Thursday, July 19, 2012

Til the Well Runs Dry

I have been collecting vintage clothing for about 13 years now. I haven't amassed a huge collection by any means, but I do feel that I have some great treasures hanging in my closet. Some of these things I got for a steal, and a few of them I have paid a small fortune for. Most of them though, I paid a fair price for. I am constantly searching for new vintage items to add to my collection and over the years I have begun to notice a few disturbing trends:

1-The price of vintage has gone WAY up.

2-Real vintage is becoming harder to find.

3-What is out there that isn't overpriced isn't very good.

Of course I am over simplifying things here, but I have had a difficult time finding quality vintage that I can afford for at least a few years now. I still find things mind you, but it has become increasingly difficult, especially now that I am 'starting over' and am not making as much money as I once was. When I first started collecting it was a fun, affordable hobby. I would go to thrift stores and dig through the racks with the hopes of finding something cool to wear out dancing that night. Over the years, though, it has becoming an all consuming 'task' to find anything that I can afford and want to wear. I have to travel to other cities/states, get up at the crack of dawn to go to a swap meet, and take the risk of a bed bug infestation at estate sales just to get a decent 50s dress!! Its become a job just to clothe myself!!! ;-)

(Again, I am over simplifying matters here and being slightly fecetious).

I was reading a post on Ooh La La Vintage Swap and Sell on Facebook the other day that got me thinking. The post was about a seller that had been kicked off Ebay and Etsy for selling shoddy, overpriced, misrepresented items. The topic strayed to how hard it is for dealers to find stock and that because they paid so much for an item, they then have to turn around and charge even more for it just to make a profit. They also figure in the cost and time it took to find those items, plus time and expense to mend, photograph, and list them. It makes sense. I was doing it for a while and it does take a lot of time, effort and money to hunt down vintage nowadays. Though I do not agree with the outrageous prices, it got me thinking...

What happens when the well runs dry? In other words, what happens when all the vintage is gone???


"We'd rather go naked than wear modern clothes!!!"


That sounds crazy right? Even when all the vintage from estate sales is bought up there will always be collectors willing to sell off their items. Sure they will. But what did they pay for that item? And how much will they in turn charge for it? Lets see... If dealer A buys a vintage dress from dealer B for $75 with the intent to turn around and sell it, how much do they charge? It looks to me like they charge at least double. So now that dress is $150. Then what happens when buyer A decides to sell that same dress a year later. How much will buyer B pay for it? $200-250??? In my opinion that is outrageous. Though I am not really here to debate the price of vintage (because yes, it is worth what someone is willing to pay for it, blah, blah, blah...), it does worry me. If the price of vintage continues to rise in this way not only will the collectors not be able to buy it, but the sellers will no longer be able to sell it. Meaning, they will then have to offer those items at a discount just in order to sell them, which will eat into their profit margin. If that continues they will quite buying and selling vintage entirely!


Would you pay $380 for this suit??? I wouldn't. I wonder why the seller thinks it is worth that much.


Now onto my more disturbing thought. What happens when there really is no more wearable vintage clothing out there??? These clothes that we love are already 50-80 years old and will, no matter how well they are made, eventually fall apart. I am having to mend and re-mend my dresses and I eventually know that some of them will just fall apart. I have a few pieces from the 20s, 30s and 40s that have literally disintegrated. It makes me really sad but it is just a fact of clothing: it will eventually fall apart. I am already seeing a huge decline in the amount of actual vintage out there in the world. I see more and more "50s style" garments out there, some of them being pawned off as the real thing, because of this very reason.



Click the link for the full description. The person is selling it as a real vintage dress from the 50s.




Uhhhhh...NO!!!


So my question to you, my dear readers, is what will you do when you can no longer find/afford vintage clothing? Will you buy repro? Take up sewing? Or just start shopping at the mall???

I know for me, one thing I do is I rarely ever sell anything from my personal collection. I still have the very first vintage dress I ever bought. It still fits and I still love it. I had to replace the zipper in it but damn do I love it! I know people that buy things, wear them once, then turn around and sell it. Even at my most financially despair I try not to sell my most fabulous pieces. I still have all my Hawaiians, my bakelite bangles, my drawer full of halter tops and shorts, and lucite purses. If I sell something it is only because it is too big (too small I can squeeze into/loose weight, but I have no plans on gaining weight, so if its too big and can't easily be taken in...its gotta go!!), or is unflattering on me. I don't care how much I can get for my vintage halter tops, or  my Fred Perlberg dress, or my Shaheen two piece sarong set. The thought of selling them does not appeal to me because I know what I paid for them (not much!), and I know that if I sold them I will never again find something like it at a reasonable price. They are treasures to me!

