Reviving Vintage Fashion: Practical Tips and Techniques
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Identify and Source Vintage Pieces
  2. Clean and Care for Vintage Clothing
  3. Repair and Restoration Techniques
  4. Alter Vintage Clothing for a Modern Fit
  5. Mix and Match with Contemporary Wardrobe
  6. Preserve Vintage Clothing for Future Use
  7. Sell and Buy Vintage Clothing Online
  8. Visit Local Thrift Stores for Hidden Gems
  9. Learn About Fashion History and Eras
  10. Share Your Vintage Fashion on Social Media

Times change, and fashion trends come and go, but the allure of the past is a constant. In the present day, we're seeing a strong vintage fashion revival, as style lovers turn to yesteryears for inspiration. This blog post is your guide to join this movement and bring a touch of nostalgia to your wardrobe. Now, let's get started!

Identify and Source Vintage Pieces

The first step in your vintage fashion revival journey is to identify and source vintage pieces. But how do you go about it?

Begin by familiarizing yourself with different vintage styles. Look for fashion magazines from different eras, watch classic films, or browse through fashion history books. This will help you identify key elements of vintage fashion, such as the flapper dresses of the 1920s, the pencil skirts of the 1950s, or the bell-bottoms of the 1970s.

Once you have a grasp of the styles you like, it's time to start sourcing. A good place to start is your family's attics or basements — you never know what fashion treasures might be hiding there!

Next, try local flea markets and garage sales. These are goldmines for unique and affordable vintage pieces. Remember, the early bird catches the worm, so get there early for the best picks.

Finally, don't overlook online platforms. Websites like eBay and Etsy have a wide range of vintage clothing. Make sure to use precise search terms like "1960s mod dress" or "1940s men's suit" to find what you're looking for.

Tip: When sourcing vintage pieces, pay attention to the condition of the clothing. Look for any signs of damage, such as stains, tears, or missing buttons. Don't let minor damages deter you, though. Many issues can be fixed with some basic repair and restoration techniques, which we'll cover in the next section.

With these tips in your arsenal, you're well on your way to kick-starting your own vintage fashion revival. Happy hunting!

Clean and Care for Vintage Clothing

Now that you've sourced some fantastic vintage pieces, it's time to learn how to clean and care for them. Remember, these clothes have a history, and you want to keep them looking their best for as long as possible. Here's how to do that.

Firstly, read the care label carefully. If it says "dry clean only", please respect that. Many vintage fabrics can't withstand the agitation of a washing machine. If there isn't a care label, err on the side of caution and dry clean.

For those clothes that can be hand-washed, use a gentle detergent and cold water. Gently swish the clothing around in the water, then rinse thoroughly. Avoid wringing out the clothes as this can damage the fabric. Instead, gently squeeze out the water or roll the item in a clean towel.

When drying your vintage clothing, avoid direct sunlight or heat. Lay the piece flat on a clean towel and reshape it as necessary. Remember, vintage pieces can be delicate, so handle them with care.

Proper storage is also key in vintage fashion revival. Store your vintage clothes in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Use padded hangers for heavy items like coats to maintain their shape. For delicate items like silk dresses or blouses, consider storing them in garment bags to protect them from dust and insects.

Tip: Mothballs can help protect your clothes from insects, but they can also leave a strong smell. Consider using cedar blocks or lavender sachets as a natural and fragrant alternative.

With these tips, you can ensure that your vintage pieces stay in great condition, ready for you to wear them with pride. After all, part of the charm of vintage fashion revival is the rich history that each piece brings with it.

Repair and Restoration Techniques

So, you've found a stunning vintage piece, but it needs a little TLC. Fear not! Repairing and restoring vintage clothing is a big part of the vintage fashion revival. Here are some handy techniques to restore your finds to their former glory.

Firstly, assess the damage. Is it a minor repair like a missing button or a loose seam? Or it is something more complex like a tear or a stain? If it's a minor repair, you might be able to fix it yourself with a needle and thread. For more complex repairs, consider seeking help from a professional tailor or a dry cleaner who specializes in vintage clothing.

