Vintage luggage is often highly unique and easy to spot in a crowd, but it can also be easily damaged, and must be more regularly maintained than more modern luggage. Advantages of vintage luggage are its style and, often, its value. Vintage pieces are usually rare and carry with them a certain unusual charm. Carrying vintage pieces for prolonged travel may lead to damage, however, as older fabrics and materials may not always hold up as well. It is also important to regularly care for and repair vintage luggage to keep it in working order, which can become costly over time.
Much of the appeal of vintage luggage is its looks. An old-fashioned suitcase or duffel bag is often seen as something of a style statement, particularly if it comes from a coveted designer. Individuals interested in fashion may choose a vintage piece of luggage as a reflection of their own uniqueness, or as a way to stand out. Vintage luggage is sometimes inherited, as well. Carrying grandma’s valise or an Army duffel bag from the Second World War can make the past seem less distant.
The uniqueness of vintage luggage makes it easy to spot, and easy to keep track of in heavily congested travel situations. There is little risk that someone will mistake a vintage bag for his or her own at the luggage claim carousel, for instance. Vintage bags can also be an instant conversation starter, as they often look so much different from other types of luggage.
There are downsides of vintage luggage too, however. One of the biggest drawbacks is how fragile old luggage often is. While a more modern-built suitcase may have no problem surviving the rough-and-tumble world of checked baggage, a vintage piece may not fare as well. Using vintage luggage usually requires a bit of care and protection from rough treatment. It is often unwise to check vintage bags with airlines or train operators unless the bag’s care can be vouched for.
Vintage pieces usually need more general upkeep. Older fabric may need restoration work to keep it from wearing thin, for instance. Zipper pulls and clasps may need to be replaced or repaired in order to remain durable. Caring for vintage luggage is often costly.
Some luggage retailers sell vintage-look luggage, which has the style and uniqueness of true vintage pieces, but is made with modern durability. Bags of this sort have a lot of the advantages of real retro luggage, but not nearly as many of the drawbacks. Pieces of this sort can also frequently be purchased as a luggage set. It is generally hard to find true vintage luggage in a set, as most of the time pieces were created as individuals. Sets that did exist were often were separated, lost, or damaged over time.