Vintage 101

Vintage: Items that are at least 20 years old are considered to be vintage. This means as of 2022 - items made in 2002 or before are considered vintage!

Vintage sizing: sizing on vintage clothing tends to run small, sometimes much smaller due to changing societal standards and shrinkage that occurs especially with cotton clothing. Refer to our guide on how to find your measurements in inches to avoid issues with tag sizing!

Single stitch: prevalent in 70’s, 80’s, 90’s before manufacturers moved to double stitch. Single stitch is most easily spotted on the sleeves or bottom hemline of t-shirts.

Made in 70’s-80’s: often single stitch, more likely to be a poly/cotton blend 50/50 

Made in 90’s: some single & double stitch, more likely to be 100% cotton (often thicker cotton)

Made in USA vintage tags: up until the mid-90’s most clothing bought in the USA was made in the country. These items are usually a better longer lasting quality and are often made with single stitch sewing or handmade.



Rise: Rise is the distance from the middle of the crotch seam (zone where all the seams come to a cross) to the top of the waistband. It usually ranges from 6 inches to 13 inches. If an item is low, mid or high rise on you may differ from other bodies - it all depends on your torso and hip lengths! The following rise definitions are based on the average application:

  • low rise: ya know -the old Y2k look - worn at the wider part of the hip. Usually about 6 inches to 9 inches.
  • Mid rise: under the belly button but usually over the wider part of the hip. about 9.5-10.5 inches
  • High waisted: usually at or over the belly button and over the widest part of the hip. about 9.5 to 11inches
  • Super high waisted: sometimes called rib cage jeans or ultra rise. for most this will be a rise over 11.5 inches though for petite and shorter torso bodies this may start around 10 inches


Fashion Key Terms

Sustainability: Sustainable fashion is a movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice. Sustainable fashion concerns more than just addressing fashion textiles or products. Buying used clothing prevents waste! Fashion waste accounts for 4% of global total waste, ~92 million tons. The average consumer throws away 70lbs of clothing per year. 

Slow Fashion: Intentional choices to shop for and build a closet made up of pieces that are meant to last. Quality over rapid production. Intentional

Upcycled: Taking an item that already exists in the world from your own closet or the thrift store and transforming it into something new by adding to it with other recycled pieces and modifying it!  Revamp, recycle, reuse.

Fast fashion: AKA Disposable fashion. Fast fashion's popularity means many of the clothes that are sitting in closets may not be durable enough to last for a second owner, and they're likely to have already fallen out of fashion. Fast fashion is an exploitative business model based on rapidly mass-producing garments at a low cost. Oftentimes, this entails exploiting workers in inhumane condition,

  • Evolution into fast fashion: the fashion industry has undergone major transitions like moving overseas, relying more on automated/mechanized production for ready-to-wear versus handmade custom clothes that have been produced for most of human history, and shortened lifespan of clothing due to quality and consumer preferences. Mass production of clothing leads to a sameness of styles and high trend turnover.


History: Our Favorite Vintage Brands

Harley Davidson Clothing: Harley Davidson is best known for motorcycles, but in the vintage fashion world the biker aesthetic became popular in the 60’s onwards. Harley Davidson clothes were made in the USA, originally produced by a variety of companies before switching to private label. These items are usually quality made and will last you a long time!