Throughout my college journey thus far, I have learned to become confident in my own personal style and no longer be afraid to step outside of my comfort zone and buy those ‘weird’ items. One appreciation I have gained as a fashion student is vintage clothing. Having taken various fashion history courses at my university, I have enjoyed learning how silhouettes, materials and construction methods have changed throughout the decades. I have also taken note on how these old, vintage, styles recycle through the years and become a fashion forward option for the current times.
When shopping at a vintage boutique, it is important to analyze certain aspects of the piece you are interested in. You want to look closely at the quality of construction, level of previous wear, brand listed, estimated time period the the item was intended for and price they are asking for the item.
If you plan to wear a vintage item on a regular basis, it is important that you avoid buying something that is already damaged or too fragile. Too often, vintage shoppers will fall in love with a garment’s silhouette and uniqueness, and avoid to notice the hidden stains, iffy smells, or weakness of the materials. It may be a great piece to buy and collect, but as far as adding it to your everyday wardrobe, it may only end up lasting one or two wears.
Speaking of materials, it is important for vintage shoppers to understand that because these garments are older, the textiles have most likely become less strong than they once were. You should try on items first if at all possible, and make sure they fit comfortably. Buying an item too small could lead to various rips and tears down the road. It is important to know that sizes have changed throughout the years as well, and just because the size listed may be what you wear today, it could end up fitting very differently than expected.
If you’re not much of a fashion history buff, and don’t always know what time period certain items are from, it never hurts to do a little research. You never know what you may come across, and though finding items dating before 1950 is rare, finding a gem like that could be a worth-while investment. Doing research on a vintage item can also add to your appreciation for what you are buying. Think of each vintage item as a historical artifact with a story. Knowing its past could be a great conversation starter if someone compliments you on it later!
Finally… let’s talk money. If you’re looking for a vintage, designer brand, item in perfect condition, expect to pay a pretty penny for it. Just because these items are old, does NOT mean they are all going to be cheap. If you’re willing to wear something less high-end though, and something that has a little wear to it, you can find some awesome deals. I found that dress and jacket pair above at a great vintage boutique and paid $36 total for both items. Had a little bit of wear, but wasn’t anything that I couldn’t work with.
Hope these tips help! Happy shopping to all!