"50's" Deadstock Hawaiian Dress
$295
I had this dress in purple and in blue. I sold the purple and turned the blue into a two piece. Why is it now worth so much more than the $25 I paid for the purple one 10 years ago?? And again, we have an item being sold as 50s that is not. I may be wrong, but isn't this convertible dress from the 60s or 70s???


I guess I could start buying more repro. Whirling Turban, Trashy Diva, Bettie Page (among others) really are making nice reproduction items. It isn't all stretchy and cheap like it used to be. I do have some issues with repro though: its more common so more people will own that same piece and it can be expensive, just like vintage, so I would rather buy the real thing. At the end of the day I prefer vintage because I know that, for the most part, no one else will be wearing the same thing I am, and chances are I didn't pay much for something that I , hopefully, look amazing in.

So I guess I am wanting to start a bit of a discussion here. What are your thoughts about the current cost of vintage, whether you are a seller or a buyer? Do you feel that it is too high, or is it fair? Do you find yourself buying more repro, or would you rather pay the extra money for the real thing?And what about those of you that make a living selling vintage??? What do you base your prices on? And if you can't find real vintage, will you venture into 80s and 90s clothing? Or do something else all together?

Comment away!!

54 comments:

  1. I think some more recent popular tv shows have pushed the price of vintage through the roof.

    Like this beautiful dress: http://www.etsy.com/listing/103575892/rare-collectible-1940s-surfrider-tom-and?ref=cat3_gallery_11
    It is beautiful but is it REALLY worth the $1,195.00!

    I will say, for me, I am willing to pay a higher price for vintage items that are well made and well constructed than I would be for anything non-designer and modern. I try to think about it in terms, much like yourself, that it is a one of a kind piece and there will never be one just like it.

    For me, I have decided to start buying patterns and really invest in my sewing. I just purchase a pattern from 1957 last weekend and some vintage looking fabric. I can use the pattern hundreds of times. Maybe in the future I can purchase some vintage fabric!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That dress is gorgeous but the price is too high! No one will ever be able to afford it, so the seller will just wind up holding onto it until it falls apart I guess.

      My monetary limit is probably $200 for one item and it has to be amazing for me to spend that much! I guess it is all relative, but I still wish the prices would come down a tad. Especially on the more common things.

      Delete
  2. The prices are outrageous!!! I really think that is the long and the short of it. A lot of work does go into buying and selling (I've done it too), but I think vendors have lost all sense of proportion when it comes to their pricing. Yes, you are performing a service by finding/cleaning/p[reparing vintage clothes for resale. You are NOT saving the world. More than anything I am sick of the word "rare." Really, how rare is your Cole of California bathing suit? I just saw 25 people wearing it by the pool and we just found one at the thrift store for $1 (okay, that was a lucky find). You already know that I have taken up sewing (for Mary) and that way she gets a custom made, well-fitting, one-of-a-kind outfit that doesn't look too much like mass-produced repro (I hope). I have always loved vintage clothing but I think the price of and the obsession with "vintage" kind of takes all the fun out of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeez, I didn't mean to sound like such an angry jerk....hahahahaha!!!

      Delete
    2. I agree. If something is really, really rare than it is deserving of the price. But still, there is a limit! $150 for a cotton house dress is insane. The fun of it really is the thrift factor. Finding something for a steal has been what keeps me hunting. Dropping $500 is a little too easy, I think. I have paid good money for things, but rarely. I prefer to hunt for those hidden treasures!

      Delete
  3. I've been thinking about this a lot lately too, the other day in particular I was thinking how nice it would be to be a person that doesn't wear vintage because you probably don't spend your money as quickly as I do. You might buy things when there is a new season or if you need something but you don't have to constantly spend money if you come across something good - and you know you have to snag it up quickly if you do. The problem with that is, nowadays, vintage is sooo expensive. If you are going to snag something good it will most likely be in the $200 range which is a shit lot! I wouldn't walk into the mall and spend $200 on a sweater, but if its a particular cable knit 50's sweater with hot pink...I just might! I wish I had the patience to go thrifting, and up here in SF, you will rarely find anything good, if anyone does its Oran, but never me. Its all definitely getting rare to find things because we are ALL HOARDERS. And the few people I know selling off their personal collections are selling it off at insane prices! *insert rolling eyes here*. There are some things that I will drop some bucks for, mostly things for my swimsuit collection that I plan on recutting someday, so until then, I will just keep shopping in Teresa's closet. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should have included in my post the fact that we are all hoarders!! That is a valid point, because most of us are true collectors. We don't buy and sell, we just buy. That effects the amount of vintage out in the world big time.

      Your bathing suits will be worth major $$$ one day!! Totally hold onto them.

      I know that here in San Diego it virtually dry of vintage. I bet it is pretty picked over in San Francisco too.

