How to: Shop Vintage Properly

Vintage shopping is not for the faint of heart.

Though you can find unbelievable pieces in the most unlikely places, more often than not, it takes time and commitment to build a vintage closet.

Whether you’re a vintage beginner or expert, our following tips are sure to help! Keep reading, and let us know if you have any unique tips to share.

1. Know your size (but try everything on)


These days, knowing your size doesn’t mean as much as it used to. With sizes varying from brand to brand, you need to grab a few of the same item to avoid increasingly-frustrated trips to and fro.

Additionally, sizing becomes yet more complicated when shopping vintage. What was considered a size 8 in the ’50s could be a modern size 14. And that’s not even considering the different sizing of foreign designers.

So while it helps to know your size, don’t be afraid to try things on. If it looks like it might fit, give it a go before you check the label and make a decision based on a somewhat arbitrary number.

You’ll be surprised what gems you can find when you rely on your gut over a number on a tag.

2. Don’t be afraid to visit a tailor


Have you ever discovered the perfect vintage item, only to find that it pulled at the bust or dragged on the floor? If so, you’ll understand the disappointment that follows.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a go! If the overall fit of an item is satisfactory, then letting out the bust or shortening the legs is a quick job for any tailor.

While vintage pieces can be more challenging to work with because of their age and consequent fragility, finding a tailor that specialises in altering vintage attire could be the ideal solution.

3. Check for defects (and don’t be afraid to speak up)


Any vintage-lover will tell you: shopping vintage isn’t simple – it requires time, money and patience.

However, when encountering a must-have item, you may find yourself willing to overlook a small stain or hole for love of the piece itself.

And while that’s certainly not the worst approach, just remember to keep an eye out for easily-fixable wear & tear.

If you’ve found an item you fancy that has a hole or stain, talk to the shop attendant.

Can it be fixed in-house? Do they have a recommended tailor? Can it be discounted based on the additional work it will require?

These are all questions you can pose – just remember to be polite and considerate when asking.

4. Mix it up


If you’re aiming for a 100% retro look, then you can disregard this tip.

But if you want to rock a vintage-inspired look, then it’s best to incorporate vintage items into contemporary outfits.

By using both vintage and modern pieces to create outfits, you’ll avoid unwittingly looking as though you’re attending a fancy dress party.

5. Care for your vintage items (properly)

The definition of vintage is an item that is between 20 to 100 years old – meaning it will require special care.

From appropriate storage to proper cleaning, the decisions you make will have a huge impact on how long you’ll be able to wear your vintage items.

Dry cleaning is always the safest option for vintage pieces. As they are often made from more delicate materials, throwing them in the washing machine is never an option.

Feel free to let your dry cleaner know that you’re sending them a vintage item to ensure they’ll be extra careful.

At the end of the day, what matters most is that you express your style and find clothing that makes you happy.

Vintage items can add a unique, special touch to any outfit. Just remember our tips, and you’ll be a vintage guru in no time.


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