The Pro's and Con's of Reproduction Vintage

Dear Readers,

How are we all today? Full of the joys of spring? I am not, I currently have a stinking cold. And while I was shuffling around doing the laundry in my yoga pants and t-shirt (oh so glamorous I know!) I got to thinking about reproduction vintage. Now I have been accused of being a vintage snob in the past  (with regards reproduction vintage) but I really don't believe this term applies to me so I have weighed up the positives and negatives of purchasing reproduction vintage clothing. I'm fussy, yes. Passionate about vintage, certainly! But a snob, never.

Dress from the Seamstress of Bloosbury
Ease of use - do you know how often I do hand washing? About every 6 months so I have a number of clothes which are pretty much never worn and only gazed at adoringly. During those times I have done the hand washing I have pondered quite what a marvellous invention of women's liberation the washing machine actually is. So to be able to gad about, do what I like, be as clumsy as I am want to be, and still be able to lob my frock in the washing machine is a great boon in my eyes. Modern fabrics are very easy to keep and clean.

Preserving the past - as previously mentioned I am clumsy and so very often something will happen to my frock to cause damage or destruction and to do that to a garment which managed to survive 60 or more years before I got my mitts on it is true vandalism. I hate the thought of destroying that history, that past, everything that garment was and meant. Also if I do destroy my dress then it is more easily replaced than true vintage.

Choice and variety - certainly folks back in't day were much smaller than we are now. This is a statistical fact. Therefore I find it difficult to get my ankle into some dresses let alone the rest of me. Having the choice of sizes certainly makes life easier and I feel more inclusive.
Dress from Heyday! vintage clothing

Cost - one thing that has niggled me about reproduction vintage in the past is the price because "how much" is something I find I actually exclaim from time to time. I do like my bargains. So to find that sometimes a reproduction dress costs the same or more than buying true vintage puts me off somewhat. Though I will say that since the companies producing reproduction are often small, local, businesses they have bigger overheads and do not have the advantage of economies of scale.

Quality - all I will say is "Primark finishing" is not going to cut it on a dress I am shelling out £80 for.

Individuality - one of the main reasons I turned to vintage in the first place many moons ago was because I wanted to look different so to wear the exact same outfit that 80% of everyone else at the event also has feels like it's going against that. To some degree as well it feels to me like there is a blurring of the eras and styles and it's almost changing history or skewing people's perceptions and I'm not happy with that. I feel that there is almost a bit of an obligation to get it right, to honour the past and remember things as they were.

Oh blimey I think I'd better stop there as I am in danger of going into a completely different conversation all together! Those are my feelings of reproduction vintage for better and worse. I would never judge anyone for wearing reproduction and I myself wear it often for the reasons I have given above. But I do still love my true vintage!

What are your thoughts? Do you wear reproduction or are you true vintage right down to your knick knocks?



  1. You raise some very good points here. I'll be honest that my amount of true vintage these days is very small - it all needs repairs or alterations or at the very least very careful handwashing and I don't have time!! So, I do buy quite a bit of reproduction, but then quite a bit of high street too. This might sound controversial, but I have 'high street' items that are far superior quality to more expensive brands (I could list the problems I've had!!), so I judge each item on a VERY individual basis. For a higher price I not only expect superior quality and fit, but also excellent customer service, which I don't always receive. I have a Primark jumper I've had for 10 years, no issues. And repro that's lasted barely 2 years with very light wearing before fading, coming unravelled and generally disintegrating. So, companies have to work hard to persuade me to part with my cash!!

    1. Booo! I just wrote out a big reply and then lost it. I hate it when that happens.
      I totally agree! I try to buy fewer, better quality items these days (have wasted lots of money on eBay impulse purchases on what turned out to be cheap tat). Having said that a higher price doesn't automatically mean better quality. I wear a mix of true vintage, repro, and high street.
      Thanks for commenting, I've been reading your blog for yonks! From back when I first got into vintage.
      Rowena x

  2. I don't wear vintage clothes (but I love your blog and think you're stunning!) but here's a thought. How do you feel about acquiring vintage patterns and making your own reproductions? That would allow you to choose unique materials and add personal touches that would make you stand out in a crowd.

    1. Wow what a compliment! Thanks very much Lisa.
      Unfortunately I'm baffled by modern patterns. I'd love to be able to sew from vintage patterns but I'm not quite that skilled yet. One day though!!
      Rowena x

  3. Very fair assessment of both sides of the coin, dear Rowena. I do wear repro myself, but I tend to aim for pieces that are quite authentic looking and/or which are hard (if not impossible) to find in my size and/or price range on the real vintage market. I've long held the the position that I don't exclude any areas of clothing when it comes to creating the vintage style looks that I hold near and dear to my heart, so whether something is true vintage, repro, 80s does 40s/50s, or vintage appropriate (I don't really sew, but if I did, that would be listed here, too), it's all fair game in my books. The end result of how my outfit look generally trumps, for me personally, whether all of the pieces that comprise it are true vintage or not.

    Wishing you an awesome start of April,
    ♥ Jessica