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How Do You Know if Vintage is Really Vintage?

Vintage Fashion

Vintage Clothes

Many people are attracted by vintage clothing – and for good reason. It harks back to another time, another style and another world.

However there is a big difference between genuine vintage clothing and a modern fake. If you are keen to make sure you only ever buy authentic vintage items, it makes sense to find out how not to get caught out.

Do you know what you are looking for?

Vintage clothing comes from a variety of decades. It also comes from a wealth of different designers. As such you need to narrow things down to make your job easier.

For example if you want to find a vintage dress from Schiaparelli or Chanel, you should familiarise yourself with the signature look these designers went for. What elements will identify a particular dress as authentic as opposed to a fake?

Find a trusted supplier

There are plenty of suppliers around specialising in a range of vintage clothing. Some specialise in providing clothes from a particular decade, whereas others are more wide-ranging. Do your research and look for a handful of suppliers you know can be trusted.

Steer clear of charity shops

If you want a vintage piece of clothing you should expect to pay the price for it. Some people have been lucky and found the odd authentic vintage piece in a charity shop. However these instances are few and far between. Know the difference between vintage pieces and pieces that are simply old and perhaps not worth the same kind of money.

Look out for the word ‘style’

We’ve all seen it – the label or description that says ‘vintage Twenties-style’. That word ‘style’ says it all. It basically means it is a modern piece themed and designed to reflect a bygone age or decade. It is easy to overlook that word but it changes what you are buying.

Furthermore be very careful if you are buying vintage items online. It is incredibly easy for someone to use a photo of a genuine piece and yet provide a ‘vintage-style’ item when you actually get what you ordered. Again, refer back to the trusted supplier suggestion.

It’s best to buy in person

Ideally you want to go to a vintage shop so you can see what you are getting. Take the time to speak with the owner as they will often put you at ease and display an incredible amount of knowledge about the items they are selling. But… do your homework first. The more knowledge you have about the clothing you are after, the easier it will be to tell whether the seller is genuine and knows their stuff.

Watch out for modern additions

Knowing when certain things such as zips and specific seam types came into being can help you work out whether you are looking at a genuine vintage piece or something far more modern.

In short, the more you know, the less likely it is you’d ever be caught out.

Caron Westbrook
About Caron Westbrook (25 Articles)
Photographer and fashionista