The 13 Best Vintage Brands To Look For In 2022

by

HF Lanzer

Nike sweatshirt vintageAll brands are equal, but some brands can appear more equal than others in today’s media world, so that’s why we’ve put together our top 13 picks for you, so you can filter through the brand hype and get straight down to the nitty gritty of choosing a top vintage variety for your wardrobe.

Why vintage?

Vintage clothes are undoubtedly much funkier and far more creative than the mass-produced and conservative styles you’ll find lining the shelves today. The quality of an item from the 90s or 00s is so much higher than that of today’s offerings, and some brands that have made it on to our list produced so many stunning garms back in the day, they really do deserve to be celebrated and have their clothes worn with pride. We argue that the 13 brands on our list may have fallen off design-wise in our opinion with their new collections, thus leaving the door wide open for their vintage treasures.

What defines vintage?

A definition of the term ‘vintage’ is not easy to capture, as it is often used fluidly and vaguely by different industries to recreate the nostalgia of previous eras to suit their marketing agenda. Loosely speaking, a vintage item is not as old as an antique, but old enough, say 15–20+ years, to have senior credentials and to have been manufactured using processes from earlier days.

Nowadays, there is even vintage-inspired clothing available, so you do need to be careful when buying ‘vintage’ to check you really will be stepping into something which came out of the factory 15+ years ago, rather than a modern-day replica.

So, imagine taking a trip down memory lane and picturing the stock from these 13 brands fresh off the press in your local mall or sports store in the mid 90s00s – this is the type of vintage we are talking about.

Carhartt vintage jeans

1. Nike

Smart move that, to rename your brand after the Greek goddess of victory – a guaranteed path to podium, which is precisely where Nike has remained steadfastly with its retro heaters. A consistent brand, Nike has a wealth of vintage T-shirts, hoodies and coats in its locker, spanning the eras and styles of the day. Look out for a rarefied Blue Ribbon Sports collector’s piece, as the brand was known in its formative days.

vintage nike

2. Adidas

Resolutely remaining as ‘The Brand with the Three Stripes’, vintage Adidas sports apparel is always worth more than a second glance. Three stripes were all it took for the Adidas brainstorming marketeers to come up with the company’s iconic brand identity, and if the truth of the pudding is in the eating, then the truth of the brand is in the longevity as far as this famous name is concerned! Adidas vintage pieces are widely, available these days but look closely for sweatshirts and track tops from the 90s and 00s, as well as the much sought after Adidas Equipment gems – blink and they’ll be in someone else’s cart! 

vintage adidas

3. Reebok

The Reebok brand has certainly been on a journey since a British teenager first designed a pair of spiked running shoes in his Bolton bedroom. And the company was off! Over time, it has developed an amazing range of sporting collections, many of which carry the Union Jack to reference its origins. As always when buying a vintage brand, check the piece in your basket really is of an age to earn its ‘vintage’ stamp and do not accept modern equivalents. Reebok is what it is – enjoy!

vintage reebok

4. Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger vintage treasures ooze classic American cool – reds, blues and whites reinforce their transatlantic heritage and the knitted sweats and baggy tops give a wonderfully cosy relaxed fit. Keep your eyes peeled for a cheeky Tommy gilet or jacket on the vintage sites, but be warned: others in your household might just like to take it out themselves once you have done all the hard work of securing it for yourself!

vintage tommy hilfiger

5. Champion

The name says it all! A Champion garment really is a champion among friends and competitors alike! There are so many Champion short- and long-sleeved tees, tracksuit bottoms and shorts in circulation still today, they will put your eyes on full alert. You will be amazed by the magnitude of colours, eras, sizes, designs and stitching styles produced by this iconic brand, and now readily available for you to choose from – their only similarity being that C logo of quality and durability.

vintage champion

6. YSL

The YSL monogram is part of fashion history, and now just known as Saint Laurent Paris, it’s the original Yves Saint Laurent shirts and knitted jumpers which we are looking at here for all things vintage. A smart yet casual pre-loved YSL shirt is one of those classic items which no wardrobe can afford to be without. This really is the vintage brand which keeps on giving and we thoroughly recommend adding one of their quality olf-time threads to your arsenal today.

vintage yves saint laurent

7. Ralph Lauren

Ralphie, RL the brand with the horse and player with mallet raised, encapsulates the living of the American sports dream. If you’re not going ‘Full Ralphie’ shirt and trousers, we recommend their classy polos, zip-through hoodies and iconic rugby shirts for your browsing delight. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the occasional drop of a Polo Bear piece on a retro website – snap it up if you can. 

vintage ralph lauren

8. Fila

Every day is a ‘feelin’ a Fila’ kinda day in our opinion, and look no further in a search engine for a bunch of cheeky vintage fleeces, T-shirts and hoodies all proudly bearing the FILA stamp of approval. Like many other brands originally aimed exclusively at sportspeeps, these days a retro Fila piece is an essential fashion item to be worn proudly.

vintage fila

9. Stone Island

Stone Island does come near the top of most people’s clothing budget, it has to be said, but the joy of a vintage Stoney knit or sweater, is the sheer quality of its material. Those SI manufacturers did certainly not cut any corners as far as their cloth was concerned! We love fashion that is built to last, and picking up a vintage piece from a Stone Island reseller or recycler should give you many years of fun ahead you a lifetime.

vintage stone island

10. Lacoste

Lacoste is the star of the tennis court, just like its eponymous French founder Réné Lacoste, aka ‘crocodile’ was in his heyday in the late 1920s. His green reptilian logo is one of those marketing masterstrokes – inimitable, yet instantly recognisable. Let a piece of timeless retro Lacoste add a touch of style and confidence to your star quality today. Search for a stylish Lacoste branded jacket or polo shirt to help give your outfit a true taste of class from a byegone era.

vintage lacoste

11. Timberland

Timberland is far more than a pair of big yellow boots, and certainly deserves its inclusion in our best vintage brands listing. Why not meander along Timberland stunners up for grabs on the retro websites to discover a rugged, rustic and realistically priced sweatshirt or windbreaker for yourself or your outdoor companion. The logo of the land of trees certainly gets our seal of approval as far as top vintage brands are concerned.

vintage timberland

12. Fred Perry

If you haven’t got a clue what a laurel wreath is, think again! Chances are, as a vintage aficionado, you are familiar with this quintessentially British brand from the legendary tennis champion, Fred Perry. The laurel logo has been with us since 1952 and continues to exude integrity, decency, fair play and style whenever it is worn. Just like the sustainable pre-loved shorts, tees, tracksuit bottoms and more available to find today from most vintage resellers.

vintage fred perry

13. Carhartt

Carhartt workwear is the best! Vintage goodies abound with the Carhartt brand, so we suggest you start your search by looking for their pre-worn cargo trousers, jeans, pullover sweats and hoodies. One thing you can be sure of: anything boasting the vintage Carhartt name, was certainly made to last and this is exactly why it forms such an invaluable and enviable part of your retro wardrobe – a Carhartt secondhand steal from is most definitely a find for life!

vintage carhartt 

Conclusion/Takeaway

We know that brand loyalty is a thing, and you most likely will have your own fave brand, but we hope our look at a wider range of 13 amazing vintage brands, might help you widen your search criteria and discover new treasures in the world of vintage clothing. Remember that a vintage item from these brands is not the same as one of their modern day numbers, so we hope you will be pleasantly surprised by where the search engine leads you.

If you really want to showcase a retro brand at its best – say it loud, say it clear, wear a vintage spell-out to declare your love, we say!