Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vintage 101!

As a lover of vintage and all things funky I thought; why not share some of my knowledge to help some of you discover the inner vintage-lover in YOU!  The great thing about authentic vintage is having a stand-out piece of amazing quality to spice up your wardrobe and make you feel special.  The key word here is AUTHENTIC.  As many of you may realize, tons of trends tend to repeat themselves over the decades and create the need for mass-produced vintage-inspired clothing.   It is important to know the difference between something VINTAGE and something ANTIQUE. An antique is anything that dates earlier than the 1920's (whew that's old!).  Vintage is 1920's and beyond and a further break-down would categorize anything from 1970's to 1990's as RETRO, if you like getting specific.   When looking for real vintage pieces there are certain things you can look for to determine the authenticity.  One major difference is the quality of the pieces.  Most vintage clothing is made of much better quality fabrics than mass-produced garments made today and some may even be hand-made! It takes years of experience to become good at distinguishing authentic pieces but quality can definitely be a stand-out factor to help you differentiate. 

Read more for specific tips on distinguishing authenticity!

Here are some top tips to help identify authentic vintage!
  • Zippers!! Is the zipper metal or vinyl? : Metal zippers usually indicate a garment that is pre  1970's because vinyl zippers were not introduced and widely used until the mid-late 1960's.  Also, many garments, especially dresses, had zippers placed on the side until the 1950's where they were then moved to the back of the garments.
  • Labels!! How many and what do they say?: When checking out your garment, don't forget to look at the tags on the inside! There are 3 labels to look for: maker's label, size label, and care label. Look at the maker's label and check the designer on the Vintage Fashion Guild website ( ) to see if you can find it there.  If not, you can check the other labels. Before the 1960's sizes were indicated by hip size in inches and after that numerical sizes were used.  I've also found that many vintage and retro items seem to be a lot bigger than what the size tag indicates based off of the size scale we use today.  You should definitely try on your vintage before you purchase if you can or possibly size down! Finally, check out the care label.  These labels weren't even introduced until the mid 1960's and widely used in the 1970's.  Care symbols, that are found on care labels today were not introduced until 1971.  If there is no care label at all, it is possible the garment was hand-made which as very common before the 70's (lucky you)!
  • Garment Construction and Fabric!!: After handling lots of authentic vintage pieces you can begin to tell the difference in the quality of those fabrics as opposed to ones used to make clothing today by the touch.  Some other things to know about fabrics are that rayon and taffeta were used in the 50's; polyester, nylon, and Crimpolene were widely used in the 60's; and lycra wasn't introduced until the 80's! Unfinished seams on the interior of dresses indicates it's pre 1964, which was when the Serger was available commercially.  (Sergers are machines that finish seams.) Hook and eye fasteners and built-in bra straps also may indicate whether and item is vintage.
  • STYLE!!: Each era flaunted it's gorgeous individual trends that may require some additional research on your part to distinguish specifically what period your piece came from, but here are things to look for in general: peter pan collars (small rounded collars), uneven/jagged hemlines, empire lines, waistline at the hip, beaded flapper dresses, embroider shawls, twinsets, wide legged trousers, frilled blouses, tailored suits, shoulder capes, berets,wide-shouldered jackets, chunky platform shoes, pillbox hats, poodle skirts, opera coats, cat-eye sunglasses, a-line shift dresses, pop-art prints, psychedelic prints, maxi skirts, metallic knits, vinyl dresses, crochet dresses, kaftans, flares pants/jeans, peasant tops, ponchos, disco dresses, hot pants, bodysuits, power suits, leggins, slogan tees/sweatshirts, harem pants, and the list goes on!!
So, there are some great tips for shopping vintage and what to look for!! I hope it helped on your quest for authentic vintage. Always remember to take extra special care of your items and follow the care instructions! When in doubt, I suggest dry cleaning to be safe.  Also, if you're really in love with a vintage item that you can obtain for a steal, even if there is a small defect, it may just be worth it to make the purchase and get repairs at your local tailor.  In the meantime, do some research on what kind of vintage trends fit your style and let your journey begin!

Check out a few pics from C.I.T.F. Vintage coming soon and the promo video. Enjoy!

Photography and Videography Credit: Amelenci (Ari Melenciano)
Models for C.I.T.F. Vintage: Leah Emme, Ariel Brown, Imani Simpkins, Jade Matthews
Make-up: Tyra Renee - (Leah, Jade, & Ariel), Sylvia Knight - (Imani)
Set-Manager for Promo Video: Karyna Beato
Styling: Amber Rayne
Make-up Direction: Amber Rayne
Photography/Videography Direction: Amber Rayne

Post Sources Consulted: Vintage Fashion Guild - ,  Devoted 2 Vintage -

1 comment:

  1. I know nothing about vintage anything. Very helpful post. Looking forward to others and nice pix!