Some people buy vintage coats to get a low price, while others are interested in a funky, retro style. For some, part of the draw is a sense of history. Buying vintage is a little different from buying new, but with some extra attention to size and condition and a few other factors, it is easy to find just what you want.
Vintage Coat Style
One reason to buy a vintage coat is to get a style that manufacturers no longer make. Since some sellers specialise in clothing from a particular time, a good approach is to identify which decade produced the desired style and look for clothing of that decade. For example, capes were popular in the 1930s, while trench coats were popular in the 1940s.
Vintage Coat Size
Sizes changed over time, so the size on the tag is not a good indication whether you can wear it comfortably. Sometimes the tag is gone anyway. If possible, simply try on the coat. When buying online, ask the seller to measure the coat with a tape measure. When in doubt, buy a vintage coat slightly larger than you need because a tailor can make a coat smaller, but never larger.
The seller should indicate whether a coat has any tears or stains, but might not have noticed a hole in a pocket or other subtle damage. When buying online, ask the seller to do a thorough check of the seams, the lining, how well the zippers work, and whether there are any loose or missing buttons, as well as the condition of the fabric or leather. A coat that is too threadbare or stiff with age to wear might not be worth buying even if it is lovely.
The seller should clean the coat before sending it, but some buyers like to wash new purchases themselves. Some modern detergents and soaps are too harsh for older fabrics, so it is important to research the care of these garments, or to consult an expert. Many vintage coats, even if perfectly clean, also have a bit of an odour, either from mildew or from storage with mothballs. A good airing usually takes care of this, but professional cleaning is a good backup plan.
Vintage Coat Price
Depending on its age and style, a vintage coat might be much less expensive than a similar new coat. Collectible coats may have a higher value. However, even if the purchase price of a vintage coat seems wonderfully low, there might be other costs involved. Buyers should be sure to include the possible costs of tailoring, repair or restoration, and professional cleaning in their budget plan.