Vintage Wearers Speak: If you could give one piece of wisdom or advice to vintage brands as an influencer and/or consumer, what would it be?

Photo courtesy of Atomic Redhead
This post is part of the "Vintage Wearers Speak" series. Read more about the series and find the other posts here.

Q: If you could give one piece of wisdom or advice to vintage (reproduction or vintage-style) brands as an influencer and/or consumer, what would it be?

As a totally self-serving suggestion, I would ask brands to consider more proportional garment lines. Back in the day, "diminutive" lines for petite ladies were common, and I wish it were still a thing! Petiteness cannot simply be accounted for in hemming a skirt shorter or cuffing the bottoms of jeans, and oftentimes I can't alter a garment to make it petite; it needs to be done in the drafting/manufacturing stage. Simply creating tall, average, and petite fits would do SO much for consumers!
Then, last thing, making garments more alter-able, like older pieces were. I know it would likely increase price, but even just leaving a 5/8" seam allowance instead of just serging the edges off would make it so much more versatile for more people.

- Emileigh

I wish the American reproduction brands would produce more authentic-looking, casual garments. I feel that American companies solely focus on the sexed-up pin-up/ rockabilly style for the hourglass figure and a lot of times their clothes feel costume-y on me. I would love to see patio skirts, knit sweaters, comfortable high waisted pants and just an overall more casual, everyday look. The vintage scene is more than just cleavage-showing shirts and cherry print fabric 😄

- Jocelyn de Anda, Sewing Siren

My first consideration when buying clothing is not in the style and whether I like it, but whether or not it is ethically made. I want to feel good about what I am wearing, with the knowledge that the people who made my clothes, whether it was made in the USA or in Bangladesh, were paid fairly, work in safe conditions, and are treated with respect. I would love to see more vintage reproduction brands showing where there clothes are being made, and under what conditions. I would be much more inclined to go shopping if I knew that the garments were being made in an ethical and sustainable way.

- Nicole, The Artyologist 

The one thing that I'm searching for and haven't yet found is a reproduction vintage-style winter coat. By winter coat I mean a really warm one with extra insulation. Unfortunately, it's something I also haven't found in modern-style coats. In this case, vintage doesn't interest me, because I'm looking for something for everyday wear that would last me a couple of years at least. 

- Ewa, @kleineewa 

Perhaps that it would be nice if some of the retailers focused a little less on the typical “pin up” look. It is beautiful and who doesn't like a good halter dress, but more separates would be nice. Things that a working girl could wear into a lab.

- Lizzy, @iamlizzybits

My one piece of advice is that I would like to start to see more women of all ages being used as models for vintage/reproduction clothing websites, etsy pages etc. I’m a 40 year old woman who very much loves the vintage lifestyle but when I visit many of the popular brands I see women who are 20 years younger than me and it has crossed my mind sometimes “Am I too old to be buying this dress or living this life?” and I’m not alone in this thought. I have had many women my age and older tell me “I would love to buy a vintage style dress form XYZ store but I think I might be too old to pull it off?” My response is always the same, “Anyone can wear vintage or reproduction and you will look amazing, so please don’t be afraid to give it a go. Age is only a number and should not stop you from buying and wearing what you like”. 

So dear brands…Let’s see some stylish ladies of all ages in your marketing content!
- Liz Gruening Hay, The Vintage Inn

I would say that quality is far more important than quantity. I always am more drawn to brands that carry fewer styles, but are finished perfectly. I also love when brands have unique touches to all of their pieces. I love unique clothing, so that is really important to me when it comes to repro brands.

