What do we mean by vintage? Well that probably depends on who you ask! A vintage car collector will give you a different definition from a vintage French wine producer! When it comes to clothes (although even here you will find disputes!) Generally speaking, clothing which was produced before the 1920s is referred to as antique clothing while clothing from the 1920s to up to 20 years before the present day is considered vintage.
Having got the timeline sorted, does the clothing of the period identified actually have to be genuine original article (original vintage), or a reproduction (repro vintage)? Or even a new design which incorporates a recognisable element of vintage style (contemporary vintage?). Again, this is arguable.
For the genuine article, original vintage clothing, it has been worn, but not worn out! Some can be totally virginal- old warehouse stock (known as dead stock or old stock), and will be much more valuable than those that have been worn, especially if they have their original tags (why would they be cut off I hear you ask?).
So what is it about that vintage period, beginning in the 1920s that people, including young people want to go for? Part of it is that while grunge retro fashion involves clothes that kids would have seen, or perhaps even worn in the 1980s, no kids or their parents would have been around in the 1920s. Therefore that period of clothingis a little more mysterious, adventurous and desirable. Let us not forget that 1920s American society represents the good old days of prosperity and fun- the First World War was over, and prohibition was not yet in force. It was the time of the Black Bottom dance, gay abandon, cinema, and the Speakeasy club. Cars and fuel was cheap and music was memorable and inspiring. This was reflected in the 1920s clothes- brash, swinging, glittery and swishy (for the women that is).Women wore head wreaths, cloche hats and bobbed cuts instead of traditionally acceptable hairstyles.
Also let’s not forget to remember that women gained new rights and roles in society in the US at that time. They had new abilities to vote, work outside of the home and pursue life as more than just housewives. In short it was revolutionary. It was without doubt the birth of modern US society. Come down Coco Chanel, the queen of 1920s fashion, who could produce a cornucopia of inspirational lifestyle quotes and encouraging words to those who wanted to better themselves and take a slice of the new deal coming. She of course encouraged females to pursue freedoms. From choosing how they dressed to where they worked, serving as a living example of the success a go-getter attitude can bring. “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud,” she said. Wow. That still resonates today doesn’t it? So why not keep this decade’s spirit of adventure and pathway to progress alive through fashion, whether the genuine new or second article, the repro or the new design paying a homage to that decade?
Why go vintage? Why not?!!