      Delete
  4. I would have to say that the thrill of the hunt in finding and wearing vintage clothing is the true appeal for me. A couple Halloween's ago I decided to be a 1980's zombie prom queen and began my hunt for an 80's prom dress and nearby thrift stores only to find out they were already considered "vintage" and going for much more than I was willing to pay; especially since it was a dress I would potentially trash with fake blood. I did end up finding a 90's dress that matched the style I was looking for and ended up finding an awesome bedazzled Guess jacket from the 80's that ended up drawing in more of the compliments than the dress. Another factor for me is not just owning a part of history but supporting and buying products that were made in the USA. Yes, I know this can be a hard task to do diligently and I am just as guilty for purchasing from other countries but that won't stop my hunt. Price is a huge factor for me. However I am willing to shell out a little more if it's for a special occasion or has sentimental value.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love searching and finding treasures. That is definitely part of the main appeal for me. I like buying great things on a shoestring budget, and still looking fab. I do it with modern, mall shopped clothes too. Its like "how can I make this cheap Forever 21 blouse look unique and expensive?" Its fun. Being broke isn't.

      Delete
  5. Think about this. Someday there will be no vintage at all. I don't mean from the 50's and 60's I mean today's clothing 50 years from now! The clothing made today is sooooo cheap and crappy it falls apart. So that means the only vintage that will be around is the expensive designer pieces made to last. No more everyday clothing. How frighting! As for the problem now? I have never had much luck finding vintage that fits me perfectly, and I am a stickler for a perfect fit. This is why I make most of my clothing.Jeeze, I'm such a snob, arg.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I could make my own clothing I would. And it will be interesting to see what does survive in the future, because modern products in general are so cheaply made!!

      Delete
  6. As far as clothing goes, I really don't wear that much vintage. Things like hats and purses are what I like, and those (for whatever reason) seem to be cheaper and easier to find.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thats probably the way to go being that vintage is so darned expensive!!!

      Delete
  7. In the UK, while a lot of our vintage is expensive, there is also a lot of reasonably priced stuff, and I have got nice 50s dresses for £35 ($50) or less. I love the thrill of the chase, and rummaging to find that bargain is part of the fun. Paying 100's of £'s/$'s is just not an option for me and as a lifelong bargain hunter - I just could not justify the cost, no matter how nice it was. That, and we just don't get the weather for lovely summer dresses in the UK! I recently took a sewing class and have started making my own garments from vintage patterns. I also have a sister who can knit, and she recently made me a sweater from a 1949 pattern...this is far more cost effective and you still get something unique with the right look! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really wish I would've learned how to sew. It would be so much cheaper to make my own stuff. A lot of work though. No matter how expensive it becomes I will still look for bargains. Its just how I am.

      Delete
  8. While I love the 50's shapes and styles, my shape just wasn't prevelant back then. Aside from being heavy, I'm tall too. I gave up on finding vintage pieces that I like a long time ago. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay $95.00 for a crappy cotton house dress just because it's authentic and in my size. I may be big, but what I love about the era is the glamour, the classic and flattering shapes, and I want to wear them too! So, I've been having my stuff made for a long time now. I work with a seamstress who appreciates the fit and styles of the era and can work with out a pattern. At first I used only vintage fabrics, but people have caught on to that and now the prices for vintage yardage is out of control as well. I understand that sellers have to make a living, but I think a lot of them have really unrealistic expectations about what things are worth and some scrupulous ways of getting things. I've sold my dresses and things as I *ahem* "outgrew" them, and things I bought at $400 sold for less then that only to be relisted and sit stagnant on ebay for months at double the price. I've also seen and heard about some unsavory behavior at estate sales recently by vintage dealers who've become just like sharks. I'm talking pushing and shoving and straight stealing. Now, I don't even bother to go. What would be the point just to have someone weasel their way in to steal the one good deal left?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lola Devlin and Wacky Tacky up above make their own clothes too. And they do an amazing job at it! I would say that I have more of a vintage body type, being that I am petite, so my measurements work well for vintage. One of my best friends Beth has big boobs and a small waist and she has no luck! I can totally understand why some people would prefer repro or custom made clothes. Especially if you love the look but dont have a vintage body type.

      I sold vintage for a while and found the whole ordeal way too stressful. I will stick with doing what I do best-shopping!!

      Delete
  9. Interesting discussion and I've been thinking about it since I am both a buyer and seller of vintage. I feel a bit bad contributing to the higher priced phenomenon by selling some high-ticket items. I hate seeing the high prices on items just as much as you. And I feel a tinge of guilt when I price items high because those are usually the same items I want. So it's quite the dilemma!

    But I will price items high that I know are worth that much. I made the mistake of pricing items too low in the beginning and other vendors were buying items from me to re-sell. That bothered me because I wanted the joy of knowing it went into the hands of someone who really loves the item and wears it. So it has been a joy recently to sell some high-ticket items (in the $100-$290 range) to people who know the value of those items. The $290 dress was a designer dress from a Hollywood costume designer from the 50s. So for me I will research my items and usually price mine competitively compared to what's out there. Other times there are items I don't want to part with unless it gets the top dollar. That being said, I have a lot of items in my shop that are under $40. And I've sold quite a number of 50s and 60s dresses around or under that price.

