Nothing is better than a good vintage find. I love scavenging through racks of old stuff looking for that perfect item; however, I also recognize that the task of thrifting can be very overwhelming and time-consuming. So upon request from several of my friends, here are some of my personal tips and tricks of vintage shopping.
Number 1. Skim the racks by touching fabrics, noting styles, and embracing the colors and textures. I never spend too much time on any particular item. Instead, I just follow my gut instinct. If something really speaks to you, try it on regardless of size, shape, or style. You see vintage styles can be very deceiving. There are so many times I have picked up an item thinking it would be huge, but it fits nicely.
Number 2. After you have skimmed, tried on, and evaluated, the next biggest question is “Do I love it?” If you love it and it fits (either perfectly or with a few minor alterations) get it. I have passed up on a few items that still haunt me to this day. One good and bad thing about vintage shopping is that it is unique. Unlike shopping in a department store, you may not be able to go back the next day to retrieve it. However on the opposite end of the spectrum, I have also come home with a few items that I liked but just didn’t love. Those items just ended up collecting dust. Loving it is important.
Number 3. Asking yourself, “Is it practical?” Yes, I hate this question, but it is such an important one. Do you remember this post? I found the lovely pink dress perfect for a 1950′s dance. It fit perfectly, spoke to me louder than you could image, and was a reasonable price, but where the heck would I wear the thing? The answer was nowhere, so I had to leave it behind. This question also fits when it comes to the fabric. I have also passed on some great items because the fabric, button holes, zippers, etc. were too fragile, and I knew they couldn’t survive daily wear.
Number 4. You gotta think outside of the box! The blue dress and white dress above are both skirts; however, I like them equally well as dresses. I simply pulled the elastic waist up and tied the attached scarf around the waist. Ta-da! Sometimes dresses may be too long or look frumpy and big, but if you add the right belt, scarf or accessory, it may change the look all together. It’s always nice to have a few items in your closet that you can wear multiple ways!
Number 5. Know the options in your area so that you can give yourself and your budget adequate time and space. For example when I’m going to second-hand stores like goodwill, I leave myself with plenty of time to sift through racks and piles of stuff. Typical, I find myself lucky if I walk away with one or more treasures as its harder to find stuff “I love,” but it’s also much kinder on my wallet due to the thriftier prices. If I’m wanting to have more of a shopping experience, I will go to a vintage boutique where owners have already hand-selected quality vintage items. I never walk away not tempted by at least 5 different items. The experience can also be much quicker and less overwhelming to new vintage shoppers as most items are color coded and in great shape, but the price will also reflect the convenience.
Do you have any tips or tricks to share?