How To Shop Vintage.

I have written a magazine article aimed to help people learn the secrets to vintage shopping. I hope you enjoy it and learn something new.

How To Shop Vintage

The past few years has seen a dramatic increase in the materialization of places to shop vintage. As the trend becomes increasingly popular the prices appear to be increasing as well. Personally I am all for the vintage lifestyle, achieving a unique look and standing out from the crowd. For this, vintage is great, but now days everyone wants a taste of vintage so you will find yourself paying additional expenses for someone else doing the legwork. You have to be smart about how to achieve an affordable vintage lifestyle, so why not try to do the hunting yourself? It is far more satisfying, I promise.

The prices of typical vintage shops and boutiques are outrageous. I almost fell over when I found a dusty moth-eaten skirt from a vintage shop for the same price as a brand new one from Topshop. The vintage hype has sucked all the fun out of good old-fashioned vintage shopping, so here is the know how to be a real vintage pro.

The best and cheapest place to start looking for vintage clothing is relative’s and friend’s closets, you may be surprised at what you find. Remember to always have an open mind when rummaging through generations of different fashions, that dusty long gown in your grandmother’s wardrobe may be a party frock in disguise.

Charlotte Silver, a vintage fanatic told us about when she raided her parent’s wardrobe, “In the most unthought-of places I found a big cosy hand knitted jumper in the back of my dad’s wardrobe, teamed with a high-waisted belt and brogues this became my favourite outfit.” Be sure to check with the garments owner before you become too attached to an item, that rag you found might be a lucky, never washed t-shirt from a childhood sweetheart back in 1979.

Most vintage boutiques actually get given their stock from the general public. We interviewed Jessica Rose, the owner of ‘Vintage Closest’ in Wimbourne about shopping vintage and here is what she said, “Many of our most treasured finds are brought in from people who want to offload their ‘junk’ from a big clear out. One lady brought in an absolute classic of a dress made in the 1950’s it was just beautiful.” So why not try to get the clothes from people you know for free, before they hit the shops.

The places to go next are charity shops and car boot fairs. You’ll be amazed at what people chuck out. Remember one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Don’t be afraid to have a real poke around and ask the owners how they came about certain items. Having a story behind a trinket is always an excellent way to show off your new purchases. If you don’t find something on your first attempt don’t be disheartened these things sometimes take time, but when you find that perfect purchase, it would have been worth the wait.

Jessica Rose had some good advice on shopping vintage she told us “You have to be patient and learn to rummage, there is no use in waiting for an item to come to you, dig through the box of vintage scarves and gloves and search amongst the dusty rails of clothing and I’m sure you’ll find something.”

Charlotte Silver told us about her favourite vintage find “It has to be my original gold strap, black-faced Casio watch. I wear it everyday. They have started to sell them in high street shops now, and they are so expensive, like £50. Mine cost me £4 from a boot fair.”

After asking Charlotte Silver why she loved vintage shopping so much, she was more than happy to tell us, “I hate being like everybody else, and there is nothing worse than walking into a club and someone is wearing the same dress as you. I love the fact that I’m walking around in a timeless classic. Vintage shopping is fun! I love going to vintage fairs and looking at all the old things, and our older generations have some pretty cool old things. I mean fashion statements always come back around but why pay a fortune for the new-moderated version from Top Shop when you can be wearing the original piece from back in the 40s?” We agreed.

Another great place to search is the Internet; there are countless online second-hand websites that can offer a wide variety of vintage merchandise. A good bet is ebay; with such a broad range of clobber you’ll be sure to find something you like. Be sure to check that what you’re buying is authentic, there is nothing more embarrassing than thinking you have purchased a 1980’s retro jacket to then walk into Primark and see it hanging in the aisle.

To make sure that your finds are genuine keep your wits about you. Don’t be fouled by labels, they may have been tampered with. Look for hand-sewn in or handwritten labels. There are resources on the Internet to check designer labels, but a top tip to bare in mind is that couture designers rarely added size labels or content to their older garments and accessories.

When you have found places to go, don’t forget it is important to know what to wear whilst shopping. Not all vintage shops have dressing rooms, so prepare yourself by wearing clothes that you can slip garments over the top of, maybe a fitted top and leggings.