    I've been wanting to learn how to sew so I can make my own dresses. I feel even more inclined to because of some weight gain I have a much harder time finding vintage in my size let alone in my price range. Becoming a vintage seller has definitely made me a more picky buyer and I haven't spent as much on vintage because of it. So that's been a plus side of selling vintage. It kind of curbs my vintage addiction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can appreciate your view as a seller who sells both high and low priced items. I think the main thing is to price them accordingly. I do not expect to buy a Shaheen for less than $200 (even though I have) but I do expect to pay no more than $60 for a no name cotton sundress. What bothers me is when things are misrepresented or so outrageously priced for what it is. There were a bunch of bathing suits on Etsy and Ooh La La recently priced near $300, and a lot of people, very nicely, asked the seller why she priced them so high. She said it was because she paid so much for them. Ok, but does that really make them worth $300??? No. I dont think so. If they are priced so high to begin with then maybe as a seller you shouldnt buy them because of the fact you will have to overcharge just to make some sort of a profit. All that does is jack up the price!!

      Thanks for responding btw! I am always interested to hear what the sellers think.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I totally agree with that. Some of the prices are just bonkers.

      Delete
  10. Hey there Holly,
    great post!

    And I totally agree with you on all the points you've made. The prices for authentic vintage items are way too expensive now -- and it's definitely sad to see such beautiful clothing never selling because no one wants to pay that much or they simply cannot afford it.

    Now, I have to confess something. I began dressing vintage in 2005 and a couple of months ago I made the decision to not fully commit to dressing 30s/40s/50s anymore. Honestly, I just became kinda bored with it. I still love the styles from those eras and will still incorporate my vintage collection into new outfits (I also do not plan on selling my vintage collection, it's pretty huge and most of the pieces are too unique and beautiful to get rid of), but I just don't want to restrict myself any longer. It eventually became like I was dressing for everyone else (you know, family, friends, strangers -- and they all loved it) and not so much for myself anymore. It was fun while it lasted and I loved it so, when I did, but now I definitely feel more free when it comes to fashion. I can wear skinny jeans and a simple blouse, but then add a pair of 1940s platform wedges and some 30s earrings. If I want to do something totally out there and different, I don't find myself rejecting it any longer because "women in the 40s did not wear that..." I can wear my nike's with some pinup shorts and a 50s top, with a high trendy bun and blue eyeshadow and be okay!

    And honestly, shopping is a lot more fun now! I mean, don't get me wrong, I still search for 40s dresses and 50s skirts and all, but now I don't ignore other cute items just because they aren't period correct. If I see a blouse from the 80s, with a super cute print, and it is at a reasonable price (I've noticed items from the 80s and 90s on Etsy are), then you bet I'll buy it! -- when I have the cash, that is.

    So I'm all for branchibng out and trying new fashion stylings!

    One more thing I'd like to add before I shut up, let's say I was still dressing vintage, and I was just fed up with the outrageous prices, I would rather go to thrift shops and look through the racks in there, than buy repro. I am not knocking them -- some companies make really nice elegant stuff -- but I just have a thing about having something someone else will have. Let me explain further (geez! it just never ends huh!) Say I walk into a Bettie Page clothing shop, and I spot a beautiful dress that has that 1940s flare, I'd still not buy it because there would be like 10 more behind it. Now, if it were a blouse or a pair of jeans, then I may go for it because I can make it my own with items from my personal collection.

    All in all, if you're committed to the vintage scene, then handle clothing like Miss Holly. Look for bargains, keep in shape, and have fun! And if you're furious with the recent prices, then explore other possibilities -- you don't need to ditch the scene neccessarily either! Us girls know (or should know) that fashion keeps getting recylced as years, decades go by. So if that 1940s flowered skirt is out of your price range, you may be able to find a skirt with that similar styling from later eras (50s, 60s, 70s, and so on) for a much lower amount to boot!

    Obviously, I can go on and on, but my comment will just become too ridiculously long.

    Once again, great post Holly! And it's really great seeing you post more frequently now too.

    - Sarah Joanne Salisbury

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am certainly no vintage purist! Today I am wearing Forever 21, Old Navy and Victorias Secret. Not a lick of vintage! I love real, true vintage but I also like modern styles. I really love incorporating modern into my vintage wardrobe, mostly with blouses, sweaters, and shoes. For me it is fun to be creative and not 100% authentic. On that not, however, I am just as cheap, if not moreso, with modern clothes as I am with vintage. Aside from my Miss L Fire shoes I do not buy designer. I still like to bargain hunt, even at the mall.

