Everything You Need to Know About Women's Vintage Clothing Styles

Wearing vintage clothing as a fashion statement first started in the mid-1960s. Before that, old clothes were negatively perceived by attitudes going back to the Great Depression. But by the late 1960s and 1970s, wearing vintage clothing became a cool way to express yourself.

How do you know clothing is vintage?

To qualify as vintage, clothing must represent the period it came from. However, vintage also means it must have originated 20 years or more ago. Therefore, '80s and '90s original fashions are not vintage yet. Instead, they are considered retro. Clothing from the '50s, '60s, and '70s is vintage, and if clothing is more than 100 years old, which would be manufactured in 1919 and earlier, it is antique. You can check for a copyright year written on the tag of the clothing to find out if it's vintage. You can also look to see if the label has a zip code on it. There weren't any zip codes before 1963, so if the label has the company's name and address on it with no zip code, it's probably vintage.

Types of women's vintage clothing

The choices of stylish women's vintage clothing for sale on eBay are extensive. You can find everything from dresses and skirts to sleepwear and lingerie. You can also find socks and swimwear as well as vintage bridal gowns and veils. Likewise, there are jeans and suit sets.

Considerations when buying women's vintage clothing

After you choose the category you are looking for, locating women's vintage clothing on eBay is very simple. To make it even simpler, you have the option to narrow your search by applying the following filters:

  • Decade (1920s to 1990s): You might want vintage clothing from a certain era if you like that period's style.
  • Size (Regular - Petites - Plus): You'll want to buy from the appropriate size category. A petite small is different from a regular one.
  • Color: You might have certain colors in mind.
  • Look (Disco - Hippy - Mod/GoGo - Psychedelic - Etc.): Maybe you're going for a certain type of look.
  • Material: Consider the material the garment is made from. Earlier eras used different types of materials to make clothing.
  • Condition: You'll want to determine whether the preowned womens vintage clothing is still in wearable condition. Some materials tend to fade and discolor over time while others might accumulate lint on them if they were washed and dried too many times.
Women's vintage clothing styles by decade

The following are the types of clothing styles you can expect to see in each vintage era of women's clothing:

  • 1920s: Flapper dresses, below-knee, drop-waist dresses, and long beads
  • 1930s: Hollywood styles and bias-cut evening gowns in liquid satin and silk
  • 1940s: Plaid A-line skirts with white button down blouses and knee-length A-line dresses
  • 1950s: Tea-length swing dresses with petticoat, capri pants, and twin-set cardigan sweaters
  • 1960s: Full skirt, tight bodice dresses, flared pants, shift dresses, and mini skirts

More to explore