Although some more modern pieces (from the 1980s onwards) can be similar in terms of sizing, as a rule, it’s always wise to disregard whatever size is stated on the label of a vintage piece as it’s unlikely to correspond with current sizing structures.
Though not foolproof, the best way to assess if an item will fit you is to take our measurements and compare them to a similar item that you know fits you well. In theory, if they match up, hey presto, it should fit!
Items are always laid flat and fastened when measurements are being taken and as a rule of thumb, this is how we work them out:
Chest = underarm to underarm doubled. Remember that this is a flat measurement in inches and not the actual size. In men’s clothing for example, something which measures 44 inches laid flat, won’t necessarily be a size 44 as you’ll need to take account for the depth of the chest.
Length = nape to bottom hem i.e. the point where the lining of a garment joins the outer fabric just inside the neckline, to the very edge of longest point of the item.
Sleeve length = generally both the outer and under sleeve lengths are included. From armpit to cuff is relatively straightforward. The shoulder to cuff measurement will be taken from the shoulder seam if there is one, or from the ‘point’ of the shoulder, that being the spot where the shoulder drops into the sleeve.
Waist = width across the narrowest point of the garment at waist level doubled.
Hips = width across the widest point of the garment at hip level doubled. Though all garments, and indeed, all figures are different, this is generally around 6 – 8 inches below the waist.
Do grab a cuppa and browse through the items we currently have for sale and if you need any other details, just ask!
Vintage Clothing Care
We’re all so accustomed to throwing anything we’ve worn into the washing machine, it’s easy to slip up and do the same with vintage. Vintage pieces are often made from fabrics that are no longer manufactured and many have a much higher percentage of natural fibres making them prone to damage when exposed to the heat and efficiency of modern washing machines.
No need to panic though, not every vintage piece needs hand washing or dry cleaning. Yes, we’ve had some disasters but if you remember a few simple rules, you’ll be able to successfully clean your vintage items.
Firstly, if it’s an expensive piece and you absolutely adore it, don’t risk it! For the sake of a few pounds to dry clean it, don’t tempt the naughty shrinking gremlins in the machine, take it to your local dry cleaning store. You may be asked to sign a disclaimer absolving the store from any responsibility should the item get damaged in the cleaning process. Though this is a standard request, you’ll be bound by it so if you have any doubts, walk away. We’ve had many items dry cleaned and have signed the disclaimer every time and never had a piece return damaged.
The higher the wool and cotton content, the higher the risk of machine washing. We don’t machine wash any pure wool items and err on the side of caution with cotton. After all, hand washing really isn’t too bad and if you put some umph into it, you can count it as the same amount of exercise as a session at the gym and have a chocolate biscuit afterwards as a reward!
In the late 1950s and into the 1960s, there was a huge focus on ‘easy’ fabrics which needed little or no ironing. Clothing manufacturers achieved this by creating garments in man made fibres and this is great news for us. On the whole, if you have a garment which is made from 100% polyester, crimplene, nylon or similar, it’s going to machine wash like a dream. There’s still reason to be cautious though and on the first occasion at least, we’d recommend putting it through a 30 degree hand wash with a gentle spin and then allow it to dry naturally.
We’ve never put any of my vintage items in a tumble dryer. The suspense of how it would emerge, and what size it would be is simply too much. It could be that with man made fabrics, the results would be just fine but why risk it when natural drying is every bit as easy?
Don’t be put off purchasing lovely vintage pieces for fear of how to clean them. As long as you have a basic understanding of how fabrics could potentially react to different circumstances and use your common sense, you’ll be absolutely fine. If you’re unsure or nervous, get it dry cleaned or just put up with it’s faults. After all, if you love vintage, you’re not necessarily seeking that perfect, brand new look.