Frequently Asked Questions
I’m not finding what I’m looking for, do you have other inventory not listed?
What condition are your vintage pieces in when listed?
It is rare that we will stock items in our inventory that are not at least in “good”/ “very good” condition. We use the below guidelines to describe our merchandise in the listings:
Mint - As new with absolutely no flaws or wear
Excellent - Used, with no noticeable flaws.
Very Good - Used, with minor flaws, no repairs needed.
Good - Visible wear, minor flaws and/or optional repairs needed.
Fair - Numerous flaws, repairs needed, fragile.
Poor - Extensive damage, for display or study only.
What actions do you take when caring for the items in your shop?
As items comes into our collection, we give each piece the individual attention we believe it deserves. Each article has been lovingly chosen and inspected before it even makes its way back to our warehouse. Items are chosen first by how well it matches our brand esthetic and then carefully inspected to insure no fading, holes, weird smells that won’t be easy to get out, or other damage. If an item is listed in our shop, we can promise it is in the best condition possible, and any flaws that affect the wearability or look of the piece are carefully noted in the listing.
Our clothing is cleaned and stored to the best of our ability when it is in our possession. If an item is unable to be washed due to age or condition, it will be noted in the listing. Otherwise you can assume the garment has been properly cleaned by our team. Home décor and accessories are all cleaned up and removed of any dirt, dust, or scuffs. If an item still has discrepancies, it will be noted in the listing.
PLEASE NOTE: Merchandise sold by Notorious Vintage is vintage and therefore previously owned and loved. Because of this, there may be visible signs of wear or age to the piece that is out of our control. Any flaws or discrepancies in an item will be noted in the listing as well as given a condition rating. If you receive an item that you feel has been improperly represented, please send us an email so we can find a solution.
Where do you source your vintage?
We source our treasures everywhere we can find them! Anywhere from our grandmas closet, estate sales, during our travels, thrift stores, hand-me-downs, antique malls, flea markets, friends closets, garage sales, YOU NAME IT! As long as it fits Notorious Vintage’s brand esthetic, it’s fair game.
What do you consider to be vintage?
Vintage describes an item at least 20 years of age. At Notorious Vintage, we carry vintage items from the 1920’s-1990’s as well as vintage-inspired handmade items produced present-day. All items listed in our shop will have a date or decade attached to it when possible. Handmade items will be identified as such as to eliminate any confusion.
Vintage vs. Antique vs. Retro
Vintage is at least 20 years old
Antique is at least 100 years old; currently, we do not carry any antique items
Retro is any style that is reminiscent of the past (retro means “looking backwards”); typically associated with 1950s-1980s style but is not necessarily attached to vintage as it could be retro-inspired
How should I wash and store vintage clothing items?
Due to the age of vintage clothing, much care should be taken when considering washing, drying, and storing the item. Vintage clothing often uses more delicate fabrics, embellishments, and techniques than we are used to handling today which means exposing it to a washing machine or improper cleaning methods could cause it to lose its shape, color, durability, or even disintegrate/shred. This will not only ultimately ruin the look of the garment, but deem it of no value. Because of this, washing vintage clothing is often a controversial subject. Generally, each item will come with a care tag that can better direct you on how to wash the garment.
Typically, rayon crepe, silk, lace trimmed items, 100% wool, fur, leather and velvet garments should not be washed at home, and instead be dry cleaned when possible (if at all… does the item NEED to be cleaned? If not, it’s best to leave it as-is to be on the safe side). Other materials such as cotton, linen, and mixed blends (nylon, wool, or acrylic) are often a bit safer to care for yourself. Start by sorting clothing by colors and fabrics and wash small loads at a time if using a machine. We typically keep vintage loads between 6-10 items depending on their bulkiness. Be aware of zippers, buttons, and other details that could snag or rip the garment or others in the load by making sure all zippers are zipped, hooks are fastened, and buttons are secured. Generally, vintage garments should be washed on the gentle cycle (or hand wash cycle if your machine has the capabilities) in a mild/natural liquid detergent on cold and rinsed well. Squeeze gently. Keep in mind: Washing in hard water or a source that is known for water deposits could cause discoloration to the garment.
