A Beginner’s Guide To Buying Vintage

Vintage clothing is a popular trend in fashion — and has been for quite some time. The thrill of finding unique pieces from another era speaks to many shoppers looking to celebrate their individual style while supporting a more sustainable form of fashion. However, if you’re relatively new to vintage, the quantity and types of vintage out there can seem overwhelming and confusing.

Whether you're looking for vintage clothing suppliers to provide your store with quality vintage clothing, or you’re a customer looking to purchase it for yourself, it’s important to know some basics about buying vintage. In today’s blog from American Recycled Clothing, we’re going to discuss some tips that will help you find just what you’re looking for. Keep reading to learn more.


Know The Difference Between Thrift and Vintage

To those who are just getting started in the world of vintage, it may seem like vintage is just another way to market thrift store clothing at a higher price. But on the contrary — although it’s possible to find vintage items in a thrift store, most of the items you’ll find there are modern-day pieces made to look vintage. Also, you shouldn’t find items that are intended for a thrift store at a reputable vintage clothing store.

So, how do you tell the difference between modern-made and something vintage? There are some telltale signs to look for if you’re shopping for older pieces (pre-1980). Look for metal zippers, side-snap closures, and made in the USA labels. When looking for more recent vintage (e.g. t-shirts from the 80s or 90s) it can be a little more difficult to determine if the item you’re looking at is legit. Here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Check the fabric composition. Many vintage items will be made of one fabric type. Items made with a blend of fabrics such as rayon and cotton or rayon and linen tend to be modern items.
  • Check the hardware. Zippers, buttons, snaps, and other hardware were generally of higher quality in years past. Modern day items will usually be made of plastic.
  • Look at the logo. If you don't recognize the logo or if the logo is different from what you’re used to seeing for that brand, it’s a good sign it may be vintage.

Start With Classic Pieces

Many people venturing into the world of vintage clothing will usually start with some classic pieces they admire and can wear with several things. A statement jacket, and a great pair of Levis — these are some of the most common items every vintage shopper will be looking for. If you are looking to start a vintage shop or already own one, you’ll want to make sure you’re stocked with these must-have pieces. Check out another one of our recent blogs titled “Staples Every Vintage Store Needs”.

Watch Out For Significant Damage

Some vintage clothing will show obvious signs of distress, or at least have that broken-in softness and appearance that is actually one of the reasons why people seek out vintage clothing. If, however, you find clothing with stains, holes, or missing buttons, you might want to think twice. Reputable vintage stores will weed out items that are really meant for a thrift store or other repurposing instead of putting them out for sale.

At American Recycled Clothing, we stand by our reputation and that’s why people looking for vintage clothing suppliers seek us out to provide them with the quality vintage clothing shoppers are looking for. Our inventory is what really sets us apart — we have actively collected and time-capsuled inventory for over 25 years. Plus, all of our clothing is Grade A — meaning that it has no major damage or imperfections.

Buy From a Trusted Source

There are thousands of vintage stores and wholesale vintage clothing suppliers out there, so whether you own a shop or you’re an end user, it makes sense to do your homework before making a purchase.

For consumers, inspect the clothing you’re buying and make sure that it appears to be priced appropriately. If it seems to be marked up higher than what you would expect to pay, don’t hesitate to ask why the item is priced the way it is. If you’re shopping online, see what other people have to say about that particular site and find out how long they’ve been in business. You may also want to inquire about the grade of clothing they sell and get the details on their return policy.

For store owners and others looking for wholesale vintage clothing suppliers, you can follow some of the same words of advice. For instance, find out how long a company has been in the business and what their process is for sourcing and curating their products. If possible, you can even ask about touring their warehouse.

Buy Wholesale Vintage Clothing at American Recycled Clothing

American Recycled Clothing has been a trusted vintage clothing supplier since 1992. Our proprietary methods of sourcing, categorizing, and curating vintage clothing have made us a proven source for wholesale used clothing for thousands of retailers, designers, and costume departments.

We make it easy to order wholesale vintage clothing. Simply visit our website to browse our selection or contact us directly to discuss your specific needs. You can even make an appointment to come to one of our warehouses to handpick your order. Whichever you choose, you’ll be working with a trusted partner who can help you support the movement toward more sustainable fashion.