Vintage Shopping Guide: All You Need To Know
The most interesting part of vintage shopping lies in buying items that have the exclusivity of a custom-made piece and pay a fraction of the price for it 💰
What to know when going to a vintage fair, in a shop or you’re scrolling online.
It’s a list of do’s and don’ts, tips&tricks that I learned since the beginnings of V for Vintage. It took me a while to learn these tricks, until then I bought overpriced pieces that weren’t so vintage, too damaged items and so on 😆
My preferred source of vintage treasures are still vintage fairs. And this is not because I organize V for Vintage (or is it?)
I either go to Portobello market or in marche aux puces places in Paris or to the V for Vintage fair (10 more days until the next one). I prefer the real experience. I like to touch vintage pieces, to have the real feeling and I also enjoy having the same experience like in the old times, when online was not invented 👀
First of all, Why vintage?
A quality vintage garment or accessory can cost as much as current couture (vintage Chanel) so why would someone choose a pre-owned item over something brand new? Because it’s probably made better. A general rule of thumb, especially for higher-end designer pieces, is that the older the piece the higher the quality 😉
There is usually more handwork, more attention to detail and a tendency for durability that you don’t see much in contemporary fashion. Not to mention that—with a vintage designer item—you likely won’t spot any other gal on the street carrying that same bag or wearing that same jacket.
Know where to shop
Vintage clothing can be found in numerous places but the extent and quality will come down to the devotion of the seller sourcing the vintage clothing, so always start by checking out the credentials of the seller to find out how much they know about vintage clothing, as this will give you the confidence that they’re selling good garments.
This is a guarantee that we learned to offer at V for Vintage fairs 👌
Learn the lingo of labels
Tags and labels are always a great place to check for the decade a garment was made.
Tags were not regularly added to clothing until the 1940s/1950s. They stated nothing else but the designer logo or manufacturer name.
Starting with the 1970s, labels started to include the basic fabric content and garment size.
By the 1990s tags contained all of the information we see on modern garment labels.
Size doesn’t really matter
Vintage sizing is not like modern sizing and can be a minefield 😑
Women’s proportions change with each decade. This comes down to everything from underwear to diet.
There is some truth to the rule that different decades suit different body shapes. Dresses from the 1950s look good on curvy bodies and 1920s dresses on more boyish figures. Floaty 1970s pieces tend to suit everyone.
I love the 50s look even if I’m not curvy and pieces from the 70s are some of my favorites 💓
Seams and fastenings can be mine of information
For example, zippers were not introduced until the 1930s in the clothing manufacturing process and were made of metal until their plastic counterpart was invented in the 1970s.
Other few interesting things to keep in mind: Signs that a garment was manufactured before the mid-’60s are also side-snap closures, saw-toothed edges (often known as pinked seams), and union labels printed in blue.
Look for the condition of the garments
Look out for signs of your clothes’ biggest enemy… moths 👀
Natural fabrics are more prone to moth damage than artificial ones so pay attention to silks, wools and cottons.
The next vintage items
If you’re buying now for the future then look out for limited-edition designer pieces that will increase in value over the next twenty years. As morbid as it may sound deceased designers have greater currency simply because they will no longer be designing. Recent pieces by Alexander McQueen for example have reached far higher prices than expected 😼
How to wear vintage?
Mix the old with the new. Vintage with contemporary. Just what I did with my outfit in this article. When deciding how to wear your vintage clothing, pair vintage pieces with contemporary design. The clothes and accessories that you wear every day can be upgraded by adding something gorgeous from your vintage collection, such as a modern bag and shoes paired with a vintage 50s fitted dress 😻
See you soon, at V for Vintage fair, dears