      Also, In the 13 or so years I have been dressing vintage I have changed up my style quite often. I went through a skinny jeans phase, a gothic phase, a 30s phase...it always changes but I seem to always go back to the 50s. I think it is what looks best on me. I will never be completely authentic though because I am too eclectic to only be one thing. I think that is normal though.

      Thanks for the comment Sarah!!

      Delete
  11. The prices of vintage clothing nowadays make me glad that I'm not "in the scene" anymore, sadly. I started back in 1999 or so, but started fizzling out around 2004/2005, when I (IMHO) started lightening up and wearing more modern pieces. As an active teacher working in a high school, vintage didn't cut it for me in the working environment. I ended up meeting and marrying my husband, who liked the style, but wasn't into it himself. My interests/priorities just changed, as I changed as a person. I dumped a ridiculous amount of money on vintage-everything back in the day, and I don't even want to know how much I could've saved if I wasn't so careless.

    Long story short, I look at some of the prices in that vintage FB group and I'm appalled. I can't imagine selling it at that price, or worse yet, paying for it. I, like you, was used to paying $25 - $30 for a day dress. I remember when $150 was the standard for a good Hawaiian dresses, during the non-VLV months, and 40's platforms ran you no more than $150 if they were really spectacular.

    I just don't feel like I could afford, or want to pay *any* of these prices if I was still wearing vintage all the time. I've sold off most of my vintage clothing and accessories, with the exception of a few sentimental pieces. I've held onto most of my furnishings, figurines, and definitely my kitchenware. If I were still doing it, I'd be sewing my clothing more often.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too remember when the most expensive things were Hawaiians, and how prices on everything got jacked up around Viva. Now Hawaiians are through the roof along with all the more mundane items too. If I would have known then what I know now I would bought it all up and hoarded it!

      I totally respect the choices you have made in your life as I am sure they have been for all the right reasons. People change and grow and what they used to love might not be as important as it once was. For me personally, I am still in whole heartedly and I don't see that changing. Even though I don't like the prices, I still love the clothes and I still love this "scene". I love the music, the dancing, the style, the culture...all of it. I have no intention to walk away, especially because my boyfriend is a musician, but moreso because I truly love it. I am always seeking out vintage, whether it be clothes, jewelry or housewares. Contemporary home furnishings are ugly to me. I have always been different. I have always been more attracted to the unusual things in life. I have always done my own thing, in a sense. I wouldnt be me if I didnt.

      Delete
  12. Ugh I'm totally with you there. I sell on Etsy as well as wear primarily vintage myself (though, my job dictates that I can't actually wear vintage for work, as being an archaeologist dictates wearing clothes that can get trashed). However, I have noticed how much vintage has gone up since I started buying in high school well over 10 years ago now (ahem). It's gotten increasingly harder to find vintage clothing both for myself and for my shop, unless I go way out into the middle of nowhere to find antique/thrift shops that are off the beaten path (not THAT difficult to do in New England). I've started to teach myself to sew, and have a few repro items (I do love how flattering a Vivien of Holloway dress is!).

    It's assuredly going to get harder and harder to find vintage clothing, and I'm not opposed to wearing the 80s does 40s/50s stuff that is out there if it really LOOKS vintage and isn't polyester. I have become less of a purist over the last year or two because of this. Since it's so hard to find reasonably priced vintage in stores now, buying online means being much savvier. As someone who does sell vintage as well, I realize how hard it is finding sufficient stock (and I do have a range of dates from the 40s-80s in my shop). Even bakelite is SO much more expensive than when I first started collecting when my aunt (who was a vintage lover herself and even sold some early 20th century hats to the costumer designer of the Titanic!) gave me some spacers when I was 10 years old. I think we'll all have to settle on the fact that we're going to have to start paying more or all become expert seamstresses. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG I wanted to be an Egyptologist growing up. I am still obsessed with all that stuff!

      I am totally fine with mixing modern clothes into my wardrobe. Don't do much 70s 80s though. Something about it just turns me off. Lord knows I love Forever 21 though!!

      Delete
  13. Vintage is getting more expensive for sure! When my sister was in college, she would buy me 10 dollar 50s cardigans and pendletons and now those days are gone! I think vintage is in right now (due to shows like Mad Men) and combined with the fact vintage is getting harder to find, the prices are going to reflect supply and demand.

    I too like Forever 21 (they have cute button down blouses and pencil skirts)! I also like Target for basics like cardigans and camisoles. I prefer 40s and 50s but I will shop for modern pieces that look vintage. I just bought my first pair of Miss L Fire shoes! They are a pair of flat sandals I bought on Trashy Diva. They are amazing! I can see myself getting addicted!

    As for vintage however, I will keep looking for the perfect combo of vintage for a good price. I know I need to learn to sew though! There are too many pretty vintage patterns I want to make!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to find a good seamstress. Not only to make custom items from vintage patterns, but to hem and take in all the loads of vintage I have that needs repairs. I would double my wardrobe if I did that!! lol

      I am loving Old Navy recently. They have a great clearance section.

