Vintage Lingerie in Today’s Market

Vintage Lingerie on sale at Worship in Brooklyn, NY

Above: a sample of some of the vintage lingerie on sale at Worship in Brooklyn, NY.

If you’re a buyer, you may be wondering, “How well does vintage lingerie sell?” According to both of the retailers we interviewed, “…exceedingly well.”

by Rachel O’Donnell

It’s no secret that retro styles are still incredibly influential in the intimates market today. The world is still obsessed with all things vintage with shows like Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey ruling the small screen. But, what is it about vintage lingerie that makes it a money making market? The Lingerie Journal talked to Dollhouse Bettie in San Francisco and Worship in Brooklyn, New York to see how and why they continue to offer vintage lingerie to customers from coast to coast.

If you’re a buyer, you may be wondering, “How well does vintage lingerie sell?” According to both of the retailers we interviewed, “…exceedingly well.”

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Above: a selection of styles at Worship.

Worship credits the “special detailing” of their vintage pieces with “…beautiful lace work or elaborate paneling/ stitching”. But it’s important to remember that “not all vintage is equal” according to Dollhouse Bettie. The San Francisco based store “…specialize[s] in rare, deadstock and pristine condition items”.

Dollhouse Bettie

Above: Dollhouse Bettie.

“…there are plenty of savvy consumers out there who understand the value of beautiful design and exquisite tailoring.” – Dollhouse Bettie.

Deadstock is a great option when carrying vintage lingerie as it side steps the issue of selling worn undergarments to a customer. Deadstock is a term used to describe merchandise that was never sold or used by customer and remains in perfect sellable condition. Dollhouse Bettie explains, “When our customer buys the item, they are the first owner! We never, ever, sell bottoms that do not have the original tag attached. If we do sell an estate item, meaning it came from a private home as opposed to a business liquidation, it would be something along the lines of a nightgown or robe…”.

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Above: Dollhouse Bettie.

Worship believes that shoppers have become more vintage-friendly in the past few years and “…understand that our inventory is previously worn, including the lingerie, and don’t mind that at all as long as they have been cleaned and are free from any staining”. When considering carrying vintage in your store or online boutique, it is helpful to consider if your clientele is already familiar with vintage shopping and whether or not it would fit your brand’s aesthetic.

Vintage Lingerie in your Boutique

Worship store front

Above: Worship’s store front at 117 Wilson Ave (between Starr & Willoughby) Brooklyn, NY.

If you do decide to include vintage lingerie pieces in your inventory, it’s important to research well. According to Worship, when a buyer considers taking in vintage stock, you must “…look at condition first and foremost, then the fabric content, how it was made, what era it from and whether it’s a more rare piece of lingerie or something easily accessible [to customers]”.

Worship

“The craftsmanship that went into making these garments is rarely seen in today’s market.” – Worship.

Researching liquidation of brands is also a great way to go if you plan on carrying deadstock. Dollhouse Bettie’s first large vintage buying purchase was from “…the liquidation from the original owners of Rago”. It was a worthy investment as it has become a signature brand for Dollhouse Bettie and sells well continuously.

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Above: vintage bras from Worship.

In terms of customer experience, lingerie is perfect for customers with ‘a discerning eye…[who] know quality when they see it”. Dollhouse Bettie credits “…fast fashion [as] the death of style” but believes that “…there are plenty of savvy consumers out there who understand the value of beautiful design and exquisite tailoring”. Worship agrees, “…the quality of construction on vintage [pieces makes them] desirable. The craftsmanship that went into making these garments is rarely seen in today’s market”.
Dollhouse Bettie

Above: Dollhouse Bettie.

New brands like Dita Von Teese’s Von Follies line take their inspiration from the lingerie styles of years past and are doing exceptionally well in the marketplace. If brands like Von Follies or Dollhouse Bettie original designs appeal to your customer, consider carrying vintage lingerie in your boutique.

After all, timeless beauty is a thing many new designers strive for and something many vintage designers have already achieved.

Learn More

Discover the world of Dollhouse Bettie: dollhousebettie.com
Visit Worship online and in Brooklyn: shopworship.com

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One Comment on “Vintage Lingerie in Today’s Market

  1. Avatar Donna Klein says:

    Our site, SofterSilk.com, is also heavily devoted to new old stock vintage. We had a strong working relationship with 112-year old Crown Foundations until they went out of business in 2011. We bought out tens of thousands of their old “factory finds” over the years. We ship all over the world. We stock Crown shapewear up to size 13XL for 56 inch waists. We even had a couple 14- and 15-XL girdles but sold out.

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