When shopping for vintage fashion items such as clothing, shoes or accessories, there are varied approaches and some points to consider before entering a thrift shop. First, ask yourself- what type of vintage clothing or particular era are you drawn to? Are you aiming to achieve that romantic bohemian look for summer? If so, you may be interested in buying long, floral printed skirts or maxi dresses in bold colours, an abstract print scarf, paisley patterned harem pants, fringe bags, leather boots, stacks of wooden bangles, layers of silver necklaces and even oversized jewels of all sorts.
Knowing what you want before going vintage hunting guarantees a successful vintage shopping experience- less time and money spent on worthwhile, investment vintage finds. Thrift shops offer a wide range of vintage goodies from different eras, so if you’re not prepared, chances are you’ll get carried away and just purchase anything you find interesting; and as scary and dangerous as it may sound, sometimes it may even lead to an empty wallet due to the limitless possibilities.
Vintage fashion is very much in demand today as it was over the past decade which explains why the prices of vintage fashion items have relatively increased. When shopping for vintage pieces, the last thing we want is getting ripped off.
To avoid getting scammed, ripped off or any chance of disappointment, here are some of the most important points to consider when shopping for vintage fashion items:
- Focus on one thing – what is the primary reason for going to a vintage store? What do you need vintage clothing for – is it for costume production, collection or for personal interest? What exactly are you meaning to buy? What era or type of vintage clothing are you thrifting for?
- Do some research – if you’re well aware of the trends or style of that certain era then you know exactly what to buy however, if you aren’t so sure, it would be smart to put on a little effort and do some research.
- Try it on – If you’re vintage shopping for personal use, make sure that the clothes actually fit and look good on you. Take your time to inspect, take measurements and make sure if the item is wearable. Size does matter!
- Check the label – You can easily tell if an item is authentic vintage by its label; look for signs like exaggerated decoration or huge texts, name of city below the brand label, oversized price tags, lot number or codes.
- Check clothing for stains – over time and under natural circumstances, clothes can get stained when they are stored for a long time. Yellowish spots can be removed by your trusty dry cleaning/laundry people.
- Check clothing for foul odour – foul odour may also occur through aging but if it smells like perspiration or something else, better not risk it; if it’s mild odour that you think can be removed, hang the garment outside under cover in slightly damp/cold weather. Use your personal judgment on this one.
- Check the garments condition – sometimes you will encounter the term mint condition which basically means ‘new’ and free of any flaws which is excellent on your part but expect the price to be higher than the rest. Something note-worth for you- terms of condition of items are as follows: good, very good, excellent and mint.
- Check garments for any flaw – is everything functioning as it’s supposed to? Check the zipper, buttons, fly, seams, etc. if it’s not in tip top shape, minor fixes like these call for needle and thread which you can DIY or bring to the tailor instead for less the hassle.
- Decide if it’s worth the price – If you’re shopping in a vintage boutique chances are prices are higher since the items in a shop were already hand-picked, washed and steamed for display. It’s only just to pay an equally fair amount the seller requires. Though if you’re looking to buy vintage clothing at cheaper price marks, thrifts, flea markets and estate sales are the places you want to be looking at! What to look at when determining the price? Age (younger=cheaper), rarity (one-of-a-kind to limited edition), brand (famous old timer fashion houses like Chanel), quality or condition (whatever the age, rarity, or brand the most important element is the condition of the item).
- Think of it as an investment piece – The most thrilling and rewarding experience when buying vintage fashion is when you find something that’s actually worth more than what you paid for. If you’re lucky, you might be able to scour authentic vintage designer fashion pieces for $20 when in fact it may be a collector’s item or a limited edition that’s worth much, much more.
You may also purchase vintage goodies via online thrift stores but they would cost more unless you shop at places that offer coupon codes like Karmaloop.com. Karmaloop allows customers to use promo codes that makes sure you are not paying more than you should for hot fashion. Get New Karmaloop promo codes at http://www.new-promo-codes.com. However, if you choose to shop for vintage online, here are some helpful guidelines for buying online as well:
- Look around before you shop – check if the site is legal or is a trusted seller, read the site’s term of sales, ordering procedure and return policy before purchase.
- Know your rights – consumers have rights as well including online buyers, check if the seller is open for returns or refunds.
- Check product description – online sellers are required to briefly describe the product as well as display professional photos of their products. Once you receive the item, check whether the item is as described. Otherwise, you can demand for a refund and return.
- Check measurements online – you will need to add extra effort on this one since it’s impossible to fit the item online, take measurement of bust, waist, hips, sleeve length and shoulder width and study the measurements if they fit yours. You can also expect to see US/UK/EU numbered sizes which can be confusing. Do some research, look up ‘standard measurement chart’ in Google and find your fit.
Purchasing vintage clothes that you won’t even wear in the end is a complete waste of money unless the main purpose of buying vintage is for collection as a hobby or for profit. In the end, what really matters are these questions: Is it wearable? How often would you wear it? Are you able to create a look coupled with trends of today? It would also be helpful if you could figure out whether it’s something you can wear for everyday use or if it’s just a statement piece. The most important question to consider above all is – are you satisfied and happy with it?