Ever wonder if there is a special book on how to shop for vintage clothing? I never had the innate ability myself but I don’t let that stop me from looking for vintage deals and finds. Buying vintage clothing is cheap, green and allows you to find or create one-of-a-kind looks. I’ve rounded up 9 tips on how to shop for vintage clothing to keep in mind the next time you shop second-hand.
1. Look for Reputable Stores
Shopping at vintage stores can be overwhelming and unless you have extra time to browse a bunch of stores, seek help from friends or online resources. Ask friends for recommendations and look at online reviews of thrift stores to pick worthy stores. Get a head start by researching and avoiding wasting time going places that don’t have what you want.
2. Make a List
There’s nothing wrong with browsing just to browse, but the trick to knowing how to shop for vintage clothing (and new clothes) is to make a list of what you need or want. You want to make smart choices when it comes to clothes shopping and get a good deal, so jot down or make a mental list of what items you want before you head out to avoid impulse purchases.
3. Does It Fit the Part?
This is an important tip on how to shop for vintage clothing. Many times, you’ll find that vintage pieces you like won’t be a perfect fit. In those cases, take a good look at it and examine the piece to see if it can be altered to fit you or if the cost of alteration outweighs the cost of the piece. Is it worth it? Can you repurpose it as is and still save? Think about what you want to do with it and how you want to wear it before buying.
4. Check out the Goods
Another crucial tip on how to shop for vintage clothing is to thoroughly check out the items. Check inside, outside, zippers, pockets, any embellishments, etc. for any stains, rips, tears, or missing buttons. Check to see if anything wrong with the item such as a stain and determine if it can be removed or if a rip can be fixed. No matter how adorable the skirt is, if it’s not fixable, can you live with it?
5. Try It on
I’m guilty of not always trying on clothes before buying them and after I get home, I always swear I will try on before buying when they don’t fit. Learn from my mistakes, especially when it comes to shopping at vintage stores. Sizing and fits of clothing vary from brand and also change throughout the years so no matter how excited you are for finding that vintage Chanel jacket, always try on vintage clothing before buying.
6. Will You Wear It?
Keep this question in mind while you’re vintage shopping- will you wear it and how often? I know it’s tempting to get clothing from certain eras because it’s fun and rare to find, but don’t buy it unless you will use or wear it. Avocado green pants might seem cool in the store, but do you see a future with them? Don’t spend your hard earned money on clothes that will never see the light of day.
7. Check Who You’re Wearing
This is a key point in how to shop for vintage clothing. Check the label. Even if you aren’t shopping for vintage Dior, check the label to see if the designer is familiar and reputable. In most instances, if your item is from a brand that you recognize and like, it’s more likely that you’ll feel the same about your vintage piece and it should last longer than other no-name pieces.
8. Be Open Minded
Vintage shopping takes patience and a good eye, so when you’re shopping make sure you have an afternoon free and an open mind. Going in a vintage store expecting to find mounds of treasures as soon as you walk in isn’t realistic and you’ll end up getting frustrated. Often times you’ll have to dig through a lot of piles of clothes before you find something you like, but you’re not alone.
9. Have Fun
Shopping for vintage clothing can be hard work sometimes but don’t let the hunt bring you down. Make an afternoon date with a friend to go out and shop and have fun! Even if you don’t find anything you like the first time, don’t get discouraged. Knowing how to shop for vintage clothing is much different from regular clothes shopping and takes time and patience, so don’t give up!
I hope you feel better prepared and more comfortable with how to shop for vintage clothing. Keep these tips in mind the next time you go vintage clothes shopping and pat yourself on the back for picking the cheaper and more environmentally-friendly shopping option!
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