Unless you are a fully fledged dedicated vintage shopper, and believe me they do exist, then you will have some trouble accomplishing the ultimate vintage lifestyle. This being the case then you must learn to incorporate the new with the old. If you have found the perfect vintage skirt but are in the process of finding an equally amazing top to match, then team the skirt with a ‘vintage look’ top, which can be found in the more commercial shops.

If you have the money to spend and are feeling brave enough, go into an actual vintage boutique. In there you will find that most places have integrating the modern ‘vintage look’ with their original vintage pieces for more diversity. Don’t be afraid to clash modern with vintage, this could make your look even more quirky. Lets be honest no one is going to be wearing that exact vintage skirt from the 1940’s with your top from H&M.

The number one rule when you are vintage shopping is to not forget to look beyond the garment, think alterations and amendments. Garments can be altered in a variety of different ways. The most exciting part of vintage shopping is customising the item to make it more unique and personal. Why not get creative. If you find a dress with that perfect material you’ve been looking for, but don’t like the style of the dress why not try making into a skirt or scarf? If you’re not that adventurous you can try your local dry cleaners you will be amazed at the alterations that they can do.

We asked Charlotte Silver if she had any tips for shopping vintage, we think she is a smart lady as she came up with this “Don’t be afraid to try something different, if it’s a classic piece you can’t go wrong, there should be no threats in standing out, I love it. And when someone asks where did you get that dress from, and you can reply a boot fair, there is some guilty satisfaction in knowing that they can’t then go out and buy the same dress as you.

So that’s vintage shopping in a nut shell, so go out there with these tips in mind and start creating your new vintage lifestyle.

Magazine Layout

Using Photoshop I designed how my article would look if it go published in a magazine that I put together. I used themes and designs that I find interesting and effective. I like to keep my designs simple but stylish. I do not like to over crowd my layouts because I feel this could be potentially dangerous as it could start looking tacky. I like the simple black and white theme as this gives a couture look. I drew inspiration from the fabulous Wonderland Magazine, as I feel they have a perfect fashionable design.

The pictures would be redone to suit the topic, but this is just a template to give you an idea of how I would like it to look.

Beyond Retro.

I think it about time I told you about my favorite place to shop vintage. I’ve been to a few places in London and in time I’ll get them all on here so you can check them out as well. But without a doubt my favorite place is a shop in just off Carnaby Street called, Beyond Retro.

110-112 Cheshire Street, London E2 6EJ

The shop changes with the season so you can find retro swimsuits in the summer and big granny knits in the winter. One of my favorite parts of the shop is the scarf bin, although you have to dig and dig it’s like a vintage treasure chest, so what more could you want?

I’ve bought the odd nick knack from Beyond but you can also find that special little glittery number that you don’t mind spending that little bit extra on, because you know its unique.

I found the staff to be really helpful and colorful people who, alone you can nick style ideas off.

The shop was a little hard to find, but once I discovered Beyond Retro the treats were endless. I really recommend you go check out this shop if you’re a vintage lover, you will not be disappointed.


Rockit is a vintage shop in Covent Garden just off Neal St. This shop includes rails upon rails and stacks of retro threads. What I like about this store is that they get 3 deliveries a week which means they are always getting new bits in, which is great for us.

Rockit is borderline on the pricey side, but is definitely worth a visit. All you must remember is to take your time rummage and find a bargain amongst the rails.


I bought a black denim retro dress that buttons up at the front. Levi I may add, for £12, which is great for casual wear or dressing up for a quiet evening out.

I found, that the shop has a large selection of women and men’s clothing but for some bizarre reason the men’s shoe collection is much greater than the women’s. Which I wasn’t too best pleased about, but was happy to see the smile on the guy’s faces, as happy to shop as us women when there is a collection like that. The lack of the women’s shoe collection may be due to the fact that this shop is high in demand for women, so all the good finds are whipped up quickly. It could be a good idea to find out when the deliveries are, and try to visit the store then.

So I wish the best of luck to the happy shoppers, and let me know how you get on.

Location: 42 Shelton St, Covent Garden, WC2H 9HZ

Open: Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 11am-6pm

Pop Boutique.

