Saturday, April 11, 2009

Is Vintage Worth The Price?

With vintage being all the rage now, particularly during our recession, how do you know if the vintage piece you are buying is priced fairly or just priced high because it's in demand?

I'd be lying if I told you all vintage sellers are equal. The vintage market has raised it's prices. But an honest vintage seller will not price something high unless it's worth it...and this is what you need to watch out for.

As any vintage seller knows, a lot of factors go into pricing an item. It's not a simple purchase at wholesale cost, increase price by 2.5 times and resell. There is a lot more to vintage clothing.

The factors that go into pricing a vintage garment are of course the initial price we bought it at. The condition obviously plays a huge part. If the condition is relatively good requiring few or no repairs, the garment can be cleaned and priced. However, often in this business a vintage garment takes a lot of work to make it wearable again. If this is the case, labor and material costs are now involved in the pricing. Cleaning costs and shipping costs are also a factor.

If an item is a high end label and in great condition, this commands a higher price. ie: a 1940s ladies Chanel suit will definitely be priced higher than a 1940s suit in great condition without a label. Historically, Chanel is always in demand.

But quality must equal price. If that Chanel suit is not in good condition, why would you pay a high price? Will you wear it? Unless it is a piece going into a museum collection, I do not enjoy seeing a seller gouging a customer just because they have a Chanel. In 50-100 more years it will be different. Fewer 1940s Chanel suits will be around and that suit will be of historical importance.

How unique is the piece? Compare these two dresses. Both from the 1950s. Which one is $25 and which one is $125? Read to the end to find out.

Pink Velvet Chiffon & Velvet Flocked Swing Dress
Fred Perlberg Two Toned Purple Chiffon Gown

I often browse other vintage stores and am often shocked by the high sticker prices....and on garments that are stained with holes! $200-300 for a dress with stains and holes? No label? Is it worth it? I say no, and I'm in the business of selling these things.

Let's face it, the recession is teaching us a lesson. Let's all start looking at quality again. Just because something is priced high, does not mean it's worth the price.

Answer: The pink velvet chiffon is $125. The purple Fred Perlberg is $25. The pink dress is in mint condition even though it has no makers label. The Fred Perlberg, although a well-known label is only in fair condition with several holes, rips and fabric fading within the chiffon. It cannot be priced too high, even though it's a label brand.


Keith said...

Great post. I do think all of us would do well to heed the advice you gave.

Little Bow Prep said...

That pink dress is so pretty!

Ingeborg said...

This is fantastic!