Mistakes You've Made with Vintage Clothes.

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by GWD, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. GWD

    GWD One Too Many

    Evergreen, Co
    I've made a few mistakes buying vintage clothes that were pretty costly.

    I thought if there were a place here in the lounge that they could be shared, we could pool them together and learn from them, thus saving money and heartbreak in the future.

    In order for this to work, please use the title area to give us a general idea of the mistake and the message area to describe in detail the mistake you made and maybe the steps to take to avoid it in the future and hopefully the repairs you made to make it better. Pictures would also be of great help!!!
  2. GWD

    GWD One Too Many

    Evergreen, Co
    Hat Sweat Band Disaster! Lexol

    One of my very first hats was a very nice Stetson Whippet. The sweatband was a little dry and stiff. I applied a pretty liberal amount of Lexol on it and right before my eyes it turned into bacon!

    The obvious fix was to send the hat out to a professional (Optimo)for a new sweatband.

    Next time I used just a very small amount of Lexol to see if there were ill effects.
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  4. GWD

    GWD One Too Many

    Evergreen, Co
    Vintage Shoes

    I just learned this one!

    When buying vintage shoes, it's probably a good idea to treat the leather with a good restoring agent to make the leather supple again. I just purchased some beautiful 1930's Allen Edmonds Spectator Shoes and as soon as I opened the box I tried them on. The leather at the heel was pretty brittle and it split about a 1/4 of an inch in the exact same spot on both heels.

  5. GWD

    GWD One Too Many

    Evergreen, Co
    It's funny now! lol Not then!
  6. Mysterious Mose

    Mysterious Mose Practically Family

    That's a classic. A friend of mine was so excited with his new old shoes he started dancing in 'em...
    ...tore the top right off the sole. We still talk about that one.
  7. dakotanorth

    dakotanorth Practically Family

    Camarillo, CA
    Fiascos and other disasters

    I couldn't tell you how many disasters I've had with vintage clothing- color stripping and turning the fabric into crunchy material, redyeing and all the stains show up as leopard spots, washing things and having them shrink, bleed, stretch, the lining rips apart, using Super Glue (!!) to repair problems, dissolving fabric with bleach....
    Needless to say, the casualty list is fairly high in my house.
  8. dhermann1

    dhermann1 I'll Lock Up

    Da Bronx, NY, USA
    Tux blunders

    I started MC-ing for New York Swing Dance Society dances back in the late 80's, and at that time I found myself a very nice 40's vintage double breasted tux at a second hand store on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
    It fit beautifully and looked very snazzy. But I wore ALL sorts of things with it I'd never wear now. For starters I always wore a cummerbund. Boy do I wish I'd known that I didn't need one! And some of the bow ties I wore with it! Woo hoo!
    Sadly, the jacket got snugger and snugger as the years went by. (Not that I was getting TUBBY or anything.) I got rid of it several years ago, and darned if I can remember of I gave it away or sold it. Anyway it recieved a good new home. Tho the grosgrain on the lapels and buttons was pretty worn.
    The other mistake I made was with a Stetson Chatham. Not vintage, but the first fedora I ever owned. I loved it inordinately. I left it in a cab one day. I realized what I had done just seconds after it was too late.
    Ironically, I think it was after that that I decided to research fedoras on the Web, and stumbled onto the Lounge.
    God works in mysterious ways.
    Oh, and of course I tried to wash a 30's vintage tie, and the dye came POURING out. I guess we've all done that at some point.
  9. repeatclicks

    repeatclicks Practically Family

    Measuring once, and immediately clicking the Buy It Now button on a suit. I lost about $100 on that one.

    When I first started collecting, I bought what I thought was a 1940s knit jumper. Turns out it was a 70s job that I think has now been sold twice.

    Passing up a NOS black with white fleck 50s Penneys suit for very cheap because I wanted it cheaper.

    The one I regret the most is passing this one up, and the guy offered to let me make payments on it!!! Its now somewhere in Japan, and no, there was no fading or rust spots.


    However, vintage is chutes and ladders, and the good stuff always comes around again...
  10. pablocham

    pablocham One of the Regulars

    Tucson, Arizona
    Lessons learned and observations from two decades of thrift store shopping:

    1. When buying an old suit at thrift or vintage store, spread the waist band of the pants and look for light filtering in from moth holes. Especially important in poorly lit thrift stores. Also check lining on interior of zipper for gross yellow stains.

