Vintage vs Second-Hand Clothing: The Differences

Vintage vs Second-Hand Clothing: The Differences

Vintage vs. Second-Hand Clothing: What’s the Difference?

The phrases ‘vintage’ and ‘second-hand’ are terms that are thrown around the fashion industry and often interchangeably. Over recent years shopping for second-hand clothing and finding hidden vintage gems in charity shops has grown increasingly popular. But, many find themselves confused by what these two terms actually mean and how they are different from each other.

Generally, vintage and second-hand means buying clothes that have been owned and worn by someone else already, but that’s where the similarities end. Here, we’ll be looking at what differentiates the two and why buying vintage or second-hand clothing is better than buying new.

What Does Second-Hand Clothing Mean?

By definition, second-hand clothing refers to clothing that has been previously owned. Whether it was bought last year or five years ago, it doesn’t matter how old the item is or how many people have owned it beforehand. If it isn’t new, it’s classed as second-hand as this is the broad category term for pre-loved clothing.

Typically, second-hand items are more affordable than buying brand new, but it can depend entirely on the retail value and the quality. For example, second-hand designer handbags that have been used once or twice and are still in fantastic condition can still cost hundreds (or even thousands in some cases) of pounds. While it will be slightly less expensive than brand new, there won’t be a huge difference.

Second-Hand Yves Saint Laurent Clutch

What Does Vintage Clothing Mean?

Vintage clothing refers to items that were manufactured in a different era with the most recent being the 1990s. As much as the younger generation may say, the early 2000s are not classed as vintage just yet! Vintage clothing can date back as far as 75 years, anything that’s 100 years or older will then be labelled as ‘antique clothing’. From 1970s disco to 1950s swing, each era has its own distinct style which is why vintage clothing is so popular. 

This type of clothing often has a premium price tag that reflects the age, the condition, the brand and the rarity of the piece. You can almost guarantee that a Chanel handbag from 50 years ago will cost more than a new one as it’ll be seen as an investment or collector’s piece. One thing to remember when shopping for vintage pieces is doing your research and making sure that the item is actually vintage. Many companies advertise their items as ‘vintage-style’ which can easily confuse consumers so be careful.

Are all Vintage Clothes Second Hand?

Because of their age, many vintage pieces are second-hand but not all. You may have heard or seen the term ‘new vintage’ floating around which are clothes designed in a vintage era such as the ‘60s or ‘70s but have never been worn. These pieces are extremely rare and are usually more sought after than regular vintage pieces – especially if they’re designer with original tags.

Why is Buying Vintage or Second-Hand Clothes Better than New?

There are a number of reasons why buying vintage or second-hand clothing is better than buying something new. Firstly, it’s much more sustainable as instead of simply throwing items away to end up in landfill, you are giving it a new life and a chance to be worn and loved again. Those looking to build a sustainable wardrobe will focus on slow fashion rather than fast fashion which will do wonders for the environment. You may also find that these items are of higher quality as vintage clothing was made to last.

Owning second-hand and vintage clothing offers an individual and quirky style that many will admire. Rather than showing up to the party in the same fast-fashion dress as everyone else, you’ll stand out from the crowd and will likely be wearing something with a story behind it. But, we’d advise against pairing multiple items from the same era, otherwise, it could look like you’re wearing a costume. Instead, pair one vintage item with something more modern for a unique yet stylish look.

If you’re someone who’s grown bored of shopping, then buying second-hand or vintage items can make the whole experience a lot more enjoyable. It can almost even feel like a challenge.

There’s nothing like the feeling of searching high and low for the perfect garment and that real sense of achievement when you walk away with a classic designer item. We’re positive you’ll discover a newfound love for shopping when buying second-hand, plus you’ll be the envy of everyone you know when you flaunt your vintage designer goods.

Want to get started on building a wardrobe full of pre-loved designer items? Take a look at the luxury items we currently have listed.
You can also sell your luxury designer clothes and allow someone else to cherish them using our excellent, end-to-end selling service.