Fashion Vintage

Vintage Vs. Reproduction

2:47 PMDollie DeVille

The fight is on! In the left corner we have tried and true ol’ school Vintage, and in the right corner we have a new kid on the block, Reproduction. It’s going to be a tight match……..

Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!

First up: Vintage!

PROs: Wearing vintage clothing is a sure-fire way to stand out, look unique, and look authentic. You can be sure that no one will be wearing the same thing you are. Vintage clothing has stood the test of time. The styles are classic, classy, and timeless. They are also built to last (most in the good ol’ USA!), like most modern clothing is not. If taken care of properly that garment can last another 50 years. Vintage clothing is only becoming more rare and sought after everyday, making it a good long-term investment. But, if you know where to look, there are still great deals to be had. Also, vintage is green! Reduce, reuse, re-wear!

CONs: No matter how well the garment has been taken care of, it is still 50 +/- years old. The armpits could be torn, there could be stains, and it can smell really musty. The ones that are in perfect condition (a la deadstock) can be pretty pricey, especially the name brands. Vintage sizing is very different from modern sizing, and it is very limited. It can be hard to find the style garment you want in your size. Vintage clothing being rare can also be a con: I once lost an ebay bid on a beautiful strapless wiggle mermaid dress in red lace. Do you think I will ever see that dress again? Not likely. It’s enough to break your little heart!

Only You Can Be The Verdict: Vintage is a labor of love. It can cost you a lot of time and money. Vintage clothing collecting can also become an addiction. There is always something “new” and exciting that you want. This can cause you to spend endless hours and paychecks on Ebay. It can also leave you needing a bigger closet (in my case a spare room). But, it’s sooooo much funnnnnn!

Next up: Reproduction!

PROs: Reproduction clothing has brought vintage style to the masses, who otherwise may not have been exposed to it. Reproduction clothing is so accessible; you can even find it in the mall now-a-days! It comes in many sizes, colors and is always available. In some cases it is more affordable than the vintage inspiration. Reproductions have come a long way! Some are as good as the real thing. Reproductions can be made with vintage patters, vintage fabric, or vintage buttons, etc. Reproduction always makes a great gift too, because the sizes are modern and they take returns!

CONs: You better wear it girl! If you buy the most popular style reproduction dress of the year and want to wear it to a big event, you better make sure you can wear it better than anyone else. Sometimes the ease of reproduction clothing can cost you. In some cases I find it cheaper to buy the real thing. Like a cotton wrap dress: you can get a vintage one for $20 (or less!), but a similar reproduction one may cost you $50. In the past I have also seen some reproduction clothing that was not good quality in my opinion, like thin fabrics and messy sewing.

Only You Can Be The Verdict: Reproduction clothing is great when you don’t want to spend a lot of time and energy hunting down good vintage. It is also great if you need to get something in a larger size. Ask for reproduction this Christmas! It will be a lot easier for Mom to get you something you actually like! The verdict is still out on if it is a cheaper or more expensive option though.

My take: I mostly prefer vintage because I like the uniqueness and authenticity of it. I really enjoy searching high and low for the perfect vintage garment. I do wear reproduction though, especially to work. I have ripped a lot of dresses on my keyboard tray, spilled a lot of coffee, and gotten ink on too many shirts, so now I wear reproduction stuff that is easily replaceable. I mix and match vintage with reproduction a lot too! The most important thing is that you wear something you feel good in, and rock it!


Can you tell which of these is the Shaheen, and which is the Whirling Turban?
I don't know if I could tell the diffence without really looking at it up close! What a knock out reproduction!

This is a close race too! This red pant suit is from Atomic Swag, and a steal at only $87! I have tried it on and it fits beautifully and is very well made. The vintage one is $175 from Blue Velvet Vintage. Both are so cute! 

Lets get shopping! Here is a small sampling of online recourses:



Or both at the same store:

I hope you enjoyed this post! Who do you think won this fight? I would love to hear!

Dollie D.

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  1. Very true, I read about alot of girls having a hard time finding vintage and how repro is cheaper. But for me it is the exact opposite. Im not a teeny size eithier I have hips and breasts like no other but I rather search then shell out $100 or $150 for one item unless I can touch it in person and know the worth. I find dresses for $20 dollars dead stock from the 50's all the time on the internet but I cant find squat repro for a price close unless you want shotty fabrics and sewing. You cant even find a good pair of capris for under $70 bucks thats about 3 dresses. I wear both though but over the years I have been accumlating more vintage and just making my own reproduction stuff.

