Everyone needs a hobby, and some people gravitate toward the art of collecting. If you miss the 80s or didn’t experience them, but love their style, you should consider collecting clothing from the era. Becoming a collector of 80s vintage clothing is easy, you just need to buy clothes.
What Is Considered Vintage?
There are a few words we use to describe items from the past.
Antique denotes something that is 100 years or older. Items from the 1920s and earlier qualify as antiques at this time.
Vintage is anything less than 100 years old, but older than 20 years old. Anything from 1999 to 1920 is considered vintage.
The word “retro” is oftentimes used in place of vintage. These two words can be used interchangeably, but vintage is more commonly used in the collecting circles of the world.
The fashion of the 80s was quite bold compared to earlier years.
Power was a major component in design processes. Silhouettes were created to make women and men alike feel taller, more powerful, and more confident.
Shoulder pads, high-waisted jeans, and blazers were popular in everyday fashion applications. In the music scene, there was a lot of big hair, excessive jewelry, colored tights, and leather.
The most common scene that comes to people’s minds when they think of the 80s is the workout fashion. It was very common at the time to wear a leotard to workout in. You could have tights under the leotard, or you could let your gams be front and center.
Due to the lack of pants when working out, leg warmers came into fashion to keep the exerciser at a comfortable temperature without getting in the way of their sweat session.
While jelly shoes saw a rise in popularity during this time, the most popular footwear of the 80s was the sneaker. This decade sparked sneaker culture and made a lasting impression that is still felt today.
Before You Begin Collecting
You’re eager to start your collection, and rightfully so, but there are a few things that you need to know and consider before beginning a vintage clothing collection.
You need to have a goal in mind before you begin collecting. Is this collection for your personal use, or is it strictly monetary? Similar to collecting other forms of nostalgia, collecting clothing can go either way.
If you plan to wear your collection, you want to keep that in mind every time you purchase an item. Do you like the look of the item? Does it align with your personal style? Will the item fit you? Vintage sizing is very different.
When you’re mostly concerned with the profit of your collection, there’s another host of things to consider. You’ll need a mannequin for displaying your clothing for sale, and any piece you purchase will need to fit the mannequin. For every purchase, you’ll need to consider the value of that item and if it will appreciate or depreciate with time.
Now that your goals are set, you’ll need to consider the finances of your clothing collection. You may have to take some time and save up money before making your first purchase.
Sure, you can scour the thrift stores and charity shops and find great deals on vintage clothing, but time is money. Searching for a great deal can be very time-consuming.
Do you have the proper place to store these items? Vintage clothing should be hung in a well-ventilated, pest-free area. You may even have to invest in special hangers for these items. Especially for items with shoulder pads, it’s essential that garments have the proper support to maintain their shape.
You don’t have to store each item in a garment bag. In fact, garment bags are often frowned upon because they can trap moisture inside of the bag, damaging the garment they are meant to protect.
To protect the value of high ticket items, you may want to store them separately from the rest of your wardrobe. If your collection is purely for your enjoyment, there’s no harm in storing vintage clothing alongside modern clothing.
Finally, you need to consider connections. With the internet at our fingertips and in our pockets, it’s pretty easy to purchase whatever we want from across the globe.
However, many retailers will market an item as vintage when it is only vintage-inspired. Giving the clothing’s pictures a once over while looking at the listing just isn’t enough to prove it is vintage. Even advanced collectors have a hard time looking at a picture on the web and determining which era the item is from.
Being able to look at the clothing and feel it in your hands is a more telltale way to determine if something is vintage.
It certainly helps to have friends that are also collectors. This is something you can definitely obtain online. Using good judgment, you can make friends online and meet up with them to observe their collection. They could even become your mentor, teaching you everything you need to know about 80s fashion.
You also need connections to sell your vintage fashion. Opening your own storefront, whether it’s online or in real life, you’ll only be successful if you have customers. It helps to have a large social media following. When you’re in the early stages of collecting, you should begin promoting yourself and your intended brand as soon as possible.
Where to Find 80s Fashion
Finding 80s fashion today isn’t nearly as difficult as finding other authentic pieces from decades such as the 50s.
One of the simplest ways to find vintage clothing is to ask around. There are so many people who fail to clean out their closets, or they hold on to certain items for various reasons. The piece could hold sentimental value, or the owner could believe there is a high market value for the item.
Whether you were around to enjoy the 80s or not, you probably know someone who was. These people could be your mother, grandmother, neighbors, or even random people in your community.
These people may even let you obtain the items without purchasing them. There are so many people who would love to, and need to, clean out their closets, but they just don’t have the time or energy.
You can help alleviate that strain by offering to clean out their closet of whatever vintage items you want.
If you’ve managed to make some friends in the collecting world already, you could turn to them for clothing. When you purchase from a friend, you can give yourself a pat on the back for supporting small business.
There is a certain level of trust among friends, and that trust is even greater among friends that collect. You can rest assured that you’re getting a fair price, and at least you know where to turn if the item turns out not to be as valuable as you believed.
The next place you can look for vintage items is the thrift store. These stores sell all kinds of things for under the purchase price, simply to get them out of the store.
As you paw through the racks of clothing, keep the style of the 80s in mind. If something looks vintage, it often is. It’s extremely helpful to bring along your smartphone.
When you spot an item that appears to be from the 80s, check the tag on the clothing and type the brand name and any relevant information such as the clothing line into your search engine.
You’ll quickly obtain web results that will tell you when and where the item was produced. The mid 80s saw the rise of overseas outsourcing for mass production. Unlike other eras where you can easily decipher how old it is by where it was made, the 80s and more recent years make this a little more difficult.
Keep in mind with these stores that you often pay for what you get. For every fantastic, mint condition item you find, you’ll encounter 10 items that are in disrepair.
Thrift stores and charity shops often do not have fitting rooms. To ensure your items fit, you’ll need to bring along measurements and measuring tape.
The measurements to consider depend on the goal of your collection. If you plan to wear the items, measure yourself at home before leaving for the store, and write your measurements down.
If your items are going to be displayed on a mannequin, you’ll need the stationary object’s measurements. Usually the measurements for a mannequin are printed on the body in an inconspicuous spot, or they come on the packing slip when the item is sold.
For every item you seriously consider purchasing, measure the garment. This might seem like a silly thing to do in the middle of a crowded shop, but thrift stores often have an “All sales are final” policy. You don’t want to purchase something that just won’t work with your collection, only to have nowhere to return it to.