#Vintage is trending! High waistlines, bold patterns, retro t-shirts, and vintage accessories are in style right now. Fast fashion brands are mass-producing vintage-inspired pieces, with consequently poor quality and environment blight, but consumers want the real thing, and they are willing to pay for it. This article explores fashion trends throughout history, reseller tips and tricks, and “Breezy’s BOLOs” (Be-on-the-lookouts) for selling vintage clothing online.
The Vintage resale market is booming on Etsy, Depop, eBay, and in vintage-themed Facebook Groups. Resellers are sweeping thrift stores, estate sales, auctions, and flea markets for amazing vintage pieces for resale. With a limited supply available, it can be tough to find older vintage pieces. Despite the massive resale value, many resellers avoid vintage pieces due to the particular challenges associated with finding, photographing, sizing, authenticating, and dating them.
Sourcing vintage pieces for resale can be difficult, and it requires patience and a fine eye. Vintage expert Breezy Von Breezy recommends keeping an eye out for:
- Single stitching on t-shirts
- Red lines and Selvedge out seams on denim
- Paper Tags on any garment
- Sheer tags on dresses (as they were worn with slips)
- Hand-finished hems
Vintage style has a huge resale value, but it can be difficult to authenticate. Avid collectors are passionate about authenticity, and it is crucial that vintage is dated properly. Dating classic items can be arduous, often involving studying tags, zippers, and even performing “burn tests” on fabric swatches. Breezy Von Breezy offers a course for dating and authenticating vintage pieces, including manufacturer and brand information, tables of materials and burn test charts, and style information from each decade (1930’s-Y2k). With a focus on tags and labels, materials, and hardware, Breezy features catalogs of labels and manufacturers to help resellers authenticate and date vintage pieces.
“When sourcing from estate sales, I do a little research about the original owner. I never disclose personal information, but I include a little backstory such as ‘The original owner was a Broadway producer, or a well-known local seamstress.’ My buyers really enjoy knowing the story behind an item.” – Breezy Von Breezy
The 1980’s were known for extreme hair and exciting fashion influence from icons like Madonna, Whitney Houston, Cyndi Lauper, and George Michael. 1980’s Old School Rock N’ Roll staples included spandex, parachute pants, suspenders, turtlenecks, leg warmers, track jackets, and cut-off sweatshirts. Many trendy 1980’s styles are popular now such as high waisted bottoms, neon colors, shoulder pads, and ripped knees.
Reseller Tip: When sourcing jeans, look for Levi’s with paper tags, and an uppercase “Big E” on the tag- those were made prior to 1971.
The 1970’s are known for peace, love, disco, and groovy fashion. Timeless trends of the 1970’s are embedded into modern fashion including boho blouses, folk-inspired patterns, smocked dresses, and crochet designs. Popular styles of the 1970’s include Co-ords (two-piece outfits), denim dresses, platform shoes, headscarves and neck scarves, pearls, and satin slips.
Reseller Tip: Vintage Lingerie has a very high resale value. Never skip the undergarment rack at the thrift store.
The 1960’s is known for the civil rights movement, political activism, and revolutionary fashion. Notable styles from the swinging 60’s include flared legs, pillbox hats, mini-skirts, peter pan collars, berets, off shoulder tops, go-go boots, sequins, and fringe. “Clothing from the beginning of the 1960’s was similar to the classic styles of the 1950’s. Toward the end of the decade, there was a shift to a more funky, disco counter-culture which brought in a new wave of fashion” – Breezy Von Breezy.
The 1950’s is an era known for compliance, conformity and classic style. Fashion icons such as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Elizabeth Taylor epitomized pin-up and swing fashion at the sock-hops, drive-ins and soda fountains. 1950’s clothing catered an hour-glass silhouette with pencil skirts, poodle skirts, bullet brats, bustier tops, and hot pants. For men, it was all about leather and “rockabilly.” Timeless prints such as gingham and polka dots were popularized in the 1950’s.
Reseller Tip: When sourcing for vintage, look for back and side metal zippers, as this is often an indication of an item being from the 1960’s or before.
The 1940’s was an era of sorrow, fear, and patriotism. With the commencement of the war and strict fabric rationing, dresses in the 1940’s became shorter and far more basic. In the 1940s, synthetic fabrics like rayon, acetate, and nylon became increasingly popular, as traditional textiles such as silk were used for equipment for the troops. 1940’s fashion trends included the shirtwaist dress, bolero jackets, coveralls, tea dresses, A-line skirts, girdles, and stockings. Popular accessories were large floral brooches, fedoras, turban hats, and sailor hats.
Reseller Tip: When sourcing, look for the Union Labels New York Creation Dress Institute, used from 1940-1955. These pieces feature a special union tag with an illustrated New York City Skyline.
1930’s fashion embodies romance and glamour. Ladies such as the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson, and actress Marlene Deitrich popularized the flat silhouette with an emphasis on youth and innocence. 1930’s fashion featured liquid satins and silks, gloves, furs, chiffon blouses, pussy bows, and frilly trims. Men dressed like classic gentlemen in dapper suit ensembles and pinstripe patterns.
The roaring twenties, or the “jazz era” is known for art, prosperity, dissipation, and major fashion trends such as flapper style. It was in the 1920’s that women began to wear black, a color traditionally reserved for funerals, when designer Coco Chanel introduced the iconic little black dress. Famous 1920’s styles include racoon coats, cloche hats, chemise dresses, petticoats, frock dresses, and silk hosiery. 1920’s pieces are often beige, gray, and white.
Vintage lovers and sellers can learn a lot about these classic styles from the resources in this article, as well as from Breezy’s vintage authentication and dating course at https://breezy-von-breezy.teachable.com.
Vendoo is a minority-owned startup consisting of four young entrepreneurs from the Washington, DC area. Each team member has a different skill set, from full-time reselling experience to software development, and provides a unique perspective on how to solve the common inconveniences of the reselling experience.