      Delete
  14. I've been wearing vintage for over 20 years now so the prices for me now are shocking! However only really cos I'm broke and don't have a budget really so even some of the apparently cheaper items are out of my budget. I would pay up to $200 if I had it spare but no more than that.

    I love vintage, the cut, the fabric and the feel but I've been too big for much vintage stuff for a while now - though I have now lost 25lbs and back in some again!! - and that makes a difference. I'm lucky though I have always sewn, and so I have vintage patterns and vintage fabric, although again this is difficult to find now.

    I mostly make stuff now and splurge on vintage occasionally, however this may change the more weight I lose and the more that fits me!!

    I think sewing is the way to go. I have to say I am not a fan of most repro brands as I find the quality of material pretty poor and the prices quite expensive especially for the quality. I don't know why some repro brands use the material they do, it's not the construction alone of a garment that makes it but the fabric is key to how it hangs and feels, I HATE polyester!! I much prefer to improve my sewing skills and make made to measure 'vintage'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh dear making myself younger than I am, been wearing vintage for over 25 years, which means I'm OLD!

      Delete
    2. Congrats on the weight loss!

      I agree with you about the quality of material of most repro. Especially for the price! If I want a stretchy dress I will go to the mall. Part of what I love about vintage is the material and construction. You just cant beat it!

      Delete
  15. I agree with the insane pricing, I am a buyer and seller of vintage. I wear both vintage and reproduction, but your right reproduction clothing is very expensive. I can't even find a decently priced shirt waist dress anymore, they are starting at 45.00 or more and some of them are from the 80's marked 50's. That bugs me, if your going to sell vintage mark it correctly if you know anything about vintage clothing you would now the difference between a pair of shoe from the 50's and a pair from the 60's. When I sold clothing, I would go to thrift stores, I found some coats, but the clothing out here is mainly 60's I'm sure the people who work there get all the good stuff first. When I scored this great Eskimo coat at the Salvation Army the cashier was looking at it like how did this get out here. I agree vintage is disappearing, and I probably will just buy new clothes that have a vintage feel for me when that happens. Great topic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup. Even the thrift stores know what they have and are jacking up the prices. Sucks!!

      Delete
  16. Ok, you got me :) I can't resist putting my 2 cents worth in here! I too read the post in Ooh La La Vtg S&S that you mentioned, and with great interest. I am a vintage collector and seller in Australia, where believe you me, vintage is WAY more rare than in the US. I have 2 shops here, both stock all sorts of collectables but vintage fashion and hats too. My best stock always comes from American ebay, occasionally from etsy, with top-ups from local collectors. vintage is WAY more expensive here!! you guys just don't know how lucky you are, and your domestic postage is SOOOOO cheap!!! Our domestic postage is the same as your international, for starters. It is my understanding that your coastal towns and cities are fairly rubbish for thrifting vintage, and ours are much worse, from what I can tell! Most of my ebay buys come from the midwest, specifically Ohio, not sure why that is, maybe you can tell me? FYI I price my 50s cotton dresses (mint to VGC) at $145-$175, better fabrics maybe $185-$195, and for a spectacular party dress $225-$245. WE are considered cheap, VERY cheap. Most of my local competitors will buy from me at these prices, and turn around and double their money. Personally I'd rather sell a dress in 2-3 months at $150 than sit on it for 2-3 years and wait for $295, but thats just me. I wonder if you can tell me what your local vintage stores charge for similar?? My blog is www.kittysvintagekitsch.blogspot.com
    www.facebook.com/kittysvintagekitsch

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It makes such a difference where you live! I have heard that before about Australia along with the UK and Sweden. Its harder to find there so obviously that jacks up the price. I also know when I would sell things to Australia that the postage would be insane. I feel for you guys!!

      I live In San Diego and go to LA often. 10+ years ago this area was a vintage mecca. Now it is pretty picked through. There is like 1 vintage store in San Diego. Its really sad. When I lived in Denver I found all kinds of stuff at thrift stores-a mens gabardine 30s Hollywood jacket, a deadstock Dali tie, etc. For cheap too!! It is definitely less picked through in the midwest. I found lots in Kansas City and Wyoming. If you ever come here just hit up the midwest and you will do fine. Stay away from Cali and New York.

      Delete
  17. I adore vintage clothin but only have a few pieces for this very reason (plus I almost ALWAYS have to have the piece altered), ungodly prices! I will personally buy classically tailored items from the local department store, vintage inspired frocks from Bettie Page or Trashy Diva, and because I actually CAN-Whirling Turban! I'm not a purist but I am thrilled when I find something spectacular and I'll keep hunting. :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so lucky to have an "in" at Whirling Turban. I am so jealous!!!

