Excellent Tips For Vintage Style Shopping
Get ready to learn the DOs and DON’Ts of Vintage Shopping!
It seems there are those people who know how to do vintage style shopping, and those who don’t – some end up with a musty sweater that looks like they found it in granny’s attic, whilst others make you want to wear that old piece in your wardrobe. So, how is it done? How can you find a unique vintage treasure that fits like a glove, doesn’t stink of mothballs and mildew, and doesn’t make you look like you’re on your way to a fancy dress party?
Here are our 10 Top Tips for vintage shopping to ensure you find only the most covetable of vintage treasures, whether you’re searching in markets or online.
DO: Look for classics
A Chanel bag of any kind or Louis Vuitton luggage will never go out of style. Like, NEVER. So it’s always a good idea to go with something classic. But also do a search for vintage clothing stores with pieces that are now much-coveted collectibles – think Christian Lacroix jewelry, for example, …and if you find something, hang on to it – these things will go up in value.
DON’T: Buy what was too trendy back in the day
80’s power shoulders will certainly make a quick comeback at some point, but they’re hardly a wardrobe staple. They weren’t then, and they won’t be anytime soon. Stick to items that don’t scream ‘dead decade’ – instead, look for styles that tend to recur again and again: oversized coats, military jackets, animal prints, pussy-bow blouses, etc.
DO: Be specific about your goals
Are you after something with a 50’s New Look cut or a retro outfit style?? As vintage stores tend to be a mishmash of styles and epochs, knowing what you have in mind will help stave off shopping fatigue. If you’re searching online, make sure you type in specific keywords: for example, are you looking for a specific style, print, or material? If so, rather than searching for a ’70’s blouse, type in something like ‘vintage style bow silk blouse’ or ‘mutton-chop sleeve vintage blouse’ or ‘psychedelic vintage blouse’ or whatever you want to look for.
DON’T: Be afraid to ask for something
Unlike big retail chains, many vintage shops are manned by their owners – and the shop owner is likely to know exactly where to find what you’re looking for. In fact, they may even have something hidden in a back room that you’d never have seen otherwise and that will give you that unique vintage piece you were looking for. Ask, ask!
DO: Have your usual wardrobe in mind
What could you mix and match with your vintage style treasure? Classics like bags go with just about anything. But ensure that before you buy those satin knee-high boots or those high waisted hot pants, you know what you’d wear them within your closet.
DON’T: Forget about aftercare
Is this a delicate piece that requires special cleaning or maintenance? You may want to check before buying. It’s hardly sustainable and maybe not worthy if you have to dry clean it every month.
DO: Be careful!
There are plenty of fakes out there, and whilst most of them can be quite obvious due to their questionable quality, stitching, or spelling (Pravda bag, like, WHAT?) just be aware you may not be buying the real deal unless you shop somewhere super reputable. Be careful with these vintage industrial style stores that you don’t know. If you’re thinking of buying a vintage designer bag, for example, make sure you do some research first!
DON’T: Expect to bag a bargain
Most people who are selling genuine vintage treasures are aware of their value – you won’t find many designer labels cheaply – in fact, some are even priced above new pieces in shops, due to their rarity. But half the fun of vintage shopping is trying to spot that one Chanel bag someone has foolishly priced at $50, right?
DO: Know where to shop in stores/online
No longer do you need to trawl through rack after rack of clothing–many shops online now carry great vintage clothing and accessories. However, if you really want to have the true experience of vintage shopping, we highly recommend you to go to vintage stores and don’t buy online. The fun of buying old clothes, is actually, doing the by the traditional way.
Don’t be put off by flaws
T-shirt too long? Buttons all wrong? Don’t reject an otherwise awesome vintage piece – you can always change those things by taking the item to a tailor, or just making a few alterations yourself.
Mixing Vintage Clothing With High Street Brands
Vintage clothes have seen a massive revival in recent years, with designers and high street shops alike taking inspiration from retro styles. But why opt for diluted versions of the genuine article? You might worry you’ll look too ‘fancy dress’ in vintage clothes, but there’s really nothing to be scared of! It’s easy to blend modern and vintage pieces.
Mixing Vintage Clothing With High Street Brands
Modern Meets Vintage wearable: Culture Clash Or Co-Conspirators?
The head to toe vintage look isn’t for everyone; although we have huge respect for the painstakingly recreated outfits; put together by some die-hard vintage enthusiasts; who know their favorite era and own the look; mixing and matching with modern pieces from high street brands is a brilliant way to forge your own quirky style with your foot firmly in both camps. Here are some tips for those new to the whole vintage thing on how to pull this off!
Start Off With One Vintage Piece
Baby steps! Start by building an outfit around just one item of vintage wearable. It doesn’t have to be a small number either; it could be the focal point of your whole outfit. Why not throw on a 60s shift dress with some of this season over the knee boots and a timeless classic polo neck, or team some high-street skinny jeans and a cardigan with a statement 50s blouse?
Accessorize In A Retro Style
Of course, you could always take your accessories from decades past to pull off your own retro look. Sunglasses are excellent for this: try 50s cat’s eyeglasses which will add a hint of the rockabilly to your biker jacket and pencil skirt combo. Or some rose-tinted John Lennon specs with the grunge-inspired ditsy floral dress. A vintage felt floppy hat is ideal for dipping your toe (or head) into this season’s bohemian 70s style. Or how about adorning yourself with some vintage jewelry to give off a little vintage charm without going over the top!
Stick To On-Trend Shoes
Vintage footwear can be tricky when it comes to sizing; so vintage virgins can sidestep trouble by coupling up vintage clothes with some brand new footwear. Try a very own new cleated sole platform shoes for a modern take on 90s flavor; teamed with vintage faux fur and a bodycon dress, or go for pointed flats which can be conveniently worked into 50s, 60s, and even 80s style outfits.
The beauty of vintage clothes is that you can mix various decades into one beautiful look which also incorporates modern pieces. Try eclectically layering your 70s maxi dress with your high street boots, 80s faux fur coat, and some 90s jewelry (think Gwen Stefani-Esque bindis). Or team an original 60s mini dress with a 90s turtle neck top and some modern platform boots. Mixing and matching eras are absolutely the way to go!