat haute couture and designer labels. It’s amazing to think that brands like French Connection, Jigsaw, Monsoon, Phase Eight and Top Shop all started in the 70’s.
The Care Labels
You won’t find many vintage clothes from the 50’s and 60’s with care labels in them. In the UK care labelling has never been mandatory, although modern garments have them, the general use of them wasn’t introduced until the 1970’s.
What are the key looks of the decades?
New colours, fresh silhouettes and different style options for different personalities. Key designs for the decade included dresses with pinched in waists, pencil skirts, gingham and polka dot garments and cropped sweaters or cardigans. The dominant shapes for the decade was a feminine, overstated hourglass silhouette. Denim was rarely worn by women in the 50’s.
There were three main trends in the 60’s. The elegant lady-like look, which came out of the 1950’s. The fun, youthful designs popularised by the swinging youth scene of London, and the interest in Eastern hippie styles of the late 1960s. Along with these diverse styles, there came a shift in the way that women shopped and it was the beginning of mass produced garments.
It is no surprise that the styles and fashions of the 70’s have been the most revisited decade in copycat fashion. The era’s mirrored uniqueness and freedom of expression and the styles were influenced by the hippies, glam rock and bohemian style. Denim became popular and the bell bottom flares were probably the most remembered item of clothing in 1970’s. Double denim also made its first appearance as a fashion trend with denim jackets becoming standard hippie wear.
Big shoulders, bright colours and bold statement of styles. The dresses of the 1980s were dresses to be seen in and women went one step further when dressing for a special event. This decade also saw more women going out to work and the new power look was created with knee-length skirts, wide-legged slacks, a matching blazer, and a blouse in a different colour. Designer jeans became a status symbol and were often teamed up with a designer tailored jacket.
The main look was the slip dress in a slinky bias cut and finished off with kitten heels. The checked skirts saw a return in high-fashion circles and tartans were key for Autumn. Velvet was also a key fabric of the ‘90s but not just worn in the evening, crushed velvet was teamed up with colourful blazers for the day. Denim in this decade was still important and the skinny jeans started to become popular and worn with designer jackets or just a plain oversized cotton or linen shirt.
Why Buy Vintage?
Wearing vintage clothes shows off your individuality and uniqueness. It preserves sustainability and helps the styles and statements of each decade live on through the 21st century!
Clothes designers often copy styles from previous decades, so be your own fashion designer by making a fashion statement with the clothes you wear!
Don’t forget vintage fashion has been worn before and possibly had a few owners, so you are never going to get a flawless garment.
Be prepared for a few stains or tiny holes caused by wear and tear, but be assured we always check all garments and let you know before you purchase.