Our friends over at VintageVixen.com had the perfect instructions for hand washing your vintage clothing as well as other “Basic Practical Tips for Daily Care”
- Clean the container, sink, or tub you will be using very thoroughly, and wipe it down with a white towel to be sure its surface is clean.
- Run the water until its temperature is right, then mix a drop or two of detergent in a small pool of water at the bottom of the container. Touch this to a hidden seam, let it dry, and then check it for bleeding or puckering. If nothing occurs, it's passed the pretest. If it bleeds, try very cold water. If it puckers around the edge of the once-wet area, it needs to be dry cleaned.
- Fill the container with water at the right temperature, leaving enough physical space for the garment to be submerged and not overflow the container.
- Add liquid detergent after the water is done, from a few drops for a lightly used garment to two tablespoons for a heavily soiled garment. This amount is used for an eight quart container.
- Mix the liquid detergent into the water thoroughly.
- Add the garment in a coil or swirl shape, and gently push and move the garment to allow detergent to penetrate the entire garment.
- Be alert for any bleeding, shrinkage, or other adverse problems.
- Watch for the water to change from clear to yellow. When it does, let the water drain out and gently press out excess water from the garment. Never wring, twist, or pull the garment. Also, always pick up the garment in total, not by a sleeve or a part. Fabric is often weakest when wet.
- After the water is drained, refill the container with water and repeat the process. If the water continues to turn yellow, repeat this sequence until fresh water remains clear. You can add detergent each time (usually in smaller amounts) if the fabric is stained or dingy.
- When the water does remain clear, then you can begin looking at the amount of detergent in the water. If there are any suds in the water, repeat the emptying and refilling sequence until no suds show on the surface.
- When the detergent is completely removed, be gentle in squeezing out the water from the garment. Let it dry by hanging it folded in half over a towel rack, with a white towel hung between the garment and the rack. You can also lay the garment flat on a white towel, which is better for heavy or knit garments, or anything that could stretch out of shape if hung. Remember that the fabric is much heavier when saturated with water. Tumble dry anything that is okay for a machine drying.
Knitwear, heavy garments and lingerie should be dried flat if possible. Do not tumble dry. Drying in a washer can cause shrinkage, pilling, and risk the integrity of the vintage garments. We recommend line-drying the remainder of your garments (tip: in warmer weather, line-dry in the fresh air, but not direct sunlight as items may fade in sun). Hanging unlaundered clothing outside in the fresh air may even be an alternative for getting rid of smells instead of risking washing.
Steaming is generally preferred over ironing vintage due to the indirect heat and the ease. If you are nervous about doing this, you can alternatively hang your garment in the bathroom during your next steamy shower. Make sure to use a padded hanger. If you choose to iron a garment, set your iron to the correct fabric type and PRESS from the WRONG side of the fabric (turn inside out) and use a misting bottle instead of the steaming feature on your iron. Pressing is recommended over ironing as it exposed the garment to less direct heat.
Once an item has been cleaned properly and it COMPLETELY dry, it is important to store it well so that the items keep their integrity longer. Heavy items such as sweaters or beaded shirts should always be folded as to not leave any hanger marks in the shoulders or stretch out the garment. Dresses and jackets should be hung on padded hangers. Never use wire hangers as those can rust and damage clothing. It is not recommended to store vintage clothing in boxes as it can cause mildew or lock in odd smells.
Vintage clothing has been around a long time... at least 20 years by definition. You don’t want to be the one to take a 50 year old item out of commission, so it is your responsibility to care for items appropriately.
**Disclaimer: the above information if what has worked for us. We can not be held responsible if you try any of these methods at home and an item is damaged. Be honest with yourself about your laundering abilities (keep in mind that clothing probably older than you is at stake and once damaged can’t be easily or cheaply fixed, if even at all). If there is ever a question, when in doubt, take it to a trusted dry cleaner that has experience with vintage garments and get their professional opinion. There will be times where washing is not advised. There are many valuable resources on the internet available to help you better care for your particular item. If there is every any question, please reach out and we will do our best to assist you in finding the proper methods.