Is Vintage Secondhand?
This question is in the top 10 questions that people ask about vintage. So it made sense to write about it seen as so many of you are looking for the answer! Secondhand can sometimes describe a hand me down, thrifted item, something someone pass onto another home or no longer wants to wear. But contrary to popular belief, vintage is not always thought of as secondhand.
Secondhand clothes are clothes that were previously owned by another person before you bought them. The difference is that sometimes, vintage can be found as “dead-stock.” Items that are yet to be worn or purchased by anybody (other than a seller) and are in their original condition are described as dead-stock. Essentially when you purchase them from a vintage seller, shop, kilo sale or others – you are the first person to wear / own them. Other times, dead-stock may have been purchased by someone but never worn (we all know that we have items hanging in our wardrobes with their original tags on right?!)
Thrifting is a gift!
If you have ever spent a day looking around charity shops, or at a vintage kilo sale or fair – you have the thrifting gift! With the world putting a focus on sustainable fashion and “not buying new,” recently there are more opportunities for thrifting. People are happy to give away their old pieces. Others are happy to purchase and wear more secondhand clothing than ever before. Both types are essential to helping preserve the environment and becoming more sustainable.
Personally, I love a secondhand shop! The thrill of the hunt, the unknown treasures just waiting for you to discover them. Growing up, my mum handmade my clothes or purchased secondhand from charity shops to help provide for the four of us. As I am the eldest, rarely would I receive hand me downs from my siblings, but I was used to this secondhand mentality. Fashion has always been something that I love and that interests me. However, until recently, the wider worldwide problems have only just become highlighted.
My love of vintage…
Essentially, this comes from wanting to be different and stand out. Knowing that if I dress in vintage, nobody else will have the same outfit on in the room. However, I still do purchase items that are not secondhand or that are in mass production sometimes too. As an expression of individuality, vintage is my love.
The appeal of the past, the quirky patterns. Cuts & fits that do not exist now. Being able to reach for something different is liberating. People often describe my style as “quirky” or “a bit odd.” Personally, I would say that it is bright, bold, crazy and dependent upon my mood. Someone recently asked me how I would sum up my own vintage style. My reply was: Iris Apfel in her younger days but with less class and more quirky tack. Have you seen her? I love her. Incredible.
Secondhand isn’t dirty.
Controversial I know, but secondhand isn’t always gross like some people think! If it has been in storage correctly (acid free tissue paper etc) and dry cleaned, then it keeps well. Imagine not wearing something for 50 years but packing it in a suitcase, unpacking it and moving house a few times. Understandably, it may be a little dusty or need airing. But if it was freshly cleaned before it was packed then it’s not dirty. This is often the same case with vintage clothes.
People who visit vintage fairs are often put off from purchasing because the smell of “old” can have them thinking twice. Initially, agreed, a lot of vintage smells like it has been around forever. Back in the day, in order to try and preserve clothes, moth balls were used to try and help make clothes last.
A gentle airing, hand wash or soft soak can really breathe new life into secondhand garments.
Wear it your own way.
Once you give your “new to you” purchase a wash or some TLC, there are no more rules. Your secondhand beauty now has a new place to shine. This is the true wonder of vintage. It fits into high street trends but also allows you to be as individual as you like too. What do I mean? Well, take the puff sleeve trend for example. Original 1980s fashion is the inspiration behind this re-inventing that we see now in the high street. Imagine if you found an 80s puff sleeve original that was THE envy of your friends who shopped high street only. Very often, there is only that one piece.
Bespoke, originals and one of a kind – vintage secondhand clothing has something for everyone.