When it comes to cleaning stains on vintage clothes, patience is key. Test any cleaning method on an inconspicuous area first to make sure it doesn't damage the fabric or fade the color. In many cases, a gentle hand wash with a mild detergent can do the trick. For stubborn stains, a stain remover can be used, but again, test it first.

For those vintage pieces that have yellowed with age, a soak in a solution of water and oxygen-based bleach can help brighten them up. However, always make sure to read the label on the bleach to ensure it's safe for the fabric type.

Got a vintage piece with a musty smell? Try airing it out outside on a dry, sunny day. If the smell persists, a solution of water and vinegar can help neutralize odors. Again, test on an inconspicuous area first.

Important: Always handle your vintage clothes with care when repairing or restoring them. Remember, these pieces have survived decades, and with the right care, they can continue to be a part of your vintage fashion revival journey.

Alter Vintage Clothing for a Modern Fit

One of the challenges of the vintage fashion revival is that sizing and fit from past decades can be quite different from today's standards. But don't let that discourage you! With a little creativity and some basic sewing skills, you can alter vintage clothing to fit you perfectly.

If you're a bit handy with a needle and thread, you can make minor adjustments yourself. Taking in a waist, shortening a hem, or even changing buttons can make a significant difference to how a garment fits and feels. Keep in mind, though, to always respect the integrity of the piece — its vintage charm is part of its appeal!

For more complex alterations, like resizing a dress or adjusting a jacket's shoulders, you might want to consult a professional tailor. They have the skills and knowledge to alter your vintage finds without damaging them. Plus, they can provide advice on what changes would work best for your body shape and personal style.

Remember, one of the joys of the vintage fashion revival is making a unique style statement. So, don't be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to alterations. A long vintage skirt can become a chic midi skirt, or an oversized vintage shirt can be transformed into a stylish dress. The possibilities are endless!

With a bit of imagination and a few alterations, you can breathe new life into vintage clothing and make it a perfect fit for your modern wardrobe.

Mix and Match with Contemporary Wardrobe

So, you've found some amazing vintage pieces, and they fit like a dream. But how do you incorporate them into your current wardrobe? The key is to mix and match. You don't have to go full-on vintage all the time. In fact, one of the best ways to celebrate the vintage fashion revival is to blend old and new.

Start with one vintage piece and build your outfit around it. For example, pair a vintage blouse with your favorite skinny jeans and ankle boots, or style a vintage skirt with a modern top and statement necklace. This way, you highlight the vintage piece without letting it overwhelm your look.

Another fun way to mix and match is by using accessories. Vintage hats, scarves, jewelry or bags can add a touch of retro charm to a contemporary outfit. On the flip side, modern accessories can also give a fresh twist to a vintage ensemble. How about pairing a 50s dress with some cool sneakers? Or a 70s jumpsuit with a sleek, minimalist handbag?

Remember, fashion has no rules, especially when it comes to the vintage fashion revival. It's all about expressing your personal style and having fun with it. So, go ahead and experiment. You might be surprised by the stylish combinations you come up with!

Preserve Vintage Clothing for Future Use

Keeping your vintage finds in great condition is an important part of the vintage fashion revival. After all, these pieces have already stood the test of time — they deserve to be well taken care of!

First things first, always check the care label before washing any vintage piece. Some items may require dry cleaning or hand washing. Use a gentle detergent and avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the fabric. For delicate items like lace or silk, consider using a mesh laundry bag.

When it comes to storage, avoid hanging heavy items like coats or dresses as this can stretch the fabric. Instead, fold them neatly and store them in a cool, dry place. Moths are the enemy of vintage clothing, so consider using cedar balls or lavender sachets to keep them at bay.

And don't forget about your vintage accessories! Clean and polish vintage jewelry regularly to prevent tarnishing. Store them in a jewelry box or organizer with separate compartments to prevent scratches.

If a vintage piece gets damaged, don't panic! Small rips or loose buttons can be easily fixed. For more serious damage, consider seeking help from a professional. There are many restoration services available that specialize in vintage clothing.

Treating your vintage clothes with love and care not only ensures they'll last for many more years, but it also helps keep the spirit of the vintage fashion revival alive. So, here's to many more years of rocking that vintage style!

