Selling vintage clothes: Is there money hiding in your wardrobe?

James Trollope / 20 April 2015

Could that old mini skirt hanging at the back of your wardrobe be worth a fortune? James Trollope looks at how to buy and sell vintage clothing from the Sixties and Seventies.



What was ‘groovy’ in the 1960s and 1970s could be growing in value today, so let’s hope you haven’t chucked out all that funky gear.

Floaty dresses, hippy kaftans and floral trouser suits, given the right size, condition and label, could be worth hundreds of pounds.

There’s also a healthy but smaller market for men’s fashion.

So what are the chart topping brands? And where can you sell, see or buy them?

Best of British

Depending on design, clothes by Thea Porter, Ossie Clark and Biba can range in price from a hundred to a few thousand pounds.

Desirable men’s clothes are harder to come by but Carnaby Street clobber can sell well and if you own something by John Stephen or Mr Fish, you’re probably on to a winner.

Where to sell your vintage clothes

Vintage clothes shops abound but they will probably pay you less than half retail price. Selling at auction may be a better bet. Count on about 70% of hammer price.

While many auction houses sell vintage clothes, few dedicate sales to them. Kerry Taylor Auctions is an exception. For lower value items eBay might be worth a try.

Size matters

Average or smaller sizes are more saleable. Collectors, including museums, will be looking at mannequin size. Even if made by a top Savile Row tailor, a man’s suit with a 48 waist will probably be given a wide berth.

Hunt out a vintage bargain

When rifling through clothes at a jumble or car boot sale, search for a good label and then make sure whatever is attached to it is in good condition. Email an image with description to an auction house. You never know you might get lucky.

Exhibitions can drive up prices

Museums are becoming increasingly interested in fashion and exhibitions can drive up prices. Even before Alexander McQueen’s show at the V&A,  one of his dresses sold for £85,000. Shows at the London’s Fashion and Textile Museum  and Bath’s Fashion Museum are worth keeping an eye on.

French flair

For all the appeal of British designers, vintage French couture takes le biscuit. Christian Dior and Yves St Laurent from the 1950s and 1960s can fetch thousands and if you find a 1920s Chanel number,  your money worries may be over.

Fur is out of fashion

Once upon a time a mink coat was said to be every woman’s dream, now you may struggle to give one away.

 

A vast collection of Sixties and Seventies fashion is set to go under the hammer on May 9. Read all about the auction and owner Audrey Watson’s love affair with clothing in the May issue of Saga Magazine.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.