Friday, October 23, 2009

How to Shop Vintage




 The most stylish guy you know probably wears used clothing. However, shopping at vintage, second-hand and thrift stores is a very different experience than shopping in department stores. It can certainly be overwhelming looking at racks and racks of used clothing. So here are some helpful tips:

1. Do your research. Search online for the vintage stores in your area with the biggest selecion / best prices. Keep in mind that some of the more popular vintage stores can get pricey, but this does not mean the clothing is better quality.

2. Know what you are looking for. Before you head to the store, make a list of things you would like to add to your wardrobe. For the most part these stores are arranged by "type of clothing", for example all the denim jackets are in one section, so a list of what you are looking for can help you navigate the usually jam-packed racks and piles of clothing. If you've never shopped vintage before or are unsure what to pick up, here are my top vintage go-to picks...
  •  denim jacket (the classic levi trucker is my favorite)
  •  denim/chambray shirt
  •  black or gray leather jacket
  •   military utility jacket
  •   authentic wool Navy peacoat
  •   levis 501 jeans
  •   lace-up boots
  •   chunky cowichan cardigan sweater
  •   brown antique-looking leather belt
  •   flannel casual button-down shirts (plaid/check patterns are the most popular right now)
3. Inspect the clothing. If you find something you like, make sure to look it over for holes, rips, stains, etc. Look on the inside for fraying seams as these could easily let go. Smell the fabric to make sure it doesn't smell like grandpa (or worse).

4. Try it on! Fit is even more important when wearing vintage, you don't want to look like you're wearing your big brothers hand-me-downs.

5. Get to know the person who runs the joint.
These stores are usually owned and operated by one or two people, and they are usually the coolest, most interesting people you can meet. They're also the buyers for the store so if you can't find what you're looking for, odds are they can pick it up on their next buying trip.

6. Wash it before you wear it. You don't know where it's been, or how long it's been sitting around getting musty in the store.

7. Don't go full vintage right away.  Wearing vintage from head to toe is risky. If you're new to vintage shopping start working your "new" pieces into your wardrobe slowly by matching them with staples you already have.

Good luck, and happy shopping.

Yours in style,
SB

2 comments:

senatorrosewater said...

Another great post. The only things I would add are these:

1-- When shopping vintage its important to check back often. You can shop a department store once a season, but in a vintage store the stock turns over constantly.

2-- Its kind of an open secret that people who run independent boutiques will often scour Goodwill or the Salvation Army for the most stylish pieces, then mark them up in their own shop.

C. Dianne Zweig said...

Thanks for this wonderful post. I mentioned you in my blog on Thrift Shopping......Dianne