Vintage clothing is incredibly popular, but how do you know something is actually vintage? This is a question that appears to be debated among collectors and enthusiasts, but is there really a definitive answer? The following article will answer the question: What is considered vintage clothing?

Age of the clothing

Simply put, for an article of clothing to be considered vintage it must have been produced at least 25-years-ago. There is no set year to determine whether or not an item is vintage, but if it was made 25-years-ago and has any value as a collectible garment, then it can be considered vintage. However, some antique collectors and appraisal experts believe that an item isn’t actually vintage until it is at least 40-years-old. Not everyone agrees on how old clothing should be in order to be considered vintage, but you can easily find clothing made in the 1980s and early 1990s marketed as vintage on secondhand markets. Some of these “early vintage” clothing finds are highly valuable, especially if they’re sought-after labels such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hillfiger, Calvin Klein and Versace. Check out this beautiful vintage Versace dress that was made sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s:

Rarity and Popularity

An item can be produced as recently as 25 or 20-years-ago and be considered vintage if it’s incredibly rare or of high popularity. This is especially true of clothing and accessories such as handbags, sunglasses, jewelry and shoes. In some cases, items that were produced in 2008 by no-defunct fashion companies have been called vintage by various shops and markets. While this may not necessarily be true according to the age of the clothing, the rarity and collectibility of it makes it fit under the vintage heading. For example, there are purses produced by the brand Lockheart in 2008 that have been sold and happily collected as vintage clothing.


There will probably never be an overall consensus on what makes clothing considered vintage, but if you choose clothing that is at least 25-years-old, you probably won’t be too far off-base. If you’re shopping for vintage clothing, you should also research the labels of the items to see if they’re in demand by other vintage clothing collectors.