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Walk around any major city in the UK and see what everyone is wearing; You may feel like you’ve been transported back to the ’90s. That’s when Hollywood stars were Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt; Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders appeared on AbFab television; and we were listening to Madonna and the Spice Girls.
And what were we carrying? Slip dresses, cargo pants, slingback heels and combat boots are now back in fashion. Those items in your wardrobe that you’ve given little thought to for the past three decades (now called ’90s vintage clothing) could actually make you some money, as fashion fans devour them in charity shops and online.
Susie Nelson, of vintage boutique Modes & More in Westminster, says: “Gen Z and Millennials can’t remember the ’90s, but this resurgence of that decade’s fashion means they can incorporate these bygone styles into their wardrobe. contemporary”.
And this lust for the fashion of ’90s designers, from Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier to Armani and Yves Saint Laurent, could boost your bank account by several hundred, if not thousands, of pounds, experts say.
Elena Jackson, of Ewbank’s Auctions, says: ‘Look what real people are wearing on the city streets. There’s a rainbow of savvy fashionistas sporting their own perceptions of what’s hot in places like London, Bristol and Manchester.
Stars and Stripes: Clockwise from left, Italian brand Moschino is adored for its bold colors; the Dior ‘Diana’ bag; and a pair of floral Dr Martens are all from the 90s
For a free valuation of items from the 1990s, try auction houses such as Lawrences Auctioneers in Somerset and Bourne End Auction Rooms, based in Buckinghamshire.
Cash in your old clothes
If you still need some inspiration to start digging through your wardrobe, four months ago a red Yves Saint Laurent mac sold at Ewbank’s Auctions in Surrey for £485 after an estimate of £150.
The Italian brand synonymous with the ’90s is Moschino, much loved for its original designs and bold colors. Now a Nordic jacket from 1992 with patchwork colors and designs costs £715 on online marketplace Etsy. The design is very similar to the fast-fashion puffer coats now sported by Generation Z, so a vintage original will fetch a tidy sum online.
But if bold colors have never been your style, Moschino’s more sedate tailored pieces are also popular. A black double-breasted jacket sells for £1,033 on e-commerce site 1stDibs; Not a bad performance for an old jacket you’ve forgotten about.
Also on 1stDibs is a cashmere double-breasted coat by Jean Paul Gaultier, for £1,938. A black Yves Saint Laurent cropped jacket sells for £545 online at London-based vintage clothing store Circa Vintage.
Armani’s vintage pieces will also be a hit with younger people. An early 90s woven crepe jacket with gathered waist costs £175; a pair of brown Armani pointed toe heels for £96; and a black Moschino slip dress for £155 on online marketplace Etsy.
High heels fly
Young fashion lovers also have shoes at the top of their wish list.
Chanel has always been synonymous with understated elegance, but its leather combat boots from the Autumn/Winter 1992-93 collection are on trend, and a knee-high pair sold for £2,200 at Kerry Taylor Auctions in Bermondsey.
’90s staple Dr. Martens is still in style, but vintage Docs are hot property. A pair of ’90s floral boots are one of the best designs you can find hidden away, according to Lynnette Hecker, who runs Lovely’s Vintage Emporium, based in Bath. Some floral-print boots cost more than £100 on resale websites such as Depop and Vinted, as young fashionistas race to find a pair with a story. Not a bad return when a pair of Docs cost £45 in the ’90s, according to independent shoe retailer AG Meek.
Most pairs of Doc Martens from the ’90s prove popular on resale websites, so if there’s an old pair you’ve forgotten about, it’s worth searching for. And don’t forget, says Lynnette, that all shoes will be priced higher if they’re in their original box.
Bags are in fashion
Handbags are some of the most lucrative ’90s pieces you can find hidden away, according to Jackson. She says, ‘I can’t express this enough. Use them and love them, but take care of the bags: keep all receipts and original boxes. In addition, the bags adapt to everyone, so size is not a restrictive factor when it comes to keeping them like it is with clothing.’
Elegant: Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders
One of the most sought after is the small black Lady Dior lambskin quilted bag by Christian Dior. Popularized by Princess Diana, it also comes in hot pink and red. While Dior still sells the bag for around £5,000, used bags in perfect condition hold their value well. One sold last October at Ewbank Auctions for £1,560 including fees, hundreds more than the estimate. Online sites such as bella-ling.com sell them for around £2,950.
Even bags from fashion brands such as Kookai, Accessorize and GAP will sell for between £30 and £40 on sites such as Depop.
High Street Favorites
Luxury brands such as Red or Dead, Evisu or Morgan are common on second-hand clothing sites such as Vinted or Depop.
Mrs Hecker says: ‘High street items have maintained their value as much as haute couture. It’s all about quality as they will always sell even if they are over 20 years old.”
She thinks a quilted jacket from The North Face brand is a hidden gem. This is because the brand now has a line, Nuptse 1996, inspired by the retro jacket. One of these new puffer jackets sells for £315, but any vintage coat from The North Face could set you back £200.
Saint Michael is collectible!
If you lived in the ’90s (and before), you may remember Marks & Spencer’s former brand, St Michael, as staid and rather old-fashioned, but it’s being cut back by Generation Z.
While selling these items won’t make you much money, Emily London, a vintage fashion expert who runs an eponymous website, believes their value will increase with their continued popularity.
St Michael’s clothing has the year of production on the clothing label, so it’s easy to identify if you have a 90s vintage. Emily also cites that Wallis has gone up in value. She says: ‘The quality of 90s Wallis coats is hard to beat. Oversized tailoring, slouchy silhouettes and subtle finishing details make the pieces easy to pair with modern pieces.’
How to really clean…
Clothes are made to be worn, so some wear and tear is natural. But to optimize their value, make sure they’re washed – invest in a steamer from Argos for just £25 and check all the seams and buttons.
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