I recently had an encounter with a customer who didn't quite get the vintage trend. While the moment was a little surprising to me, I had to humble myself to it. While I am someone who loves vintage everything, it took me a minute to realize it is not for everyone. It is also not so easily understood by everyone. So I thought what better way to use our blog than to explain what vintage is and isn't, why we like it, and what we do with it!

What Vintage Clothing is NOT:

It is not something that is recently hand made, reproduced, or designed to look like something from the past. The terminology for this is retro. 

Sometimes people will, by mistake or for profit, refer to items like this as "vintage". It is NOT. The term used this way can be misleading and incorrect. What they actually mean is that they have a new item styled to look like something old. If it is recently made, or made from new materials it is not true vintage. It is a reproduction retro item. I refer to this as Vintage Inspired.


A vintage item is something that is unaltered from it's orginal era.  While some vintage items may be restored or repaired, you generally do not make any changes to it's orginal design. It is a true original relic from the past. A vintage item must be a minimum of 20 years old. An item over 100 years old is an antique. So vintage items fall between 20 years to 99 years old. 

When it comes to vintage clothing, it can be new - usually referred to as New Old Stock. This means it is a piece of inventory from some sort of store, shop, vendor or collector that still maintains it's original tags and packaging.  Vintage items can also be new without tags, sometimes referred to as NWT. These items have never been worn or used but no longer has it's riginal packaging. Lastly, we have gently used vintage. MOST vintage items have been used in some capacity. Some items are even worth more money because they have been gently used - for example, old concert tshirts are worth way more if they are slightly worn.  This can also be the case with some antiquities. Removing signs of wear and age can, in some cases, reduce an items value, beacuse it may take away signs of age or period, and key components to identifying the item itself.

To me, the age just means there is something unique and special about these item. These pieces tell a story, they create a unique take on history. They can be sentimental, like your grandmother's wedding dress, or a childhood toy you still cherish. They can be part of modern fashion, just about everything comes back in style. These original pieces keep you ahead of the fashion trends while also being the point of origin. They can also be inspiring. The mid-century modern movement has become all the rage in furniture and clothing recently! Vintage clothing is also eco-friendly. Buying these clothes keeps them out of landfills and puts them to new use! There is nothing greener than that.

Does that mean Vintage clothing is used and gross:

NO. Not at all. When it comes to vintage clothing, every piece that passes through our doors is laundered, professionally dry cleaned, hand steam cleaned, and if necessary or we are able to -  repaired and/or restored. 

Do you use a clothing rental service? Then the clothing you wear has already gone through a similar process to what we do. 

Do you try on clothing at stores? Well, if you do, you are more likley to find germs and bacteria on those items than you are through your Valley Vintage purchase. Because we sell mainly online, our clothing is not touched, picked through or tried on. It is cleaned and immediately stored until it finds it's forever home. Then it is hand steamed, packaged up in tissue and mailed directly to you. 

We also take the time to try and note any and every flaw on your vintage garment. We make mention of any flaws in our product listing. 

I hope this has helped understand what vintage is. We are always to happy to answers your questions via Etsy or directly at jianboutique@gmail.com