Fashion Conditioning: The Five Evils of Vintage Clothing

Condition is one of the most important factors when it comes to valuing vintage clothing. Whether you are interesting in collecting vintage clothing for future escalation in price, or you just love to wear vintage clothing, steer clear of any vintage garments that contain any of these 5 Evils:

1. Perspiration Stains

Ew! No matter how beautiful the garment is, put it back on the rack. You should know these stains are permanent—even today’s superhuman stain removers will not get them out. And they don’t just appear under the arms. Be sure to check around the collar and even around the waistline.

2. Mildew
Double ew! So many vintage garments have been stored in damp basements or even garages. The telltale spotting of mildew is again, unfixable.

3. Moth Damage

Garments that weren’t stored in damp basements were often stored improperly in hot attics or closets where pesky moths come to feast. Check carefully for moth damage. Holding a garment up to the light can often help. Minor problems can be fixed with reweaving but this can be expensive so figure it into the price.

4. Fabric Damage

All fabric deteriorates over time and not everyone stores their vintage clothing properly. Noticeable areas of shininess, faded colors, areas where the fabric has worn thin—these are almost impossible to hide if you still want to wear the garment.

5. Sagging and Drooping

This is primarily a symptom in leather or suede garments, particularly at the knees or in the derriere region. Excessive stretching from the prior owner’s wear is, again, almost impossible to fix. It’s probably best to pass and wait for a more pristine item to come along.

Finally, it’s always helpful to examine garments in bright daylight. Many times stains and fabric damage can be overlooked under a store’s fluorescent lighting.

If you purchase from a reputable vintage seller, they should point out any flaws when you purchase the garment. But what do you do if you’re vintage shopping online and can’t inspect the garment yourself? All reputable internet sellers will disclose any faults when listing a garment’s condition but be sure to check the seller’s return policy just in case.

At Zuburbia, we offer an unconditional satisfaction guarantee and do the fashion conditioning for you by performing eagle-eye inspections that you can trust.

And we find many vintage garments that are in like-new condition or even mint condition. So there’s no reason to settle for anything exhibiting the five evils described above. Choose wisely and you’ll have a closet full of fabulous clothes that you’ll have and hold for years to come!

Mary Kincaid has been buying, wearing, and collecting vintage clothing for over a decade. Visit her website at to shop in her eco-friendly online vintage clothing boutique and join the Vintage Crusaders, online community of vintage clothing lovers.

Copyright 2005-2009, Mary Kincaid. May be reprinted in its entirety with full credit given to Mary Kincaid and a link to

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© Mary Kincaid 2006-2009