      Delete
  18. What an interesting post! These are issues I've been thinking a lot about lately, and apparently I'm not alone.
    I've been reading a book the last few days called "Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion" by Elizabeth Cline. It's got me thinking about exactly what you mentioned...some day, maybe shockingly soon, there won't really be any more "vintage"! Obviously, we all know that the clothes from Forever 21, Old Navy & the like aren't made well and rarely survive more than a while, but this book explains that even a lot of the so-called "higher-end" designers are having to have their garments made more cheaply by cutting corners in manufacturing and quality of fabrics. The only clothes that are really, truly well made (like even the vintage clothes from Sears used to be) are made by a handful of ultra-high end designers and cost thousands of dollars. It's really a trip to think about...I also love me some Forever 21 (it's so nice to get something fun & fashionable for an affordable price!)but this book is making me feel a little less OK with the decision to spend my money in places like that. But what's the alternative, really? Serious food for thought...

    I've been collecting & wearing vintage since I was a senior in high school (which was *gulp* in the 80's) and I've definitely seen a slow & steady decline in the availability of vintage at thrifts & such, like I guess we all have. I also sell vintage on Etsy, and dealing with my Etsy shop is a full-time job. I spend sooo much time researching my items, as well as cleaning, and repairing almost every item. It drives me absolutely NUTS to see an Ebay seller like the one selling that Lew Magram dress. I used to spend all this energy writing to people like that, and politely trying to "educate" them, and I would get all worked up! It really isn't healthy for me, so now I try my best to just ignore them, but still! It makes my blood boil !!

    Pricing items is one of the hardest things I do. I don't want to be one of those crazy-high-pricing people, but at the same time I deserve to get paid for the time I spent hunched over the sink, the sewing machine, the ironing board...the time I spent standing in line, in the dark & cold, at 5:00 am, waiting for an estate sale to open...don't I?

    I just don't know what the answers are, except to try and be conscientious and thoughtful in my choices, both in buying and in selling.
    Thanks so much for a though-provoking post!
    Oh, and by the way...I think I'll do a blog post about the "Overdressed" book when I'm finished with it. If I do I'll let you know :-)

    I se

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want to read that book. I actually like stores like Forever 21 and Old Navy, because I feel they are priced correctly for what they are. They are cheap, good for one season clothes that are not meant to last. At least they are not overpriced like Bebe and department stores.

      I absolutely agree that a seller deserves to make money from the vintage they sell. i totally get how a seller has to clean, sew, mend, dry clean and list an item. I know how much time and effort that takes. Its a pain!! What I don't agree with is overpricing it for what it is. Be reasonable with the pricing. Also, be aware of what it is you are selling. Like the items I listed in my post, asking a ton of money for misrepresented clothes really ticks me off. Also, selling shoddy merchandise and not putting the damage in the listing. That really sucks!

      There really is no correct answer to the problem except for everyone to be more aware. There will always be shady sellers (and buyers too!). Its just the name of the game. At the end of the day I am thankful for sellers like you because without you I wouldnt have any clothes!!!

      Delete
  19. I had this same thought a few days ago.I am more into the 40's than the 50's and have some 50's style dresses and a few that are actually 50's everything else is 40's or 40's style.But I agree ebay and etsy are getting over priced and the repros I just can't afford till tax season.lol.Even then I second guess buying or leaving it alone.I am also finding vintage clothing and furniture is getting very hard to find.Sometimes I think it's because of all the new movies that are made about those eras the stars in the movies in the show turn it to a trend so everyone buys it up then get bored and just trash it.So what I have been doing for myself is keep looking and hope I get a deal or find something,try to find pieces that look the era I love as much as possible when I can't find the real thing, and buying vintage patterns making my own.What a great post.sorry my comment was so long.xx

    ReplyDelete
  20. I also started collecting when buying vintage was cheap and fun. I had to sell most of my collection to make it through college and I regret it. I will most likely never find another Swirl dress with tags still on, or another cashmere mink collared sweater. I have started sewing more, and also buying classic modern items that will look good paired with a vintage hat or something. The thought of no vintage makes me very sad, though.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I only want the real thing, no replicas, and I only wear vintage 50s dresses and nothing else. But yes, I definitely think the prices are much too high, some ridiculous high. Who can afford that? I usually allow myself to buy one semi expencive dress a month, but there is a limit to what I want to pay. 200$ is the most, and I do think it is too high, but there really are no other way to get the dresses for me, since I live in Denmark. Ebay and etsy are how I can get my hands on the dresses. The most I have payed was 410$ for a dress I have wanted for years, so when I saw it again, I didnt think twice. But I felt like I was robbed when I bought it. But I just had to have it this time.

    ReplyDelete
  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Holly,
    Totally agree with you regarding pricing - its getting beyond a joke - I was one of the people that commentent on the post about the red 4 way dress - but what I didnt say was the one i bought in January this year was only $30 (yes thats right a tenth of what this red one is listed for).