- Katherine Funk, The Modiste

I see most of vintage brands focus only on American 1940s-50s styles. If I could give an advice to them, I’d say that they should expand their range and see that vintage is much more than pin-ups. This is important for those people like me, who are in the vintage community, but don’t fit into the “traditional” vintage standards.
- Rafaella, Império Retrô

Use the highest quality materials and hardware you can. I don't really buy reproduction since I'm in it for the history, with the exception of Prettielanes (I'm expecting my first piece from her in March or April! so excited), and one reason for that is that I perceive the quality of most reproduction to be extremely low unless it's coming from an independent maker like Fran of Prettilanes, Revelle, or Kim Clark, who all produce beautifully made garments using vintage or otherwise high quality materials. But I realize that's not maybe a realistic mass-market strategy, and I'm hardly the demographic for that!

- Jessica Parker, @noaccountingfortaste

Maybe this is more shopping in general, but I know I have had a tough time finding vintage repro dresses that fit me well.  I think clearer sizing guidelines on many websites would be really helpful, as it can differ so much from one shop to another.

- Sabrina, Vibrant Vintage

Hmmmm... as a consumer, I would recommend modernizing certain vintage styles, (not all) to be a little bit more wearable for the everyday woman. As the owner of vintage inspired brand Happy Yellow Dress I would like people in the community to know that sizing is very different than it was back in the day, (23" waist to 36" bust!? You kidding me bro!?) so it's always a struggle to make everyone happy, but we do try our very best and always welcome/listen to the very valuable feedback of our customers.

- Debbie Yam@happyyellowdress

To remember that not every retro/vintage lady wants to wants to wear kitchy and cute clothing, many of us enjoy a classic look, especially as we age.

- Ruby Feldman, Ruby’s Musings


  1. Emileigh, I second the request for petite sizes! It's always a little weird to me that in this era where so many mainstream stores are increasingly offering petite and tall sizes (although often only online, which has its own problems), the more indie vintage fashion producers are not. If even one vintage repro brand offered petite sizes, I would become a dedicated customer! Instead, I tend to avoid them, especially the ones only available online, because I don't want to spend a lot of money on something that's going to be fatally long in the torso.

    1. Right?! I don't understand why they don't! It's also so true to how sizing was done back in the day.

  2. Gosh, I agree with everyone! There were so many excellent points made. My advice to vintage repro brands would be make their garments more historically accurate. My experience has been that when you type "40s" into the search bar, it shows dresses with full skirts, immodest tops, and itty bitty shorts( I admit the pants are usually pretty accurate, though I have a suspicion that not all 40's pants were sailor style). Hardly any of them would be conservative enough to have been manufactured during the war. Most of the styles they label as 40s are 50s styles! I would think that making a historically accurate 40s dress would actually be less expensive, considering how much less fabric would be needed; so I don't see the reasoning behind it all!
    Sorry for ranting, I needed to get that out of my system!

  3. Some great points raised, and I particularly agree with Rafaella, Lizzy, and anyone else who mentioned that it would be nice to see more repro that isn't so "pinup". There's nothing wrong with pinup, but that's just not everyone's aesthetic! I would particularly like to see more 20s/30s style pieces that fit more like the vintage items would have. Most of the ones out there are way too body-con.

    1. Yes! Especially 30s and 40s pieces it seems, I agree. They're usually more form fitting in repro than they actually were back in the day.

  4. I would love more focus on repro items where vintage isn't available, is difficult to sew at home, or doesn't age well eg

    knitwear- it's the most likely to be moth nibbled and for some reason- vintage knitwear is so often crusty/scratchy. I'd love some simple knitted twinsets, sweaters and cardigans that are washable and nicely cut at the waist rather than ambiguously baggy somewhere around my hips

    shoes- again, these are not make-able and unlike clothes, they can't really be altered to fit. I like the bright fun colours sometimes, but as so many ladies said above, the pinup look is not for everyone, so plain authentic 40s shoes in useful neutral colours would be excellent.

    1. YES, I was just thinking about how I wish someone would recreate knitwear!!

      And have you seen the shoes from Royal Vintage? They're super accurate and high quality, might be a good option for you!

  5. Yes to all of the answers! This was a really good one and I'm hoping that the reproduction stores see your post and make some notes.