Tips for buying vintage clothing

Tips for buying vintage clothingWe love buying vintage clothing, accessories, jewelry…even shoes. Sometimes it can be just as hard, if not harder than shopping retail, but so many times it’s really worth the effort. You can find unique style and craftsmanship that you don’t always see today.

You can buy at vintage clothing stores–or even consignment stores or thrift stores if you’re up to really digging through lots of items. Both thrift stores and consignment stores can be ‘hit or miss’ for really good vintage wares, but you can find  great sources–just keep it to yourself, and don’t let the secret out!

Of course online shopping is a natural for vintage–there are literally thousands of vintage shops on etsy, Amazon and Ebay. But the prices are usually high, and fit is key–vintage sizes can be very different than modern sizes. Marilyn Monroe famously wore a size 12 –which would be about a 4 or 6  in today’s sizes. Oftentimes it’s just best to be able to try things on to see how they look.

When you think about it, buying vintage can be really satisfying. You’ve not only got the “thrill of the hunt”, you know you’ll be wearing something that is unique. The tailoring and craftsmanship of clothes from the 40s, 50s, 60s 70s, and even 80s are often better than the average merchandise you’d buy today. The reason vintage clothes and accessories are still around today is because they were built to last!
Tips for buying vintage clothing3So what to look for when buying vintage? Look for the small flaws that are typical of an older shirt or skirt–small tears and holes. Are there stains? Could they be covered with a brooch or scarf?

And check out all zippers, are all the buttons there?  Or is the price low enough that you could replace them or pay for minor repairs? Does it smell musty–or worse? No matter how beautiful a piece might me, you usually won’t be able to get out any lingering odors–so it’s best to pass on something, unless it’s so cheaply priced you’re willing to take a risk.

“Deadstock” is great if you can find it. The term refers to vintage items that are old but never worn..and there’s more of it out there than you might think. You can find a pair of 1940s leather peep-toe pumps, made in the USA, never worn, and not a scuff on the heel!

Tips for buying vintage clothing3The more you shop for vintage, the more you get an eye for the great purchases–the things that are “you” and the unique touches that will make an outfit stand out. Of course, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, there are even more possibilites–up-cycling can make just about any vintage item a great buy!


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