Vintage Shopping Tips

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Shopping at vintage or second-hand stores can be a great way to save money while finding unique, exciting clothing. With some great vintage finds, you can truly set yourself apart from the pack and create your own look. Follow this simple guide to be sure that your vintage shopping is always a success.


Know Your Measurements

The first rule of vintage clothing is that sizing is irrelevant. That’s not to say that the clothing shouldn’t fit, but that the labels are there to be ignored. Take your measurements before you head out so that you can go by a more reliable guide than clothing sizes, which change over the decades and across brands. Then be sure to try everything on; if it doesn’t fit your body, it’s probably not the investment buy you think it is. Make sure it looks good on you, as well as on the rack. If the item is a little too large but you really love it, then consider if it’s worth paying to get it taken in or tailored.

Try Haggling

If you’re shopping in vintage boutiques or flea markets, you might be able to negotiate on the price to suit your budget. You may as well give it a shot; you never know when you could come away with a great deal.

Check The Condition

Although it’s rare for a vintage item to be in perfect condition given its age, you shouldn’t pay too much for something that has obvious damage issues or is falling apart. Check that the clothes seem to be wearable before committing, and ask for a lower price if you think they’re over-charging.

Look Online

Although the best experience might be found scouring boutiques and markets yourself, there are also plenty of great vintage finds all over the internet. Try ebay for pieces that are being auctioned off by dealers; just be sure to check out the dealer’s feedback rating online before committing to a purchase. Many vintage retailers also run their own websites full of both collectable and wearable items, like New York City based vintage seller Chelsea Girl. Have a look around and you could find some seriously exciting, one of a kind clothing.

Sarah Pinkerton

1 Comment to Vintage Shopping Tips

  1. I’ve stumbled upon some of the best ‘vintage’ in lower-end thrift or second-hand stores, like Goodwill in the U.S. Whether a piece is vintage or just used is definitely a construction. Often it’s the price tag–or the approval of the girl in the mink and the zany bangs running the vintage stall or Etsy store–that makes Grandma’s dresses ‘vintage’ and suddenly worth $30+! One of my best finds ever was a forest green bowler cap, snagged from a Goodwill in the Columbus suburbs for $2, years before all my friends started wearing $25 versions from Urban Outfitters.

    Often the second-hand shops are the least trafficked ones, particularly the ones in the suburbs. I’ve long suspected that the vintage peddlers online or in downtown shops just scavenge in the wealthier suburbs, snatching up dresses for $2-3 and then selling them for 10-20 times that amount with a little creative styling, an Instagram photo, or a cute shop.

    The best vintage in the world, imo, is in Berlin though. The last time I was there, I bought I had to wear 3-4 layers of it back on the airplane so my carry-on would zip!

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