How to become a pro at spotting sixties vintage clothes

November 10, 2020
Sixties Vintage Expert

One day while enjoying wine and cheese, my friend remarked at how gorgeous my outfit was. I was wearing a 1960s monochrome dress with a pussy bow collar. I proudly remarked that I had found it for a fiver.

“How do you do that?” she shouted almost frightening the couple to our left, “When I walk into a charity shop, all I seem to find is tat!”

What concluded was a long conversation, none of which, she remembered due to the many bottles of wine. So when I got home, I grabbed my notebook and jotted down our conversation to give to her the next day. She was over the moon with my drunken notes.

She seemed to take them very seriously even though my writing was barely legible. The next time we went for wine and cheese, she wore an ’80s polka dot cocktail dress.

“£6.” She smirked.

I was thrilled that it helped her so I decided to take my drunken notes and type it up into more sober bullet points for you. Although I’ve written them specifically for sixties clothes, the rules can be applied to any other era that takes your fancy.

How To Become A Pro At Spotting Sixties Vintage

1. Watch Movies

Did you know that the A-line shape was one of the most popular sillouttes of the 1960s? There were miniskirts, shift dresses and a whole boat load more styles that were popular during the era. My favourite way of getting to know the popular fashion designs is through sixties movies and looking at old photos. Begin exploring through my sixties style inspiration posts.

2. Know Your Shit

If you find someone selling a tracksuit, declaring that it’s 1960s true vintage. Bullshit. Tracksuits weren’t around until the seventies. This is why it helps to have a bit of fashion history knowledge to spot things that weren’t popular or even invented until after the sixties. For instance, if you find a dress with a label but without care instructions, you might be on to a winner. Care labels weren’t mandatory until after 1969. Head to your local library and read about fashion history. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to spot the little details no one else can spot.

3. Study the labels

Always check the label. A label can give a lot away. Sixties labels were often higher quality and mostly sewn rather than printed. Vintage Fashion Guild has one of the best resources for labels as well as information on fashion history.

4. Pick A Designer

If you want to look for the more valuable sixties clothes, it’s worth picking a designer and studying their work. After a while, you’ll be able to recognise their designs without the label or find lesser known boutique’s copies of their work. I have a few resources on how to spot original Mary Quant and Biba to get you kick started.

5. Go Shopping

Researching and looking at photos can only get you so far. Going to a trusted vintage boutique is the key to unlocking your sixties knowledge because it’s likely that the owner has already dated the clothes for you. In a boutique, you can get up close with the clothes and feel the fabrics. Look at the seams and the shapes. Being with original sixties clothes can help you get a better understanding of what was around at that time. If there isn’t a boutique near you, shop on trusted online vintage shops that specialise in sixties clothes.

6. Go Wild

When you feel confident enough, go. Search online auction sites, search in your local thrift, search, search and search. There wont be genuine sixties clothes in every charity shop and google search but that’s all part of the hunt. Always have your phone handy to google labels. If the label has been cut out, you’ll have to rely on your knowledge. It’s all trial and error, but in the end, you’ll find some absolute treasures.

For me, flicking through clothes for hours and finding something I’ve been searching for is pure pleasure. It’s also great cardio. Stick with it, and when you do find something great, let me know in the comments below!

P.S. If you’re a pure as snow ,vintage shopping virgin, here’s five things you need to know before starting a vintage collection.

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