Top 5 Things I've Learned Working In Vintage Fashion

Top Five Things I've Learned Working In Vintage Fashion

Starting as Revival's Operations Manager in June 2023, the world of fashion, let alone vintage fashion is a brand new venture for me. Transitioning to this industry from my previous role as a Farm Shop Manager, it’s hardly surprising I found myself in situations where new skills were needed. As a newcomer, here are five elements of working for a vintage fashion brand that stood out to me.

1. Dating Vintage Items
Dating Vintage ClothesGiven I was going to be working Saturdays for the first few months alone, one of the main aspects I focused on was how to date our clothing. Customers would come in and ask for a 1940s outfit and the thought of giving a customer something other than a 40s outfit terrified me! Luckily I had a team behind me with plenty of experience to answer all my questions. That, paired with a few very knowledgeable customers who would visit our showroom made the vintage menswear seem less of a struggle than it otherwise would have been. If only the womenswear was that simple! For some reason I just struggled with dating vintage womenswear - that was until Helene created me a couple of illustrations. These illustrations - one 40s, one 50s, showcased popular fashion features from each period and are still pinned on my noticeboard to this day. Seeing it laid out this way was my lightbulb moment. Something just clicked and everything made perfect sense! I still struggle dating true vintage garments - is it 40s or is it a 70s take on 40s? That still baffles me. Maybe I need Helene to do some more illustrations!

2. Measuring Clothing
Measuring Clothes
As time progressed I started to learn how to properly measure people and clothing. As a man who has only ever bought clothing from a handful of brands because I knew it fit, the number of requests to measure our clothing was an eye-opener for me. I spent time with our listings specialist, Alice and owner, Helene, going through our standardised method for measuring garments for our website. Despite trying to include as many measurements as possible on our listings, I’ve had requests to measure button holes and fishtail depth on our vintage style trousers, how much hem allowance there is on our retro dresses as well as collar bar weight… just to name a few!

3. Sizing
Sizing Clothes
A close relative of measurements, sizing was another area that caught me off guard. What helped was this wonderful sizing blog that our Founder and CEO Helene wrote. Through dealing with customers in person and via emails I quickly learned that the hardest garment to fit a gentleman for was trousers. There were no easy rules to follow and the only way to know for sure was to try them on or break out the trusty tailors tape. The sizing of our 40s trousers is so far from the fit of modern trousers that it catches every newbie I’ve fitted for trousers by surprise. The high waist, loose fit and requirement of braces makes for trying on lots of pairs in our showroom for newcomers to the scene. Once we get past the giggles and grandad jokes there is one standout comment I always get - “these are comfy!”. I can’t argue with them, they are extremely comfortable.

Moving to our women’s offerings and the true vintage dresses showed me how someone in the 1940s taking great care of their clothes, now brings joy and excitement to someone 80 years later. Well, that is of course if you can find something that fits! The sizes on the true vintage pieces are generally a bit smaller than that of a modern garment. Luckily Revival have you covered and we reproduce our own range of dresses and suits based on original vintage garments so they can be loved by more people and live up to the demands of modern washing practices.

4. Goodwood Revival
Goodwood Customers
“If you think this is busy, just wait until Goodwood!”. I lost count of how many times I heard this in the first couple of months. Our busiest time of year, Goodwood Revival, was talked about from day 1 of me joining Revival. Given all the talk around Goodwood Revival I thought it was best I had a read of our Goodwood blogs so see what all the hype was about. Working every Saturday since joining the Revival team up until Goodwood Revival I definitely saw a not so gradual rise in people shopping for the event. August hit and BOOM!, the floodgates opened and waves of customers were visiting each weekend for outfits and styling advice for Goodwood. There was a good variety of customers, from people who had never been to Goodwood to those who were Goodwood veterans. All had one thing in common though - they all wanted to look the part at one of the country's most iconic vintage events.

I was here to help and I lost count of how many customer outfits I’d put together by the end of August. A standout was definitely when three generations of the same family came to visit us for outfits and we couldn’t help but snap a picture of young Jack who was finding it hilarious dressing up in vintage style clothing for the first time.

5. Being In Front Of The Camera
Modelling Clothes
Accepting the offer to work for Revival, I made the decision knowing full well that at some point I would end up out of my comfort zone and, I use this term loosely, modelling. With a major photo shoot arranged 3 days after starting I got a free pass for this one and avoided being involved. I knew my luck would run out eventually, and it didn’t take long. Other than the odd product photo taking place over the next couple of months there wasn’t much in the way of photoshoots thanks to Goodwood Revival taking place. But, before I knew it September was upon us and to align with the changing of seasons we had a knitwear photoshoot over at The Carding Shed. This time I found myself in front of the camera more than ever before and modelling the men’s knitwear alongside Mark with Helene and Alice taking care of the women’s knitwear. Who knew modelling… badly, was so difficult! It definitely isn’t my calling in life but rather than trying to be the UK’s next top model I decided to just have fun with it. I left The Carding Shed having had a great time, despite being out of my comfort zone and I had a newfound respect for those who make it look so easy.

Whilst my time as part of the Revival team has been short so far, it’s definitely been enjoyable. I’ve been made to feel at home right away by our wonderful team despite hounding them all with some rather newbie questions. Here’s to plenty more newbie questions for 2024!


I would love to visit your shop.
What is your address and post code please?

Sandra Twigger January 18, 2024

My husband and i visited your shop last july , we were actually holidaying in Middleham but made a diversion to you as we had a upcoming 1940s event on the weekend that we were going home and my husband was looking for a new outfit , considering you were new to your role your service , help and advise did not dissapoint , you put a complete outfit together for him which he is very pleased with , proudly wears at 1940s events .
Thank you !

Martine Fellows January 16, 2024

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