Vintage clothing is on the rise, but what is vintage?

Vintage clothing is becoming increasingly popular, which of course makes
us very happy! But unfortunately, it also has a small downside.

More and more often I run into people who confuse secondhand clothing with vintage clothing, but of course second-hand is not automatically vintage. I see people selling second-hand clothes online for example on United Wardrobe, Vinted or on various vintage clothing groups on Facebook. The sellers indicate that what they sell is “vintage” clothing, but
from the fit, material, label or brand I can tell that the clothes they sell,
most of the time, aren’t really vintage.

Secretly I find that quite frustrating. I think it would be a bummer if you think you are buying a good quality vintage garment, but you will receive an item from instance about 5 years ago that was made by a fast fashion chain.

So, when do you call clothes vintage?

We call clothing that is at least 25 years old vintage clothing. And if it’s over 100 years old they are considered antiques. Everything that we sell at Viva! Vintage is from the period 1940 till 1995. But most of our clothing comes from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. These are garments which are typical of the zeitgeist of those times and have a certain stylistic value that
is characteristic of those specific times.

We’ll give you three tips to recognize vintage clothing yourself so you can
actually know when you are actually buying the good stuff:

How to recognize vintage clothing

  1. (wash) Label and brand

    You can often recognize a vintage brand by the design of the label, because they are often larger, more colorful and printed with a playful font. The clothing sizes often do not match how they are determined today, because vintage clothing usually runs smaller. If the washlabel says made in China, it probably isn’t a vintage item.

  2. Quality and material

    Clothing made in the past was standard of good, sturdy quality and with natural materials. And you can feel that immediately. The clothing of today is often made of non-natural synthetic fabrics such as polyester, fleece and acrylic

  3. Zipper

    In the 1930s to 1950s, dresses generally had a side closure. Sometimes these are hooks and eyes or snaps, but from the mid-1930s metal zippers were increasingly used. Dresses with a plastic zipper at the back are almost always after 1960. There are exceptions, but generally this is a good way to tell if something is really old.

We hope these tips were helpful. Let us know if you have any additional tips and tricks. Together we will find the perfect new vintage gems and reduce mis-purchases.

Stay safe and fabulous.

Viva! Vintage