Vintage clothing has always had a niche in the fashion world, but it seems to be gaining some serious traction - even the stars are wearing vintage designer gowns on the runway. For serious vintage fans, part of the attraction is the thrill of the hunt. Finding that unicorn piece can be exhilarating! But, you really have to know how to spot “real” vintage vs. new reproductions and also know how much to pay. Learning to shop for vintage can be so rewarding and of course it’s good for the environment, so we are a million percent in! What exactly is considered vintage and why should you be adding pieces to your wardrobe? Vintage is considered items over 20 years old, but it also means something special - items that have timeless style, top quality (to have lasted that long) and be interesting. We want to share a few tips for your vintage shopping experience.
1 - Look for reputable vintage shopping stores - You might be able to find vintage items in a thrift store, but if you are new to vintage, you might completely miss them. If you go to a vintage store, you will often find someone who is very knowledgeable about vintage clothing and who is excited to share what they know with you. It is a great way to learn! Also, it helps ensure the money you spend isn’t wasted on reproductions.
2 - Do some research before you go vintage shopping. What are you particularly interested in? Is there an era you are drawn to? Do you need a formal dress? How much do you want to budget for your item? Are you willing to have an item tailored if you fall in love with it and it doesn’t quite fit right?
3 - Shopping online for vintage might be tricky for a couple of reasons. First, sizing has changed significantly over time. So, it will be very difficult to know what may fit. Also, another huge consideration when vintage shopping is the condition of the fabric. Over time, fabric may become brittle and tatter easily. You also don’t want items stored in plastic because they can’t get air which affects the integrity of the fabric. Vintage shopping online may be tricky, not impossible but make sure you check the return policy.
4 - Undergarments are going to be an important consideration depending on the era. You will notice very particular looks such as cinched waists or pointy bra shapes. For the item to look and fit how it’s intended, you may need to find the right undergarments as well!
5 - Depending on what you find, consider how you will pair it. You might even want to find a tailor to help you create something new from your vintage item. For example, a gorgeous dress may not be what you need, but the top part may be fantastic with jeans and heels. Or you might find a great vintage skirt and pair it with a current top. Your style is what matters here. And honestly, that is what vintage is all about. When you buy old instead of new, you don’t have to worry someone else will be wearing the exact same thing - it will be unique to you! Be ready to turn some heads!
6 - Research, research, research!!! Especially if you plan to spend a lot of money on something. Find out what the tags should look like, the fabric, etc. Don’t buy on a whim. Know how much similar items are selling for so that you can negotiate!
Follow these tips and have an incredible time vintage shopping! It’s so much fun to mix you vintage finds into your wardrobe!