I stumbled on this article as I was making my mental shopping list for this weekend’s thrifting.
10 Vintage-Buying Tips From The Queen Of Second-Hand Shopping
You can click the link to read all ten. Here are my picks…
1.) Check The Condition
Always inspect vintage garments. You are buying as-is merchandise… Just remember that you get what you pay for. If something is ripped or threads are loose and the lining is falling out, factor in what the cost would be to have it repaired, before purchasing
This doesn’t really affect me. If I find a bargain I am willing to fix it.
2.) Check For Stains & Odors
Hold the garment in natural light to check for any stains. If there are stains under the arms, pass. These stains and odors are set and cannot be removed… Oxiclean is the industry choice and can help remove difficult set-in stains.
But some things are worth the extra work. I have been able to remove odors with“ Oxiclean, line drying, and bounce dryer sheets. Pit stains are hit or miss. sometimes the sleeve/armhole must be removed/replaced.
3.) Know What Eras Work Best For Your Body Type
Hourglass and plus sizes:
The 50s and early 60s celebrated a shapely hourglass figure like those of Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren. Cinched waists, fitted cardigan sweaters, or pencil skirts and capri pants make an hourglass figure stand out. Many ˜80s styles can flatter the hourglass shape, too.
A-line dresses from the ˜60s are flattering on pear shapes, but pay attention to the length and fabric. Longer skirts from the ˜70s have an elongating effect. A long skirt combined with a fitted top really work well for pear shapes. Maxi lengths are a good choice, too, and, now they are back in style
An ample bust and shapely legs are juicy assets, so pick one to show off. Any decade that didn’t emphasize the waist will flatter this body shape, including the ˜30s, ˜60s, and ˜70s.”
“Flapper styles form the ˜20s and ˜30s and straight ˜60s mod styles were made for this Twiggy-like body shape. Any waist or bust line emphasis is not the best silhouette for super-skinny or boyish bodies.
4.) Try It On
Always try on vintage pieces since the size on the tag will not correlate to today’s sizing. Ignore size labels they are not consistent throughout the decades. You may have heard that Marilyn Monroe was considered a size 12 in the ’50s, but with today’s vanity sizing would have been a size 6 in this era. I recommend trying items on or to measure them before purchasing.
I wrote about size this weekend. Try it on or know all your measurements.
5.) Dress In Layers While Shopping
Wearing layers makes it easier and faster to try on clothing. Wearing a dance leotard or leggings and a camisole under a skirt makes it possible to try on clothes even without a dressing room. This comes in handy at flea markets and garage sales.
…or at clothes swaps. Dress in layers and toss modesty out the window.
6.) Always Go Bigger
Finding vintage clothes that are a perfect fit is usually not possible, but if you find something you adore and it is too big for you, that can work. Larger sizes can usually be taken in and tailored to fit depending on the fragility of the fabric and the construction. Smaller sizes rarely have enough extra room in the seam allowance to make it larger.
I cringe at having someone ask me about letting out garments. Most modern garments are not cut for tailoring. Seam allowances are removed when the edges are finished off.
9.) Be The Early Bird
To get the most coveted items at estate sales and flea markets, the old saying still rings true. The best pieces are snapped up first, so get there early if you want to compete with the pros.
I am first in line at thrift stores and estate sales. Some vendors will let you help set up. I highly recommend that route. You can shop early.
10.) Love It? Don’t Lose It!
Losing out on a rare vintage item that you might never see again is a tough part of the vintage-buying game. So if you love it, buy it!
I saw several people with that approach last weekend at the store. A few people got to the register and turned back to grab the item they were on the fence about.