Vintage designs are so diverse, and so widespread in today’s fashion – it’s part of what makes them so exciting to deal with. And more often than not, we come across patterns that we didn’t even know had roots in vintage clothing, or from eras that seem so distant to us now.
But whether you’re looking for vintage clothing online, or if you’re trawling the retro stores looking for the next best addition to your wardrobe, it’s always good to know where your clothes are inspired from.
A little history goes a long way, especially when you’re looking to source the real deal – knowing your patterns and their origins can mean the difference between recognising a genuine article and a knock off!
So let’s look into some vintage patterns you might not have known were vintage, and how you can incorporate them into your wardrobe.
2 T’s Tonic
The two-toned material has witnessed a surge of interest, as evidenced by models striding down the runway in new designer variations.
Two Tone was a British, or more precisely English, musical genre that emerged in the late 1970s from punk and ska. The tonic fabric has a glittering two-tone appearance and was popular among mods and skinheads when it was first made in the 1960s with a blend of mohair and wool.
You can find vintage clothing online which is inspired by, or made in accordance with traditional processes, all over! Make sure that wherever you’re purchasing from constructs their pieces – if they’re new, and inspired by vintage designs – with traditional materials.
And if you’re buying from your favourite retro store, keep an eye out for labels that have a vintage ‘look’ or ‘feel’, potentially even looking at where the product was made – so you’re not spending your hard earned cash on a knock off.
Dogtooth aka Houndstooth
Houndstooth is a timeless print that never goes out of style. Dogtooth, often known as “shepherd’s check,” aka Houndstooth is a traditional pattern named for its resemblance to the shape of a dog’s tooth.
This pattern dates back to the 19th century and is made of wool cloth from the Scottish lowlands. It is a prime example of a tessellation and comprises irregular pointed squares typically seen in black and white duotone.
Dogtooth patterns are now found on almost every piece of clothing, because of its versatility. This also means you have to be eagle-eyed when purchasing this pattern, if you’re after original vintage clothing. Many high street retailers are embellishing modern, fast-fashion pieces with this print, and while they look great, it’s definitely not vintage!
Why not try a dogtooth jacket, for a touch of flair this autumn? Or for the more bold of heart, some dogtooth trousers can create a distinctive yet stylish ensemble.
Tweed is a distinctive and attractive fabric that is also well-known for its long history since the 19th century. It’s also used for a variety of other clothes and accessories, including as ties, waistcoats, and hats.
Tweed is loved for its rich history and ties with Scottish country life, in addition to its attractive appearance. It’s probably one of the most known patterns out there, with quick associations of the English countryside, crisp mornings and large estate houses.
The English enthusiastically and rapidly adopted tweed as the appropriate outdoor material on their upcountry estates because this particular pattern was the ideal sporting apparel of the early twentieth century.
Tweed is a great way to add some traditional style and personality to your outfit, and it also has the added virtue of being quite durable and functional. So you can dress up and dress down this versatile print with little effort.
Prince of Wales Check
Prince of Wales check tweed could be ideal for you if you prefer tailoring with a bold print.
The mods of the 1960s adopted the Prince of Wales check, which was smart, trim, and manly, and set the benchmark for how the subculture is remembered now – crisply made and easily worn with trousers and blazer.
A boxy check print makes up this unusual pattern. Two darker and two lighter stripes alternate with four darker and four lighter stripes, which are then crossed with four darker and four lighter stripes.
Do you want to incorporate the Prince of Wales check into your wardrobe? Tweed has the advantage of being effective in both large and little doses, for those of you who might be experimenting with patterns – or large, bolder checks for those who are old hats at incorporating some much-needed life into those more plain, staple pieces.
Looking for vintage clothing online is a great way to source unique pieces of clothing that you can’t find anywhere else – many brands, like Relco London, have a stock of unique items that won’t be sold in your regular stores!
It’s also a great way to get to know vintage clothing a little better, as you can browse and do your research to make sure you’re getting the best deal and quality, at the same time.