Do you love treasure hunting? Would you rather shop your grandmother’s closet than the mall for your outfits? If you enjoy looking unique and not like everyone else, then vintage shopping is for you! Shopping for amazing pieces to add to your wardrobe is exciting, fun, and challenging. When I first got started, there still were stores that sold strictly vintage clothing and accessories, but the market has changed. Although great pieces of authentic vintage can be found today, one often must scour thrift stores, consignment shops, and church charity shops, which means looking through lots of cast offs that are neither old nor desirable. At our store, Nostalgia, we have vendors who source true men’s and women’s quality vintage clothing, and they are quite experienced at knowing which eras are “hot” and, so, what the customer is looking to buy. At other antique co-ops, you may find booths or areas that contain vintage or a combination of second hand clothing and older pieces. Again, you often have to dig through or hunt for those can’t-live-without garments. But, I promise you, it’s worth it! The following tips will help you to shop wisely while in pursuit of that vintage gem!
- Try antique stores or co-ops. These stores tend to have a little bit of everything, which may help you to hone in on exactly what you’re searching for without spending too much time in one location.
- Thrift stores or charity shops can have great bargains, but you must dig through quite a bit to find even one great item. It’s a good idea to frequent these local shops regularly in order to get first dibs on the recently delivered pieces. Sometimes, shop owners or workers are willing to let you know when a particular garment or accessory that you’ve been looking for has arrived. For example, you may be looking for a 1950s-alligator bag, and a regular customer is more likely to be informed when that piece shows up at the store.
- Which brings me to an important point: KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR! Otherwise, you may wander around wasting precious time, rather than focusing on hunting for that perfect ‘60s beaded sweater. I often will ask a client about his or her “fashion personality.” For example, do they like ruffles, bows, and flowy shapes such as what might be found in a 1930s dress? Or, do they prefer the tailored look of a 1940s jacket? Often, body type will determine preferences, as in a woman with an hourglass shape enjoying the look of a curvy 1950s wiggle dress. Knowing what looks good on you helps you to carve out your shopping list, avoiding pieces that will sit in your closet unworn.
- Shopping for vintage clothing and accessories online is a very popular option. However, I must warn you, it is extremely important that you have accurate body measurements before you purchase a garment online. Not only can you not try on the piece, but older fabrics don’t have stretch, so there is no give when it comes to sizing and fit. Most online sellers specify the importance of measurements, so be sure to allow for a little extra room in those older pieces. Many vintage shoppers just starting out begin by purchasing accessories online, so that they don’t have to worry about fit. Accessories such as jewelry, bags, scarves, and belts are wonderful additions to a more modern wardrobe, and they provide a unique statement without risking the discomfort of feeling “too different.”
- Finally, be patient and enjoy the challenge of shopping for vintage. Many of our customers also love older furniture and home décor as much as they enjoy vintage clothing and accessories. It can become a whole lifestyle. Find your voice and share it with the world!