Why is Vintage Clothing so Popular?


HF Lanzer

Vintage clothing style

Fact: Vintage clothing has grown exponentially in both popularity and accessibility over the past five years. Rightly so, in our book. For an article of clothing to be classified as ‘vintage’ wear it must have been manufactured 20 or more years ago, and our blog What is Vintage Clothing? is a great place to start an investigation into this genre of apparel, so you can fully understand the garments we’re talking about here.

The short answer as to why vintage clothing is so popular nowadays, is predominantly down to its very style. Vintage apparel offers the buyer and wearer an excitingly diverse range of ready-made and pre-loved pieces of clothing, which come complete with integral uniqueness and quality.

These vintage wardrobe heaters provide an instant way for the wearer to stand out from the crowd, while confidently repping an item that no-one else will be wearing on any given day. Not only this, but the designs, the fit, the colours, the quality and the environmental benefit which vintage clothes provide, all contribute to why the world of vintage clothing has become so popular. Why on earth would anyone NOT want to shop vintage, should in fact be the question we’re answering today! But, fair game, let’s go into more detail now, just in case the doubters persist, and let’s take a longer look into why vintage is streets ahead of newly manufactured clothing.

Vintage clothing style

Why is Vintage Clothing Better Quality?

Chiefly, the material used in the manufacture of vintage clothing was, by default, of higher quality than that used today. Simple answer, right? Well, manufacturers these days often use newly developed and cheaper materials in order to cut their costs all along the supply chain, but this wasn’t the case in previous decades. In earlier times, clothes were principally made to last, which meant turning to durable materials for their production, so the end results could be washed and worn multiple times without falling apart. Fast forward to the modern world of Fast Fashion with its items designed for a one night only outing and see how skewed the clothes industry has become.

An additional factor in the durability of vintage clothing, is simply down to its design, which used techniques geared towards re-use. Seams were often stronger and more carefully finished, with buttons and other fastenings being securely attached or easily reattached by hand, if necessary. This attention to detail is often lacking in modern clothing, which is mass-produced at speed, with less care taken, as its rationale is simply to be sold for a quick in and out appearance on the fashion scene.

Vintage clothing style

Why is Vintage Clothing More Unique?

Vintage clothing heralds from a specific past era and style, which you can simply no longer find in stores today – it is not being manufactured any more. This means that it would be highly unlikely for you to come across someone else wearing the exact same sweatshirt or t-shirt as yourself on any given occasion. Also, vintage clothing often incorporated unique details and stitching into its designs that you would not find among the modern-day counterparts. For example, vintage dresses may have been designed with intricate beading and embroidery while slogan hoodies were imprinted with the specific techniques, capabilities and demands of the era.

But there is yet more to the popularity of vintage clothing. A key and much-loved element is our nostalgia for the past, and the fact that each and every preserved piece of vintage clothing tells a story is a big winner – these items have been around on the planet for a long time and survived through many life experiences. With so much mass-produced fashion on the market, it really can be refreshing to put something on which comes complete with a bit of history and character. 

Vintage clothing style

Why is Vintage Clothing Environmentally Friendly?

If we return to the definition that vintage clothing encompasses any item of apparel which is over 20 years old, then the environmentally friendly box is automatically ticked. There is nothing new and damaging about this sector, as its clothes are already in existence. Today, a techno material, such as polyester, may be used to save costs, but its price to the environment as an un-biodegradable fabric certainly gives pause for thought.

All vintage clothing items have already been through their initial production phase, requiring a huge amount of energy and other resources at that time, granted, but by continuing the lifespan of these items, their damage to the environment is stopped in its tracks. In contrast, new clothing continues to go through the entire production process afresh, consuming ever-decreasing natural resources to do so … before sadly ending up in the landfill dumps across the globe.

With these points in mind, through buying vintage clothes you are facilitating the reuse of  fabrics, which might otherwise end up unwanted, discarded and unloved. These old school materials were most likely produced from sustainable fibres, such as wool, linen and cotton, and certainly deserve to be given a future in somebody’s wardrobe.

Vintage clothing style

Why are Vintage Clothing Designs Better Than New Designs?

Vintage clothing has a certain charm and nostalgia that is hard to find in contemporary designs. The designs back from the 80s90s and even early 00s from brands, including NikeAdidas and Fila, were so much bolder, more vibrant and had a much greater sense of uniqueness, than the clothes pumped out these days by these same brands. We’ve talked to many customers and they can’t exactly quite pinpoint why the vintage designs are cooler, but they say, ‘there’s just something about them’.

Vintage clothing style

What Makes The Vintage Fit So Appealing?

Popular vintage clothing is often baggier and more generously oversized than today’s slimmer styles, which can be quite fitted and body-hugging. The looser vintage fit is often more flattering and comfortable, especially for people who do not want to accentuate every curve. In other words, vintage style is all about looking good, without trying too hard. And that's something we can all get behind. Check out our blogs Why Is Overszied Clothing Trendy, Everything You Need To Know About Baggy Vintage Style and Where To Buy Baggy Clothes.

Let’s take the Nike sweatshirt, for example. You can see on the left how a Nike sweatshirt from the 90s fits and then on the right how a modern Nike sweatshirt fits. The looser cuffs, the wider chest and the baggy sleeves from the 90s Nike sweat all contribute to give that aesthetically pleasing vintage style we’ve all come to love. 

Vintage clothing style


Maybe the popularity of today’s vintage clothing simply comes down to the fact that vintage apparel is often better made than today’s easy come, easy go fashion designs, or maybe it is the fact that vintage styles tend to be more flattering, thanks to their relaxed and casual fit. Whatever the reason, there is no denying that vintage clothing and style is experiencing a moment of popularity. And there is no better time than now to jump on the bandwagon. Thanks to a growing number of vintage retailers, it is easier than ever to find vintage clothing that fits both your style, your size and your budget. So, why not give vintage a try? You might just find that you prefer the fit of an oversized cardigan or a baggy pair of jeans to today’s tighter-fitting styles.

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