Dress, formal, tailored, funky, casual, button-down, and blouses. Shirting is largely dependent on the era in which the shirt was made. Styling apparent on shirts popular in the 70s will be remarkably different than designs made in the 80s. When viewed broadly, fashion trends can be categorized by decade, and button-down shirts display changing tastes throughout time with noticeable flare. From underwear to tuxedo shirting the buttoned and collared shirt has come a long way. Collars, button types and sizes, sleeves and their construction, fabric patterns and colors, cuff styles, and fit are a few of the many pieces of shirt construction that went through the greatest amount of changes from decade to decade, satisfying shifting social attitudes. From custom to off-the-rack, 20th century shirts are special and when worn with modern clothes or other vintage pieces they transform the entire look. The stark contrast between a 1970s cotton shirt with a butterfly collar, bishop sleeves, and a slightly faded pattern and a modern pair of tight-fitting slacks or jeans is an exciting combination. Authentic vintage shirts for formal or casual outfits are an incredible staple piece for any closet.
Rarity is a desired quality in the vintage clothing world, and shirts are no exception. Scarcity of particular designs, or pieces that lack duplicates all together are sought after. To be a vintage shopper is to be a collector. For example, in the past, custom-made or tailored shirts on occasionally had the shirt-owner’s or tailor’s name sewn into the tag, or they possessed unique identifiers to denote their one-of-one status and date of production - these pieces to a vintage shopper are invaluable - even if your name is not, Newark, you are going to love wearing their completely custom shirt from the 1950s. Vintage clothing exists in heaps, to be utterly bland, there is a massive amount of vintage clothing - plenty to go around. Enough clothing in supply that the billions of new pieces produced annually and the millions of tons of resources used in the manufacturing process should in some part yield to the pre-existing supply. Fast fashion shirting is a terrible option in the face of hand-made vintage wear. Endurance is the mark of well-made clothing, and vintage shirts, being at least 20 years old and still stylish - perhaps more so than ever.
Formal shirt design qualities that communicate age and level of artisanship guide (heads up when shopping for vintage - spot quality).
Almost always the first thing you see, the collar can make or break a shirt, especially after years of use and cleaning. Collar construction consists of three main fabric cuts, the upper layer, the interfacing, and the under layer. The upper layer is the visible part of the collar leaf, while the under layer is the layer sewn below and faces the shirt itself. The middle piece is the interfacing that is either fusible or sew-in support material sewn to the inside of the upper layer. The collar is then attached to the collar band that is then attached to the shirt, the collar band largely speaking follows the same construction as the collar. Now why this is important is due to the age of vintage shirts, to be able to endure decades of wear and tear, washing and dry-cleaning, shirt collars with sewn-in interfacing will survive in better condition than collars with fused interfacing (the glue of the fusible interfacing simply can not maintain structural integrity as long as stitching). This becomes apparent as soon as you see the shirt on a hanger. If the collar stands up and the collar points and edges maintain their shape then the shirt features superior material details and handiwork. The structural components of the front placket follow nearly the same details and provide the same intended result. A better fitting shirt that stands the test of time. Cuffs carry similar construction concerns, cuffs made to last will be more rigid to wrinkles and malformations. Beyond Multiple layer components, quality formal shirts will also feature removable collar stay pockets and multiple stitches around the buttonholes. Further than extra details and styling components, the rest of the decision is up to design, fit, and fabric (three aspects which to a great extent influence each other). Other more readily identifiable signs to look for in vintage shirts is the brand and the shirt tags.
Pretty Old sources and sells vintage shirts amongst a larger collection of old clothing.