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home » Fashion Tips » Guide to Vintage Clothing
A Basic Guide to Vintage Clothing

Vintage clothing.

Ten years ago, the words conjured up images of clothing worn by your grandmother when she was your age. But in the last few years, vintage has become hot, hot, hot as celebrities, socialites, and more and more ordinary women clamor to resale shops to take part of this trend. Why is it so popular? And why should you care?

Because vintage means value. You can get great, unique clothing, often at bargain-basement prices. All you have to do is act fast and keep your eyes open.

The word "vintage" is bandied about so much these days, you'd think that anything that isn't current season is vintage. That's not technically true. There are several distinct categories of secondhand clothes, including:

Antique--Generally, anything prior to 1920. These usually run small in size and are made of delicate fabrics. These are often bought as investment pieces to display and not to wear.

Vintage--Clothing from the 1920's to roughly the mid-1970's.

Consignment--Current or near-current styles, usually less than three years old. Some vintage pieces can and do end up in consignment shops, particularly handbags, jewelry, and shoes.

Thrift--A term usually applied to clothes donated for charitable resale at such places like Salvation Army and Goodwill. May also apply to inexpensive goods sold at flea markets.

Resale, Secondhand, Used--Catch-all phrases for all of the above.

So what can you do with vintage clothes? Here are a couple of ideas:

Special Occasion

Have a big social event coming up, like a reunion, ball, wedding, or charity function? Why not make an entrance in a smashing gown from the 1930's? Or a sexy number from the 1950's? This is one of the biggest enticements for celebrities and socialites. A head turning, unique look at a bargain-basement price.


If you have a costumed event coming up, wearing vintage clothes will lend authenticity. Whether it's a costumed ball or a period play, wearing clothes from the era will make you feel as if you've been transported back in time.

Income Opportunity

Want to make money buying and selling used clothes? Try the online auction scene. Online auctions are hot-hot-hot, and you can profit from the fun if you have an eye for a bargain and a few hours a week.

The fastest way to get started? Take a look at what's available on eBay.com, then grab one of the many "How to Sell on eBay" guides and explore all the possibilities. Start with stuff from your own closet, then buy and sell other stuff you find in your town or on your travels. It's a great way to make a little extra money.

Vintage clothing is beautiful and unique and can offer terrific value depending on the piece. Vintage clothes are also a cost-effective way to celebrate yesterday's fashions while creating your own personal style. If you want to know more about vintage clothing, download a copy of "Vintage Clothes" to learn more about buying, selling, and identifying antique and vintage garments.

Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image consultant and author of "Wardrobe Magic," an ebook that shows women how to transform their unruly closets into workable, wearable wardrobes. Visit her online at http://www.fashionforrealwomen.com
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