ABCs of Buying Designer-Made Vintage Clothes Online

Written By Arman Zulhajar on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 | 5:19 AM

No matter what we think and what our fashion preferences are, one cannot deny that the world of fashion is influenced by the designs and fashions of the past. Over the last years the collection of couture and designer-made vintage clothes has become an important trend in the collection and antique industries.

For the person who is interested in collection of vintage, and especially for the one who is willing to make deals online, it is important to know the ABC's and definitions. One of the most important reasons to get to know these ABC's is the fact that these definitions are often misused by the online traders.

Vintage versus antique

Clothing produced in the period between 1920s though the 1980s is normally referred to as vintage. Some important items from the 1990s also fall into this category.

Dresses and accessories made earlier than 1920s, are referred to as antique.

Designer vintage category continues to expand with years, together with a growing interest to specific designers and historical time periods.

Vintage haute couture versus ready-to-wear

The definition haute couture applies to a garment ordered specifically by one client from a design house, which is made exclusively by hand for that specific client. The term "vintage haute couture" is often misused by the vintage traders. A few expensive couture items find their way to the vintage market through the charities. However, the most valuable vintage pieces can be bought via auction houses or exclusive vintage clothing boutiques.

As a matter of fact, the most exciting thing about collecting couture vintage clothes is that every dress is unique.

Ready-to-wear vintage dress is more easily located, because more of these clothes used to be produced. The prĂȘt-a-porter (ready-to-wear) garments are made by a fashion house and distributed for the mass consumer via specialty boutiques. Most of the vintage pieces found in the vintage boutiques and auctions are ready-to-wear designer vintage.

Identifying ready-to-wear vintage

A mass-produced label, size tag, machine-finished seams are the typical characteristics of the ready-to-wear clothes.

Identifying haute couture vintage

- a couture item will usually have an inventory number on a small label, which is located next or behind the designer label. These labels used to be handwritten with ink, therefore they have been often faded over the time. The inventory number lead to the account number of the specific client who ordered this piece. However the labels were often removed from a garment, it the client traveled abroad and was afraid of having to pay import/export duties. It is in any case important to familiarize yourself with specific designer labels, which are normally made of fine silk.

- the sophisticated construction details is another way to determine the value of the item. You should look for the distinguished quality of fabrics, fine silk linings, hand-stitching, beautiful buttons and hand-bound buttonholes, fine zippers set in by hand, tiny fabric-covered snap fasteners, as well as the overall quality of design and craftsmanship.

- One of the best ways to identify haute couture is examine the finish to it from inside out. French seams are an indication of a fine craftsmanship. In this case the seams were turned in, as the garment was constructed, and the end result would show no selvage edge to the fabric. Hand-finished linings are also indication of a labor extensive work on the garment.

- As far as the embroidered items are concerned, couture garments used to be embroidered by hand. The hand-made embroidery can be identified by examining the thread. Fine silk is used in hand-embroidered garments. The more fine thread identifies the more refined craftsmanship. You have to examine carefully the reverse side of the fabric to spot the hand-knotted ends, which is the indication of hand-work. Sometimes you would need a magnifying glass for this kind of examination.

Collecting designer-made vintage clothes is a latest trend, but also the way to acquire the dresses of the highest quality to achieve the hottest look.

For more details and facts see

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