    2. Check old rayon shirts for armpit stains.

    3. Don't store wool suits in an outdoor storage closet--dermestids! Seven vintage suits completely destroyed.

    4. Measure everything twice. Then measure again.

    5. Always wear undershirts with old rayon shirts to cut down on washing.

    6. When old shirts are kept on a hanger they are likely to develop issues with the stitching at the shoulders.

    7. Old cotton and cotton/poly shirts will disintegrate at the cuffs and collar if dried on high heat more than a few times.

    8. Storage stains on the seams of deadstock/nos chinos will not come out in the wash, but starch stains will. Same goes for cotton shirts.

    9. Shoulder pads look stupid on me. No matter how well the ricky jacket fits or how cheap, I will not wear it.

    10. Generally, it is cheaper to wait for stuff that fits than to buy stuff that doesn't and have it altered.

    11. In thrift stores if you find one piece of good vintage, check every square inch of the store for more. Good men's clothes often ends up in the women's section.
  11. pablocham

    pablocham One of the Regulars

    Tucson, Arizona
    One more thing, given a choice between buying a piece of real vintage, especially shoes, jeans, flight jackets, and workwear, and spending the same or a little bit more for a high quality reproduction (i.e. made in japan, shoes boots made in USA), I will choose the reproduction because I am much more likely to wear it without worrying about harming it.
  12. Washing vintage rayon

    Washed a vintage rayon dress, instead of just taking it in to be dry cleaned. BIG mistake. It shrunk at least a couple of inches (and this in cold water), and all the hanging and trying to pull it back into shape didn't make much difference. It would have been less dumb had there been any fabric in the hem to let out, but there was only 1/2"...

    I've also bought vintage hankies and linens before, and failed to open them up all the way before buying. The stains and holes WILL be on the areas you didn't unfold.
  13. shortbow

    shortbow Practically Family

    british columbia
    Don't do this to hats

    Found out about these the hard way.

    When steaming a hat, don't let the steam get anywhere near the sweat band or you'll end up with bacon, as above.

    Also, be VERY careful when turning a sweat band down, as they are often dried out and brittle. A great way to rip things all to h---.
  14. HarpPlayerGene

    HarpPlayerGene I'll Lock Up

    North Central Florida

    I bought a vintage pair of French Shriners that already had that type of damage. I took them to my cobbler and he sewed a repair/reinforcing piece of leather inside around the heel area to shore them up. Now, whenever I buy any really oldies I just take them to him to do that first, before I stress the vintage leather in that area. Works great!
  15. Sincerely-Dee

    Sincerely-Dee One of the Regulars

    London, United Kingdom
    I have a maxi skirt made out of some blue and white vintage material, absolutely perfect for summer and quite eye-turning.

    Stupidly I've washed it over and over on a much too damaging cycle and have faded the already-faded print.:(
  16. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    When I was a size 37 or 38 a quarter century ago, all I could find were suits in sizes like 42 and 44. I bought a few, was told they couldn't be cut down, then sold them or gave them away.

    Now I am a size 44, and the joke's on me. All that's left are suits in sizes 37 and 38.

  17. thunderw21

    thunderw21 I'll Lock Up

    This is my fear. Size 38, selling off anything larger that I find. Please Lord, let me be skinny for my entire life!
  18. anon`

    anon` One Too Many

    Amen! I'm right there with you!
  19. djgo-cat-go

    djgo-cat-go Practically Family

    .. I just couldn't stop laughing.. that's crispy bacon allright..
  20. grundie

    grundie One of the Regulars

    Dublin, Ireland
    Kind of my mistake, but the blame is jointly shared with someone else.

    I keep all my vintage laundry separate from my non-vintage items. This means it will take longer to get done as I will make fewer trips to the cleaner that I know will take care of the items.

    When I was moving home a year ago, my wife's boss was helping out. Bear in mind that this lady speaks her mind and is very hard to argue with. (She is still a great person though)

    Not only did I have basket full of vintage clothing, we also had several bags of regular laundry.

    My wife's boss announced that she was going to take it all to a local launderette to get processed quickly. I tried to argue that I needed to sort it out, but such was her forcefulness I capitulated and let her take it anyway.

    Two hours after the laundry was sent over, I realised my vintage laundry had been included. Ouch!

    • Three pairs of flannel trousers.
    • Two fair isle jumpers.
    • A Dunn & Co wool herringbone jacket.
    • And 1 pair of 1960s suit trousers....
    ...were all shrunk.

    Additionally, a lot of modern stuff was also ruined.

    I should have fought back more against the hurricane that is my wife's boss.

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