You might be mistaken to think that vintage clothes are outdated and no longer wearable pieces from history. Although it’s true that fashion on the whole continues to change and evolve, there are many pieces that are always here to stay.
You may wander around the ‘vintage’ section in thrift stores only to find outrageous designs, that demonstrate a variety of unthinkable color combinations, patterns and textures. Well at least they had a lot of fun coming up with these designs, but there’s a good reason why some of them have never really made their big comeback yet.
So can we argue for the vintage pieces that have literally been around for decades? Why are they still popular, even though they were made decades ago?
It’s Stood the Test of Time
If something has been around for years and years, and you can still wear it no matter what year it is, then it’s clearly been good enough to hang around over the years without becoming irrelevant.
Good examples are things like denim jeans, which originated over a century ago, but in the last 40 years or so have been worn plenty of times without fail.
I’ve actually recently bought a pair of vintage Levi’s from eBay that were of amazing quality. They hadn’t been worn for over 10 or 20 years, but they stayed intact and in the perfect condition. The style was also perfect – a very loose mom style jean in a light blue wash. It was exactly the kind of thing I wanted, so it just goes to show the kinds of things you can find when you go vintage.
Because these pieces have been around for ages, and have been worn countless times over the years, it tends to be a good indication of how well it was made. I have a lot of pieces that my mom passed to me over the years. She had these clothes when I was born, and 20 years later they were so well looked after and as good as new.
When I come to wear them, they continue to serve me well over 5 years or more, and there’s no sign of it coming to an end yet. It just goes to show how much time was spent in producing these pieces, and how well sewn they were.
The brands that I have seen come up time and time again wherever I go are Marks and Spencer’s, and BHS (both British companies; the second one went bust a few years ago). These two brands are or were pretty standard high street British brands that have continued to show that it can stand the test of time. In my opinion, most pieces made over 15 years ago before the fast fashion trend rose further seemed to be made with much more care.
Better Material Quality
I think the affects of fast fashion on the quality of the materials can be applied here as well. It’s no secret that fast fashion has meant that clothing companies need to spend less money on materials to make their clothes more affordable, or just cheaper. But this means the quality of the products fall as well.
Once upon a time, a lot of garments used more cotton, viscose, and made these materials thicker which made them more durable. Fashions were also a lot less prone to changing every four weeks, with the aim of capturing new interests in the micro trends region. Without the need to mass produce so much stock in so little time, their resources were not so focused on spreading it thin and more about quality.
But this doesn’t mean that cheap didn’t exist at all, it just wasn’t massively popular until the fast fashion trends boomed in the early 2010’s through online stores and easier accessibility.
Less About Micro-Trends
The thing about vintage clothes that last through the ages is the fact it doesn’t have to be so wildly different to most other regular clothes. Sure, you’ve got brands like Chanel with the classic pink and black bordered designs, but most things don’t need to feature the cut out shoulder trend, or the asymmetrical look.
These designs are created to appeal to the interest of shoppers for a short amount of time. For a while, it becomes a trend that everyone becomes obsessed with for a few months or so, and once the next micro trend comes up, the old trend goes out the window. And sadly, so do the clothes. Which is why some vintage tends to last.
Vintage designs that have lasted for a long time have done so because of their timeless quality. The designs tend to be more classic and simple, such as a plain tee shirt, a simple neckline, or just one feature that defines it.
It’s no wonder that the little black dress made famous by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s has continued to be a go-to simple outfit for parties and occasions. It’s a base that can make your pendants stand out more, and not overshadow your limelight.
I personally love all aspects of vintage clothes, from the simplistic designs that continue to be replicated today, to the fun and interesting things that are unique. Often many pieces exist that literally can’t be found anywhere else, and that’s what makes vintage so brilliant.