Tips for vintage shopping can help you find some great deals, and some great pieces. For those fashion mavens who enjoy scouring the racks at their local thrift shops, here are 8 tips for vintage shopping from one fashionista who is absolutely obsessed with throwback boutiques. One of the toughest things about being addicted to vintage is that vintage shopping excursions are generally hit or miss: one day you’ll find that perfect fringed suede vest you’ve always coveted and the next you’ll spend hours rummaging to find only one mildly attractive $2 T-shirt. Boost your vintage shopping acumen with these simple and proven tips for vintage shopping!
1. Know What You Want
The beauty of vintage shopping perhaps lies in the fact that it’s an excellent way to define your style while saving money. While high-end vintage boutiques do stock excellent product, less expensive stores can give you better bang for your buck. The danger? Letting the minimal price tags persuade you to buy more. While vintage shopping know the look you’re going for and stick do it -- this is one of the most essential tips for vintage shopping you'll find. If you’re looking for a ’70s vibe, say no to the pumps that remind you so much of the ’50s. Not only will this keep the cost down, but it’ll help you to identify your era of expertise and refine your look.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Have Pieces Modified
The ecstatic feeling that comes with finding the perfect piece is tempered only by the equally devastating feeling that you get when you realize it doesn’t fit; you must realize that with vintage, the fit is not always perfect. The doctrine of instant gratification dictates that you travel the path of least resistance and purchase something that flatters you better, but when it comes to vintage shopping you must be willing to have pieces modified. Sure, you may have to wait an extra week to wear your beautiful new Chanel jacket, but the wait is worth it.
3. Go for Flair
The best tips for vintage shopping encourage you to keep the fashion in mind. When shopping, it is the nature of the beast to occasionally find nothing that catches your eye or sparks your fancy. While you may not find the high-waisted pants you wanted, or the sheer blouse you’d envisioned, don’t forget the smaller perks that vintage can offer. Accessories are absolutely crucial to any well-planned outfit, and vintage accessories are nothing short of phenomenal. When you can’t find clothing to your liking, pick up a string of pearls, a brooch, or a silk scarf. Remember, the devil is in the details.
4. Invest in Name Brands
Few of us can afford fashion’s most high-end brands on a regular basis. Unfortunately, never-ending couture is simply not a reality for most of us. Still, there’s a way to get your hands on that Louis purse or Tiffany bracelet. That way is, obviously, through vintage shopping. Sticker shock is still a possibility (even a vintage Louis can still run you several hundred dollars), but these items are generally lightly worn, classically constructed, and have a lot of character, so don’t be afraid to splurge on well-kept name brands items.
5. Come Early, Come Often
One of the most helpful tips for vintage shopping involves timing. Depending on the types of shops you frequent, selection turnover varies. However, many popular secondhand stores receive and stock new items on a daily basis. In order to find the best vintage gems, it’s important to be a dedicated retro shopper. For the best deals and best clothing, find out when your local vintage shops restock and visit them primarily on those days. Returning often also helps you build a good relationship with staff members who may then be willing to hold items for you as they come in.
6. Look for Repeating Trends
Vintage is back in a big way, which means trends that were hot several decades ago are coming back. Keeping abreast of upcoming trends will allow you to pinpoint what vintage items are worth scavenging for this upcoming season. Whether you prefer to pore over fashion mags, crash fashion shows, or just people watch, identify the retro styles that best suit you and shop with these specifically in mind.
7. All Vintage Stores Are Not Created Equal
If you’re from a small town you may not have a very large selection of vintage shops to choose from, but if you’re like me and live in a city like San Francisco where vintage places are a dime a dozen, you can afford to be more discerning. This is one of the most important tips for vintage shopping. Start to distinguish between budget vintage like Salvation Army and higher-end places that take in more rare, more unique items. Both sides of the spectrum have their advantages, but if you’re looking for high-end period pieces, scout out the more refined vintage locations.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
The beauty of low-cost vintage shopping is that you can try out different styles without breaking the bank. Each decade has its own distinct and iconic style, and a little experimentation never hurt anyone. You may be currently rocking button downs and vintage blazers, but you may look equally ravishing frayed shorts and cowboy boots. It can’t hurt to try, right? Don’t haphazardly buy new ensembles (this is, after all, contrary to tip #1), but do work in a bit of daring newness every once in a while.
Next time you go on an excursion, remember these simple tips for vintage shopping to help you maximize your value and your fashion factor. By following my tips for vintage shopping, you can get great deals and find exquisite pieces quite easily. For those ladies who are new to the vintage game, what other tips for vintage shopping do you consider crucial to successful shopping?