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.
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.