Days when fashion was believed frivolous is over. Now designer shoes, handbags, clothing and jewelry are considered as much an investment as say, a car or a house. It's not surprising to see vintage items selling for more than thrice their original price in auctions, which is why a lot of women turn from shoppers to vintage collectors.
So what sells?
First things first. Keep in mind that we're talking about vintage and not antiques, as those are a different category altogether. While antiques are purchased to be displayed in glass cases in museums, vintage is bought to be worn - or to be kept until they become antiques - in special occasions where you wouldn't want to run into someone wearing the same dress such as red carpet events or high profile parties.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk investments. I think we can all agree that when it comes to anything involving money, Forbes is a very reliable source of information. So when the magazine says, "Invest in Hermes." what else can we do but follow? Forbes lists down an Hermes Birkin bag as one of the top vintage fashion items to invest in, which comes as no surprise since the famed vintage handbag can fetch up to $24,000 at an auction, almost thrice its regular retail price of $7,500.
Another popular item in auctions are, believe it or not, vintage sunglasses. Maybe this is because the Ray-Ban Wayfarers and the Aviators are coming back in a huge way in fashion with Hollywood superstars Angelina Jolie, Jude Law and Tom Cruise constantly snapped wearing them. Among the most valued vintage sunglasses sold are a pair worn by John Lennon with gold rims sold for a rumored 1million, as well as his most famous pair - the amber-tinted sunglasses - fetched for 63, 250.
In terms of clothing, you'll be surprised to know that there are a lot of collectors of paper dresses. This style of clothing was popular in the 1960s and started out as a novelty item for makers of paper products. And although it sort of caught on, its popularity was short lived, hence being a lucrative collector's item these days.
Tips when buying vintage fashion items
Make sure that it doesn't have any stains or holes in it, no matter how small. This is especially important if you're buying the piece to resell later, because its value will be highly based on its condition.
Buying online is good, but nothing beats seeing the item in person. Checking for defects and examining the fabric (especially when buying clothes) will not be so easy just by looking at the pictures. This is also true when buying a vintage handbag because you have to check the stitching, hardware and material used to construct the bag.
Research on your vintage items before hitting the vintage shops or flea markets. Knowing what you want to buy saves you time in rummaging through piles and piles of clothing and accessories. Also knowing your fashion history can prove to be helpful when looking for "profitable finds."
Names to look out for on your next vintage shopping trip
Early 50s - 60s Balenciaga.
Pre-war Dior, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.
Miriam Haskell costume jewelry from the 1950s.
Jean Muir, Paul Poiret, Raymond "Ossie" Clark, Halston and al Jean Patou.
Hermes. Especially the Birkin and Kelly bags.