Sell and Buy Vintage Clothing Online

There's no doubt about it: the internet has made the vintage fashion revival more vibrant and accessible than ever. Whether you're looking to expand your collection or part with a few cherished pieces, online platforms can be a game-changer.

Starting with the buy side, sites like Etsy and eBay are treasure troves of vintage finds. From 1950s cocktail dresses to 1980s band tees, you'll find a wide range of items to suit your style. When buying online, pay close attention to the item description and photos. Don't be shy about asking the seller questions. And remember, vintage sizing can be drastically different from modern sizing, so always check the measurements.

On the flip side, if you have vintage pieces you're ready to part with, selling online can be a great option. Take clear, well-lit photos of your items and include a detailed description. Be upfront about any flaws to avoid unhappy customers. Pricing can be tricky, but a quick search can give you an idea of what similar items are going for.

While it might take a bit of time and effort, buying and selling online can be a rewarding part of the vintage fashion revival. Who knows, you might even find your new favorite piece or make someone else's day with a piece from your collection!

Visit Local Thrift Stores for Hidden Gems

Thrift stores are like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get! They can be a goldmine for vintage fashion revival, often housing pieces that are unique and full of character. You can find items that no one else will have, making your style distinctively yours.

When you visit a thrift store, keep an open mind. Look through all the racks, even those that might not typically align with your style or size. Remember, vintage clothing sizes can differ greatly from modern ones. Plus, oversized clothing can be a trendy, comfortable choice. It's all about seeing the potential in a piece, not just its current state.

Look out for quality fabrics and craftsmanship. Natural fibers like cotton, silk, and wool have stood the test of time and are likely to hold up well. Similarly, well-made clothes, even if they need a bit of mending, are worth the investment.

Lastly, don't forget to enjoy the process. Thrifting is not just about the finds but the thrill of the hunt. And when you score that perfect piece for your vintage fashion revival, it's all the more satisfying.

Learn About Fashion History and Eras

Knowledge is power, and with vintage fashion revival, it's the key to a well-curated wardrobe. Understanding the history of fashion and different eras can give you a better idea of what to look for and how to style your pieces.

Consider the roaring 20s with its flapper dresses and beaded headbands. Or the 50s, where circle skirts and pin-up styles reigned supreme. Not forgetting the vibrant, free-spirit styles of the 70s that brought us bell-bottoms and tie-dye prints. Each era has its unique styles, silhouettes and key pieces.

Having a grasp on these different fashion eras can help you identify vintage pieces when shopping. It can also give you ideas on how to style your vintage finds in a way that's true to their time, yet fresh and modern. For instance, you might pair a 70s peasant blouse with high-waisted jeans for a boho-chic look. Or style a 50s circle skirt with a simple tee for a fun, playful outfit.

Learning about fashion history is not only useful, but it's also fun! It's like a trip back in time, tracing the evolution of style, society, and self-expression.

Share Your Vintage Fashion on Social Media

Once you've mastered the art of the vintage fashion revival, it's time to strut your stuff and share your unique style with the world. Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are perfect for showcasing your vintage outfits and generating interest in vintage fashion.

Start by taking photos of your outfits. You don't need a fancy camera—a smartphone with a good camera will do just fine. Try to capture your outfit in natural light, as it gives the most accurate representation of colors. Experiment with different angles and poses to show off the unique details of your vintage pieces.

When posting your photos, use relevant hashtags like #VintageFashion, #Thrifted, #FashionHistory, and of course, #VintageFashionRevival. These tags can help your posts reach more people who share your interest in vintage fashion.

Sharing your vintage fashion on social media not only allows you to express your personal style, but it also helps to inspire others and keep the vintage fashion revival alive and thriving. Who knows, you might just become the next big vintage fashion influencer!

If you're passionate about reviving vintage fashion and want to learn more about incorporating unique styles into your wardrobe, check out the workshop 'Queering Fashion: From Dress Codes to Wardrobe Hacks' by Lou Croff Blake. This workshop will provide you with practical tips and techniques to create a distinctive and inclusive fashion sense, which can help you make a statement with your vintage-inspired outfits.