After my two-day vintage-shopping spree in London, I found a little treasure of a shop in Covent Gardens. Pop Boutique is a bargain hunter’s paradise; they have a range of good value retro clothing since 1983. Although the shop is only small, I guarantee you will find something special.

They have vintage clothing at a decent price, which may I add is how all-vintage shops should be. To give you an idea of the prices I purchased a large knitted 100% woolen jumper for £15 and a checkered shirt for £12. I also came across an amazing pair of high-wasted leather trousers for £15 and was devastated when they didn’t have my size. But I was amazed at how low the prices were compared to other London boutiques.

Their collections also include hats, 100% silk scarves for £5, shoes, bags, gloves, jewelry and glasses. And there is no fear as you may try on as many clothes as your heart desires as they have two changing rooms and a bunch of friendly staff.

Alongside their quality handpicked selection of retro clothing, Pop Boutique sell their own unique range of clothing that is made from vintage fabrics for only £15. There is no way that a vintage shopper can be disappointed after a visit to this shop.

This small gem of a shop also includes lots of knick-knacks included retro vinyl, telephones, lampshades and many more. So for all you vintage shoppers and bargain hunters out there I highly recommend this shop.

I shall be uploading my purchases from this shop to give you an idea of the collection this boutique has in store.

Let me know how you get on.

Pop Boutique – 6 Monmouth Street, Covent Gardens.

Open: Mon-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 1pm-6pm


Clerkenwell Fashion Fair.

Okay so if you enjoy vintage then you will definitely appreciate this fashion fair. I’ve been a few times and never been disappointed. They come around every so often, so keep an eye on the next upcoming fair. They have an amazing broad collection of vintage clothes, accessories, jewelry, bags, shoes etc, from the 1800’s to 1980’s.

I always find comfort in the fact, even though the garment I am buying may seem a bit pricey, its unique and environmentally friendly, so why not?

The most amazing find I saw at the fair, was a range of vintage Pin up girl costumes, you know the ones that resemble swimming costumes. They were just pure class.

Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair

FAQ How to Shop Vintage.

Vintage shopping is a great way to find a one of a kind piece that no one else has. Wearing vintage clothes has become increasingly popular. Not only does is give you a quirky edge but its eco-friendly as well. So looking great and helping the environment has got to be a plus!

1. What is Vintage?

It is important to know the difference between vintage and second-hand. Vintage is from the 80’s or earlier and second-hand is all clothing that has been pre owned.

2. Where can you find vintage clothing?

The main places you can find vintage clothing are vintage fashion fairs, specially designed vintage shops and boutiques. My personal favorite is Beyond Retro, a vintage shop in London.

It’s important to know that boutiques are usually more expensive than any other vintage places, only because the shop owner has specially chosen the clothing, and the customer will have to pay for extra expenses for the ease of shopping.

If you don’t want to pay extra and feel that you want to make your purchases that little bit more special, then why not try to do the legwork yourself. Don’t forget that charity shops, boot fairs and the Internet are great places to look. And if you want to be really clever and find purchases that could potentially be free, then why not try rummaging in friends and families wardrobes and lofts. You never know what the older generation are holding back, and never forget one person’s trash is another person’s treasures!

3. What to wear when shopping?

Not all vintage shops have dressing rooms, so prepare yourself by wearing clothes that you can slip garments over the top, maybe a tank top and leggings.

4. How do I know if its authentic vintage?

Don’t be fouled by labels, they may have been tampered with. Look for hand-sewn in or handwritten labels in your garment, purse or scarf. There are resources on the Internet to check designer labels. Couture designers rarely added size labels or content to their older garments and accessories.

5. Are the sizes of vintage garments the same as a modern size chart?

Sizes change through the decades and vary from different brands. The best way to tell if a garment is going to fit you is by trying it on. Don’t be afraid to try on even if a piece of clothing isn’t your size.


If you find an item you love but it’s too big, don’t worry because it can be adjusted. Try and only go for items slightly bigger then your normal size because the vast adjustments can tamper with the style of clothing. Also don’t forget to consider the cost of the tailor as well as the full price of the garment.