Buying vintage clothing and jewelry at estate sales can offer many deals and plenty of unique pieces that are sure to spark your interest. Vintage garments could be from as early as the 1930’s to the 1980’s at this point, but the most sought after eras will be from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. There are many things you should watch out for when picking out vintage clothing, especially depending on what you wish to do with them afterwards. Some folks buy vintage apparel from estate sales to resell on their personal website or eBay store, while other folks may purchase them for their own collection or fashion purposes.
Knowing how to identify vintage garments should be one of your primary concerns. There are a few things you want to look for to determine if you are actually purchasing authentic vintage clothing. It is not hard for folks new to vintage clothing to become confused about what time period vintage clothing is actually from. Generally if the label on the clothing says it was made in China then it is probably newer. You will want to look for clothing that is from places such as France, USA, Italy or Hong Kong. Vintage clothing also may have union labels printed in blue or red/blue text. Once you really start getting good at identifying vintage apparel then you will be able to tell if the clothing is older just from handling the fabric and feeling the texture of the textiles. The patterns and colors will also be a hint, though there are many designers now remaking new apparel to look vintage, so be careful.
Always inspect the clothing as carefully as possible, most vintage clothing will generally show some signs of wear and if it does not then you should be a little wary. Collectors and the fashion forward chase retro style clothing because it is stylish and unique, and you are certain to be wearing a one-of-a-kind piece that does not look off the rack.
Estates are a great place to buy mid-century clothing because you are more likely to get a great deal instead of buying it in consignment shops or eBay where it’s already been marked up. You also get a chance to see the garment up close, which you certainly cannot do when buying it online. Don’t hesitate to ask the person running the sales if you can slip into the bathroom to try it on if you are buying it for personal use.
Things you should check for when purchasing vintage clothing include old stains, odors, discoloration or fading in fabric and holes or tears. Old stains can be extremely difficult to remove so you will probably want to pass up any stained clothing that you come across. Apparel with ages old odors usually suffers the same fate, as smells that have been stuck to the fabric for a long time will likely remain to be. Vintage clothing is generally safe to endure regular dry cleaning method, but make sure to do your due diligence to be sure of it.
If a great vintage piece is simply missing buttons, needs a zipper repaired, has a seam come undone or needs a hem shortened–it is still a worthy buy, as it’s cheap to take it to a seamstress for a quick fix. Certainly take advantage and haggle down the price with the seller if you see any issue that affects condition.