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Second Hand – Or Vintage Clothing?

“Euuuuw, that is second hand!”  – if you have ever said this, then you could be missing out. Vintage clothing is popular at the moment, because they’re well made, different to the things on sale in the shops and pretty cool!
Sally Anne tells you how to find and look after vintage clothing and how to accessories them.


What is Vintage Clothing?



Vintage is normally used to describe clothes which are between 20 and 100 years old and is sometimes called Retro clothing. Some people might say clothes newer than that are vintage, as there isn’t really a proper definition of what is and isn’t vintage. New clothes might also be called ‘vintage style’, meaning they look like older clothes.

There are all sorts of vintage clothes: from ball gowns to jeans, t-shirts to old work uniforms. People might wear them exactly as they were, or they might make them into new clothes, like cutting up a pair of jeans to make them into shorts. Some people wear entirely vintage outfits, whilst others might just wear an accessory, like a hat or a bag.



Caring for Vintage Clothing





If you do have any vintage clothes, it’s important to look after them properly to make sure they don’t get damaged. Quite often they won’t be able to go in the washing machine, so will need to be hand washed or dry-cleaned. Clothes normally have a label telling you how they should be cleaned.

Storing clothes can also be tricky. Clothes that have been stored for a long time can become discoloured, especially if they’ve not been stored properly. Hanging clothes in wardrobes can also damage them, especially if they get pushed up against other things. You can get special covers to go over clothes hanging in the wardrobe, or if they are folded, you can fold them with tissue paper to keep them safe.



Finding Vintage Clothing





Vintage clothes are all over the place. The first place to find them is, funnily enough, in vintage clothes shops! These are shops which specialise in selling vintage clothes and accessories. They often find clothes which might have been damaged and fix them before selling them on. Some places have loads of these shops, like London and Liverpool, although they’re not everywhere. You could have a look on the internet or in local directories to see if there’s one near you.

Lots of vintage clothes can be found in second hand shops, or charity shops. These are often cheaper than vintage shops, although you might have to sort through lots of clothes to find the things you want. There are also websites which sell vintage clothes, as well as people selling them on sites like eBay.

If you are buying vintage clothes, make sure they’re not damaged in anyway. You might need to check all the seams and edges, as well as any decorations. The sizing on older clothes can also be different, so you’ll probably need to try them on to check they fit.



How to Wear Vintage Clothing



  • Ask your parents or grandparents if they have any clothes you could try on
  • If they haven’t got any, perhaps you could look at photos of what they used to wear to get some ideas!
  • Have you got an old pair of jeans that are too short? Perhaps you could cut them down to make them into shorts
  • Vintage clothes can be expensive, but you could try an accessory, like a bag or a scarf to start with
  • Lots of people customise vintage clothes, which you could do by adding badges or by appliqué (sewing fabric shapes on).


There are lots of craft bloggers who have great ideas on how to alter clothes, such as Stitch This

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

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  1. 1

    Yes they could be very in right now, but in my point of view, it is not that comfortable knowing that someone else has worn your clothes and it is just not too…pleasing.

  2. 2

    I LOVE vintage clothes, I think they’re really pretty, and sometimes I feel happy wearing other people’s clothes because I feel like I’m wearing a piece of history!

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