    I have started making my own clothes from vintage patterns and fabrics - so at least I know it will fit and no one else will have the exact same thing on when I go out dancing (or to work/down the shops for that matter) - its becoming harder and harder to find vintage that is reasonable and within budget.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't want to leave a mean comment on her post on OLL because I am not trying to hurt her business. However, I do think that dress is misrepresented and way over priced. I will leave that up to her and whoever buys it to figure out though. I will say, that when a seller does something like that it makes me aware of them in a negative way and I will not buy from them. Shes local too, but her prices are too high for me. Plus, if that dress is misrepresented it make me wonder what else of hers is.

      Delete
    2. Yes that’s why didn't say how much I had paid for it - I realise it’s a business and livelihood for her and good quality vintage is getting harder to find– but I’m with you – I have to question the other items and prices now.
      BTW love reading your blog – it makes my afternoon that much more enjoyable

      Delete
  24. I have had so many similar feelings about vintage. Boy do I love my vintage dresses, but some of them have cost way more than they should be worth because of the seller's need for a return on profit. As the consumer, I am willing to pay for a vintage dress (I know I will never see another like it)that is outrageously expensive because I love it so much even though I know I over paid. My fear is that I will pay $200+ for a dress and it will fall apart like you said and I will lose that one of a kind piece forever. I like how Dita Von Teese geniously reproduced some of her favorite vintage dresses in her wardrobe, which allows her to keep her real vintage dresses in great shape while still being able to enjoy the dress in a modern fabric but vintage style and design.

    ReplyDelete
  25. well ladies, people sell their EXPENSIVE none vintage clothing because of the body and not because of the item. People assume they are going to look like her so they buy the product.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I bought a sewing machine this year in the hopes that I will learn to sew and make myself those one of a kind vintage reproduction (hopefully with authentic vintage patterns). I only got interested in a retro look for myself a few years back but have not been able to do it as a daily thing yet. My problem is partly size, I am a plus size gal right now and do hit my local spots regularly, but almost never find anything in my size (except hats). I rarely see anything i like on the internet and am hesitant to order and have it not fit. On the rare occasions I do find clothing, it is way out of my price range. I'm on a tight budget, plus I hesitate at spending a lot since A) I seem to be going up a size each year, and B)If I get my act together and finally take the weight back off the $200 vintage dress won't fit either.
    Realizing this, I next looked into repro clothing lines, most of the ones that carry plus sizes are out of my price range too. I got the idea of sewing because every time I see a full figured diva rockin a retro look, I stop and ask where she got the item. About half the time it was homemade. Until I learn to sew I have had to settle for buying things in regular stores that have a retro feel to them or rocking my old hip-hop meets rock meets hippiechick meets lowrider meets 80s look.
    Lynn

    p.s. you're my new diet inspiration, I would soooo kill to have your figure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww thanks sweetie! However I do wish I were taller and curvier. I'm literally the size of a 12 year old.

      I know when I first got into all of this I would go to thrift stores and Buffalo exchange and search for anything that had that look. Pencil skirts are a basic and blouses too. Forever 21 and Old Navy have things that also have the look. Its mostly about being creative in how you style it. I studied vintage books and magazines and did my best to emulate the looks on a shoestring budget. I also look at Ebay every day. I am obsessed, but its a great way to find great deals. It takes time and effort but it is worth it. Also, hair and makeup go a long way, so even if what your wearing isnt vintage you can still have that look. Even when Im at work in leggings and dressings I still get comments about being into 50s. People can just tell I guess!!

      Delete
    2. yes, red lipstick, victory rolls, and hair flowerscan make anything vintagey.

      Delete
  27. I agree with you about the prices. Try being plus size on top of everything else. I recently saw a Kamehameha in a size XXL go for over $400. I've sold vintage for years and recently got out of the game because I cannot keep up and I cannot charge that much without feeling guilt. I've been sewing for 20 years. But, I've spent the last couple of years collecting vintage fabrics and honing my skills in vintage techniques and focusing in shirring, smocking, and boning. Instead of selling vintage, I plan to start reproducing vintage out of vintage patterns and material. There is still TONS of great fabric out there that is basically brand new.

    ReplyDelete
  28. it is collectors who are pricing themselves out. you love to find a bargain? well try selling with bargain prices too. if evrybody buys cheap and sells expensive in the hope of making profit/ a living from this, the circle will close very soon.
    i buy mainly 2nd hand, not obsessed in vintage just for the fact that it wouldnt fit me, nor would i pay the prices.
    i buy cheap stuff, and i also sell CHEAP.

    ReplyDelete

I love reading your wonderful comments and opinions!! Feel free to ask questions and I will happily answer them as fast as I can! Any negative comments will be deleted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...