Some people light up when you mention the word vintage. To be honest, I’m not one of them. Until recently, the idea of purchasing something used – with someone else’s sweat, smell, and mustiness – was not at all appealing. I’ve also seen too many people use the price point of vintage clothing to buy items that really aren’t the best for them. In their case, budgeting wisely on new clothes that truly suit them would have been less pricey than filling a closet with inexpensive vintage.
But recently, I’ve been impressed with the selection at a few local consignment shops and have found some unique items to incorporate into my wardrobe. The stores are well-organized and not overflowing, which makes browsing much easier. They are also are discriminating in what they carry, and nearly all the clothes are in top condition.
If you’re curious about shopping vintage or if you are a vintage veteran, here are simple ways to make your experience worthwhile:
1. Be patient. Vintage stores often have lots of selection but most of it will not be what you need. Set aside time to comb the racks and find the diamonds in the rough.
2. Know what flatters you. Vintage clothes may be cut or sized differently than modern clothing. Having an idea of what shapes and styles look good on you will save you time. Also beware of buying things because they look “cute” or “interesting” but are not very wearable or versatile.
3. Quality and timelessness: the best clothes (vintage or not) are made to last, and will look fabulous on you for years to come. When you try things on, ask yourself if they reflect more of a whim or are part of your lasting style.
4. Check the details. Vintage should always be in impeccable condition, so check for holes and stains, inspect the seams, and make sure all the buttons are present.
5. Remember Cost-Per-Wear (CPW). An item becomes inexpensive when you wear it a lot, not necessarily because of a low sticker price. Try to visualize each item paired with others in your closet, so you will have many wearing options after you take it home.
Enjoy your vintage shopping!