Guide to Vintage Sweatshirts (UK)

Fast fashion is out.

The rejection of unsustainable consumerism and wearing clothes that frankly lack any real originality is a radical shift. And it’s no surprise that this activism, of sorts, bubbled up through the universities. 

The Vintage Renaissance

When we use the phrase ‘Vintage’ within the context of the last ten years it could be easy to mistake it for the baby booming A-line skirts and gingham patterns. But with the student demographic averaging between 18-21 years old and having little concept of fashion-past, all the trends from the 80s and 90s look new again.

This is more than just a search for affordable lecture-wear because while vintage fashion is typically second-hand, it still struggles to compete with the dirt-cheap fast fashion offerings. There’s something more at play.

With fashion trends continually recycling, the way we think about vintage clothing has switched from trash to treasure. Who knew flared jeans and tie-dye were ever going to come back in style?

The long-wearing potential of quality garments looking to find a new home, the one-of-a-kind individuality of designs that capture an era-gone-by in a way a knockoff never could. Vintage has a charm, and students are harnessing it for self-expression.

The aim is simple: carefree, classic and creative clothing.

Enter, The Humble Sweatshirt

By far one of the most versatile pieces of vintage apparel has to be the pullover sweatshirt. Whether it be minimal with its lowkey branding or flaunt graphic illustrations, a vintage sweatshirt harbours instant appeal.

To wear vintage is not to always look vintage. Mixing an 80s sweatshirt with a pair of contemporary trainers creates a clash of cultures, granting the second-hand piece a new life.

There are certain stereotypes of vintage sweatshirt wearers that can either offer great inspiration or an ‘avoid’ list of styling.

Students are an obvious subject. Effortless and unique, they throw a sweatshirt on, brush their teeth and be out the door. And as for what fit students choose, the oversized sweatshirt is a favourite. While it sounds unshapely, it’s the perfect no-fuss garment.

Sweatshirts gracefully fall over all lumps and bumps hiding a multitude of beer belly and takeaway sins and, as it tapers in at the collar and wrists, doesn’t cause any mobility issues – no one enjoys dipping their sleeve in their food.

While you may imagine students alone hold the rights to sweatshirt wearing, truthfully, there’s a style for everybody.

The rebirth of fashion brands may have something to do with some highly coveted sweatshirts. While Champion may claim ownership for the clothing style (originally marketed for 1930’s factory workers in freezing upstate New York), it’s brands such as Adidas and Puma that rank favourably with the vintage markets.

There Are No Rules When It Comes to Styling

Dependant on the fit and style they can be dressed up (think: upmarket brand and toned down colours) or a corner-shop classic outfit (think: vibrant and oversized and giving off that just-rolled-out-of-bed vibe).

Where practicality and fashion mix is the sportswear genre. Relaxed silhouettes and colourful fabrics are hallmarks of 21st-century sportswear. Exactly the type of feel that so many vintage sweatshirts supply, which makes them the perfect companion for a cohesive sport-chic look.

When deciding which to buy, throw your regular size and gender department out the window. Choosing sweatshirts boils down to one mantra: bigger is better.

Size up one, two or three sizes. After all, if it’s big enough to protect your modesty, that sweatshirt could be your one-and-done garment for the day… and who doesn’t love a little bit of extra comfiness?                                    

Should You Cop A Vintage Sweat?

Decade after decade, sweatshirts are being revamped to suit the fashion taste of the times, but often with diminishing uniqueness and quality.

Vintage sweatshirts provide a one-of-a-kind experience, a reference to iconic designs and an item of clothing that is unmatched in modern wardrobes.

So, why not?

Best Places to Buy a Vintage Sweatshirt (UK)

The decision has been made. You’re going to take the plunge and grab a vintage sweatshirt that will (if all goes according to plan) redefine your wardrobe and set you on a path of vintage bliss. But where should you start and how can you get the most bang for your buck! Here are the best places to get a vintage sweatshirt (UK):

Online Vintage Stores

Vintage clothing emerged as an internet sensation long before it started appearing on our high streets. And some of the rarest and most exclusive vintage clothes can be found at online boutiques and stores. Here’s some of our favourite:

• OneOff Vintage

OneOff Vintage stock a massive supply of vintage sweatshirts. Everything ranging from vintage Nike sweatshirts with big spellouts to classic vintage Best Company sweatshirts with the Paninari style designs. They marry affordability and quality in a unique way that means you can get rare vintage sweatshirts without breaking the bank.

• Linear Vintage

Linear Vintage stock some of the rarest and most desirable sweatshirts that are out there. They stay on the cutting edge of vintage fashion, closely following trends and going above and beyond to supply the hardest to find goods. You do pay a premium at Linear Vintage, but you get the benefit of a highly curated collection to browse through.

• GarmGang

GarmGang’s collection of vintage sweatshirts is straight to the point. They stock all the staples, the classic vintage sweatshirts that can go with basically any outfit. Whilst they do have fewer of the rarest and most desirable sweatshirts, their prices are unmatched and what they offer in term of value is really one of a kind in the vintage marketplace.

Physical Vintage Clothing Stores

• We Are Cow

We Are Cow are one of the biggest high street vintage retailers and they stock a wide variety of styles when it comes to vintage sweatshirts. They pride themselves on catering to the general high street consumer so you may be hard pressed to find the same type of rare sweatshirts that you do online, but they still stock some really cool and unique items, particularly in their unbranded section.

• Pop Boutique

Pop Boutique have stepped up their game in a big way over the last 3 years and now boast stores in London, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, and Sweden. Not only have they stepped up their game in terms of locations, but also in terms of rare, high quality vintage sweatshirts. Their collection of USA college sweatshirts is second to none and the prices are very reasonable.

Now you know everything you need to get started on you vintage sweatshirt journey. Don’t hesitate, jumper right in, both feet first!

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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