Tuesday, June 3

Tips for Successful Vintage Shopping

I love vintage style. Whether it's the full skirts from the 50s, the mod dresses from the 60s or simply discontinued fabrics and patterns, vintage clothing is guaranteed to set you apart style-wise. 

Finding good vintage clothing is no easy feat. Even if you go to a vintage store, there are many obstacles in your way. Unlike shopping wholesale, you never know exactly what you'll find (which is one of the things I love about shopping used!). Still here are a few guidelines I find handy for buying vintage clothing:
  • Quality, quality, quality! This is quite possibly the most important factor in buying a vintage garment. Are there any stains? What about holes? Try it on in the store if possible to see if there are any flaws you didn't notice on the hanger. 
  • Fabric. Three fabrics that never fail are cotton, silk and cashmere. That isn't to say other fabrics are faulty, but clothing I have bought vintage works best when it is these fabrics. Also check for wear on the fabric. Good indicators include faded color or uneven thickness. Something to look for in woven garments is little balls of lint that cluster around elbow/knee area.
  • If you're planning on reconstructing the piece. Is the fabric usable? If you're a beginner sewer, stay away from stretchy fabrics. Also a good rule of thumb is to make sure the cost of reconstructing the garment costs less than the garment itself. Finally, how time-consuming will the project be? Consider if you have the time available. (Will classes/work take first priority? Are you not going to be around the house much this week?) Otherwise fixer-uppers simply sit by your sewing machine gathering dust. 
Furthermore, vintage sizes are quite a bit smaller than modern ones. We've all heard about how sex goddess Marilyn Monroe was a size 12, but that's her vintage size, giving her a 25 inch waist! Vintage Swank has a lovely page about vintage sizes compared to modern ones. The best rule of thumb I can come up with, is to add 10 to your current size (maybe 12 even) and that's what sizes you should be looking for vintage wise!

Also, to get you in the mood for shopping vintage, here are some places where I've drooled over vintage clothing online:

1 comment:

Alice said...

These are all great tips! I am finding my love of fashion again and look forward to reading your blog. Nutrition is also a huge interest of mine. I was watching an old Mary Tyler Moore episode last night (the 1st one actually) and get her outfit out of my head! I love vintage and will use your tips on my new quest to make my wardrobe more "me" - thanks for posting!