Vintage clothing can add personality galore to your wardrobe. But it's important to know how to shop for vintage before you dive in with your wallet! Here are some solid tips to help you get started shopping for vintage clothing.
Know Where to Shop
Spend some time looking around online and in person, and you'll discover your favorite places to buy vintage. From online marketplaces like the CraftFoxes vintage shop to online auction sites, you'll find lots of places to shop vintage online. If you live outside the U.S., you might try an international site like Quicksales. When shopping in person, try antique and vintage shops as well as thrift stores. You will obviously get the best deals at thrift stores like Goodwill, but you also have to be willing to do the most digging. The positive to this, though, is that you'll also get to see the item in person instead of relying on photos online.
Check the Tag
The best way to know if an item is vintage is by looking at the tag. The design and font of the label and writing will look old, though the label itself will not necessarily look frayed or ratty. Just because a label looks faded doesn't make it vintage, but just because a label looks new doesn't mean it's a new item. It's more about what the label says.
You can search brand names to see when they were popular or to see if the same brand has been listed as a popular vintage label online. For instance, search the brand on an online marketplace or auction site to see if similar items from that same brand are being listed. The seller might know the exact year of the item!
Check for Defects
It's important to check your vintage items very closely before purchasing. You'll find that many of your awesome finds are still there for a reason, if they've got a stain or tear. Make sure any imperfections can be fixed before you buy.
Shop the Latest Stock
Find out when your favorite local thrift stores put out their new items, like Saturday morning, right at opening. You'll want to show up as often as possible right when new stuff is being put out. Vintage is a popular business and you've got to be willing to fight for the good stuff!
Watch for Sale Days
Most thrift stores have half off days for certain colored tags. Be sure to also check for 50% off days; many chains offer one day a month at half off all items. That's a great opportunity to spend the day thrift store hopping.
Shop Shows or Expos
Vintage shows and expos are also becoming popular. Though they are more pricey overall, you can often find an array of price points. Try searching for your town name and add the words "vintage expo" or "vintage show" to see if there are any upcoming events. You can also expect to find vintage clothing at major antique shows and some flea markets.
Try it On
It's important to remember not to use the size listed on a vintage tag to indicate to you whether an item will fit. A size 6 in 1983 meant something very different than it means today. Likewise, a size 14 in 1946 meant something else as well! You'll want to check measurements against your own when shopping online and in person, your best bet is to try the item on.
Never wash your vintage items regularly, even if the tag says you can. Either dry clean, hand wash or at the very least wash on the delicate cycle. Most vintage items are fragile.