How to Buy Vintage Clothing

Aside from not buying anything, buying vintage clothing is the greenest option for adding to your wardrobe. Although eco-friendliness is a motivator, and to tell the truth, it does weigh a factor in my head when buying vintage clothing… I did not start out shopping vintage to save the planet.

My love affair with vintage started out in high school, then, it still wasn’t ‘cool’ to shop at Goodwill, but I just couldn’t afford to buy new with my part-time $4.25/hour minimum wage job. My friends and I would hit up Purple Heart Thrift and DAV for these crazy dresses under a dollar. I loved it, but as time passed my taste changed and my reasons for buying vintage changed…

The following questions/tips depict the process I go through when shopping:

1. Does it fit?

Vintage pieces are often a much higher quality than what you will find today. Many pieces are hand stitched using beautiful fabrics. But everything deteriorates. Some older pieces will tear easier than their contemporary counterparts. If something doesn’t fit properly (meaning, when you are breathing normally) it may give you problems.

Up until the 60′s women wore Foundation Garments under their clothes. They were mostly used to hold up stockings and to give an hourglass shape. That’s how they were able to achieve such a silhouette. Go easy on yourself, besides, there is always Spanx.

2. Check zippers, buttons, seams, is everything working? Are there any stains, tears, weird smells?

A broken zipper can be fixed by a tailor, most dry cleaners can do it, or if you are a crafty one, then great. Factor that into the price, the amount of repairs or work that has to be done. As for smells, I’m not good at that, once I bought a cool army jacket, and I didn’t know until I got home that it reaked. Dry cleaning didn’t help, it was like a Seinfeld episode. The jacket had to go.

3. Picking pieces you are going to wear.

Unless you are a collector, buying dresses you’ll never wear is just a waste of money. I know lots of women who wear vintage in a very inconspicuous way. How they do it, is they look for elements that tie in with current trends.

I fell in love with this Borne dress at In Lieu, but I was about to move, and I couldn’t afford it, luckily I came across something at Painted Bird that did the trick…

borne painted bird

For the longest time I’ve been drooling over the great selection of harem pants on Styleserver, and leave it too luck, I find a pair of vintage rayon harem pants at the flea market.

harem pants

It’s undeniable that Balenciaga’s floral patterns have been a huge influencer this year. Looking for elements like patterns and silhouettes is a good start, but details are also a great way to find pieces that inspire you.

balenciaga inpired floral

Most of all, It’s important to find clothes you are happy with. When you’re happy with what you’re wearing, it shows. Developing an eye takes time and practice, have fun, the best part about vintage clothing is that finding your niche and hidden treasures.

jennineHow to Buy Vintage Clothing