Have you ever looked at the price tag on a vintage dress and thought to yourself, “my GOSH! that’s insane.”? I have, many times. But over the years Ive started to realize what the going rate is for a dress of a particular era and of course, what inflated prices are. There are several variables that go into the inflated prices. Obviously the location of the shop plays a big role. Bigger cities tend to have customers with bigger wallets.
There are also other factors that go into the price of a vintage item. One is rarity. Right now, pieces from the 1920s and 1930s are scarce, so the price will be higher due to demand and the absent crop that there once was, with closets full of beaded flapper gowns and 30s cotton frocks. The 1940s is starting to dwindle down as well, at least in this neck of the woods. So why is the 1950s and 1960s in abundance? Well, the people who wore those eras of clothing are still alive.
Some of you may ask, “How can I justify buying an old used dress for $150?!” – While others may ask themselves a similar question, “How can I justify buying a $150 brand new dress that will be out of style in 6 months and that was made in a sweatshop and will probably fall apart after several washings?” – Obviously, we all have our own opinions and are entitled to them, but I find it very discerning that so many people do not give respect to vintage clothing, as they would a vintage piece of furniture, or even a vintage car/motorcycle. In my eyes, there is no difference between investing in a piece of history, whether it be clothing, furniture or cars. They are all collectible in their own right.
Lastly, so many people assume that the amazing vintage pieces we find are left for us to grab up at a garage sale or a thrift store – just waiting to be purchased for pennies and marked up 100% for sale at a vintage shop. Is this true? It can be, but its quite rare. Sure, youll find some 70s double knit polyester at a Goodwill. Is it rare and sought after? I guess it depends on who you ask, but I can bet most answers will be no. Most vintage shop owners purchase clothing from the original owners, auctions, estate sales and vintage clothing collectors. The false notion that we buy vintage for pennies and sell it for hundreds is common and probably adds to the devaluing of vintage clothing as a whole.
A good way to know whether or not to buy a piece of vintage? – Trend vs. Classic Factor – will the piece be wearable throughout the years or is it just trendy this year? Stick with key pieces – pencil skirts, circle skirts, classically cut dresses and coats – You can see tons and tons of vintage styling in today’s clothing.
Here are some examples of pieces from the shop, that are classic and copied over and over by today’s designers: