Are ordinary punters being priced out of vintage fashion?


1950s fashionIsn’t it always the way. Classic economics is a bugger. For years and years vintage fashion has been as cheap as chips, with nobody except the eccentric and brave wearing it. Now it has gone mainstream and prices are rocketing as demand increases and supply shrinks.

£90 for a pair of 1980s jeans? Blimey!

There are masses of vintage fashion shops in Brighton, most of which are pretty good value. But there are more and more couture / designer vintage stores popping up and some of the prices are seriously stupid.

Would you want to pay £80-£90 for a pair of 1980s jeans? Or £120 for a simple 1950s cotton dress? Ridiculous. It looks like there are some  money-grabbing retailers out there. Oh, and let’s not forget all those people who are daft enough to pay hugely inflated prices for second hand clothes.

Older vintage fashion getting rarer and more expensive

Unless you’re very lucky, getting hold of clothing from 1940s, ’50s and ’60s at a reasonable price is becoming more and more of a challenge. On the bright side there are still plenty of cheaper and more cheerful vintage outlets, selling mostly 1980s clothing and later.

The ones to watch out for are the shops whose owners bulk-buy container loads of clothing from the USA. I imagine they cherry-pick the more expensive items and display them separately but the rest often look like it has just been unpacked and hung straight on the rails, not even ironed. We have several shops like that in Brighton, where 1980s jeans are more like £25 than £90.

Finding vintage bargains

My friend Jane, who I’ve talked about before, runs Disgraceland in Middlesbrough. She sells a lot of her stock through Ebay and Asos, and it’s all excellent value for money. There isn’t a great deal of spare cash in the town, and her prices directly reflect the shop’s location and customer base. London vintage outlets, on the other hand, tend to be a lot more expensive. And when celebs shop there, prices can fly sky high.

A good few of our local charity shops have special vintage sections, with prices much lower than specialist shops. It’s also perfectly possible to pick up newer stuff from the past few seasons, a tiny bit behind the catwalk curve but still on-trend. Not vintage, but not new either.

One good alternative… have you asked your granny if she’s hung onto any of her old outfits? Or even your mum? You never know, they might be the source of some real vintage fashion treasures.

Here are some bargains I’ve come across recently:

  • vintage flat lace-up shoes in camel and cream leather – £16
  • a gorgeous 1960s pencil skirt in brown lace – £8
  • a vintage M&S wool cardi in multicolours on a black background – £4
  • a green tweed flat cap for a fiver
  • a very smart 1960s cropped, 3/4 sleeve jacket in a deep, shiny blue – £2

What’s your latest and best vintage bargain?


About Author

I’m Kate. I live just outside Brighton, high up on the South Downs, with my husband Tony and our three cats. I’m dedicated to saving money, spending less, buying wisely, cutting waste, re-using, recycling, re-purposing and generating cash from the stuff I no longer want.

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