    Miss 1949

  2. What a great post! I am finding that a mix of authentic vintage, plus some repros that I make myself (luckily I can sew!) seem to work well for me. As a teacher, I can throw in a touch of vintage everyday, whether its a dress, some funky jewelry or so great shoes, and still feel comfortable and unique.

  3. The big problem with repro for me is that I have a small waist compared to my hip measurements and it never fits properly. Always too big in the waist. Also, working at the vintage store I can get much better deals on vintage than buying repro.

    I will say the only repro that is as good as vintage is whirlingturban. Her reproductions fit just as good as the originals and she does custom fit. It is pricey, but worth it for something special. I have over half dozen whirlingturban dresses and many people didn't realize they were reproductions.

  4. I vote for the good mix of both! But nothing can make me happier than a true, vintage treasure! Have a really nice tuesday, when it comes your way :)

  5. I’ve been thinking about this same topic quite a bit lately! When I first started dressing vintage, I wore a mix of repro and vintage clothing as I developed my style and fashion tastes. I then moved into wearing vintage exclusively for several years, becoming a bit of a vintage purist. I liked the uniqueness of vintage, and felt the fabric and workmanship of vintage pieces was considerably better than any repro options out there (stretch fabric has never been my thing, and a lot of repro companies seem to use this fabric heavily.) Not to mention, the cut of vintage clothing suited my curvy figure perfectly—modern clothing is almost never cut for someone with a small waist and round hips. And I could usually find a fantastic vintage frock for a fraction of the cost of a reproduction one. But lately—say, the past year or so—I’ve been wearing a lot more reproductions. Many of my vintage pieces have started to wear out (I’ve had some very sad causalities, I’m afraid), and reproductions are just more practical for work (even though I work in office, which seems like a safe environment for vintage—but I too have ripped and stained garments just sitting at my desk/drinking coffee.) I’ve also been modeling for some repro companies—Able Grable in particular—and have really been thrilled with their designs. I find myself reaching for these often, saving my favorite vintage pieces for special occasions and photo shoots. I’ve also taken up sewing in the past couple of years, which I love to do—sewing up a frock from a vintage pattern, with vintage fabric, seems to be an excellent blend of both worlds for me. So far for now, I’d say it’s a tie between the sides for me :-)

  6. Great post! While I love vintage, sometimes I barely have enough time to buy groceries in a week, let alone do fun shopping. So I do really on repo for my daily go-to. I really make any extra effort to go vintage for special occasions, but it's not always in the cards (especially considering I am tall with a looong waist). I really appreciate your demonstration of both the pros and the cons because I feel a little lame in repro around gorgeously decked out vintage ladies, but at this point in my life I just don't have the time/energy/funds. Thanks for making a case for both sides of the coin!

  7. I used to hate repro! I had a really bad experience with it plus I just like the quality and look of vintage. However, recently there are some great repro brands out there that really do an amazing job! Whirling Turban, Heyday and Trashy Diva are just a few but I think their items are extremely well made. That being said, I can still usually find the vintage I want at a cheaper price than most repro. The things I can't find though, like wide leg pants, I will buy repro. As much as I adore Whirling Turban I just can't spend over $200 on a repro sarong dress when I can buy a real Shaheen for that amount. So for the most part I will continue to buy vintage but I will mix in repro when I can.

  8. I am only just coming across this discussion ever so late, but I wanted to say *THANK YOU* so very much for your flattering remarks about Whirling Turban. I'm honored.

    And I'd like to add that I, too, wear both repro and real vintage and certainly do not think Whirling Turban's creations are superior to real vintage. They simply serve a different purpose at times, as most of you have concurred.

    My motivation for making them is joy, fascination and compulsion. And I do like to think I give them my own spin.

    I also adore the process of collaborating with someone to create something for someone that flatters and expresses them uniquely; the Hollywood costumer in me.

    Thanks again, a lot.


  9. While I'd love to have vintage, I'm a big girl bettie and plus size (true lane bryant style plus size) is just next to impossible to find. Luckly butterick and vogue reissued vintage patterns, I have almost 20 yrs of sewing experience, and a good eye for fabrics, so I can create something good. I make up for not having authentic dresses by finding beaded cardigans, jewelry (most of it handed down from my grandmother), and purses

  10. I like both! I love vintage finds, but I also like reproduction. Most of the time, I make my own reproduction though, so the con of someone else wearing the exact same thing isn't an issue for my reproduction clothes (I'd be shocked if someone has chosen the exact same pattern and fabric, not to mention made the same mistakes that turned into "character" ). I could see how it would be an issue with purchased reproduction, as the pool of options is small.


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