A Beginner’s Guide to Shopping Vintage: Do’s and Don’ts

Embarking on the journey of vintage shopping can be as thrilling as it is daunting. The world of vintage clothing offers a treasure trove of unique styles, each with its own history and character. For those new to vintage fashion, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. With the right guidance and an understanding of the essential do’s and don’ts, anyone can become a savvy vintage shopper. For novices seeking quality and authenticity, Blue17 provides a perfect starting point, offering a wide selection of vintage clothing that captures the essence of various eras.

Understanding Vintage Clothing

What is Vintage Clothing?
Vintage clothing refers to garments from a previous era, typically at least 20 years old, which represent the styles and trends of their time. These pieces range from high fashion to everyday wear, each holding a piece of fashion history.

The Do’s of Vintage Shopping

  1. Do Your Research:
    Before diving into purchasing, it’s crucial to understand the different eras of fashion and what distinguishes them. This knowledge will help you identify styles you like and ensure that you’re getting genuine vintage pieces. Familiarize yourself with the materials, cuts, and labels from different decades.
  2. Do Inspect Quality:
    Always check the condition of the item thoroughly. Look for any signs of wear, damage, or alterations. Vintage items are often well-worn, and while some wear can add character, too much damage may detract from the value and durability of the garment.
  3. Do Try Items On:
    Sizing can vary widely by decade and brand. What may be labeled a size 10 in a garment from the 1950s could be very different from a modern size 10. Always try on items to ensure a good fit, or if shopping online, check measurements carefully against your own and inquire about any additional sizing details from the seller.
  4. Do Mix and Match:
    Incorporating vintage pieces into your modern wardrobe can elevate your style. Mix and match vintage items with contemporary clothes for a balanced and personalized look. This approach allows you to highlight the vintage piece while keeping your outfit grounded in the present day.
  5. Do Consider Alterations:
    Sometimes a fantastic vintage piece might not fit perfectly. Consider whether the item can be altered without losing its integrity. Simple adjustments like hemming or taking in a garment can make a significant difference.

The Don’ts of Vintage Shopping

  1. Don’t Rush Your Purchases:
    Vintage shopping should be deliberate and thoughtful. Avoid impulse buying by taking the time to consider how each piece will fit into your existing wardrobe and whether it’s truly a style you love.
  2. Don’t Overlook Care Instructions:
    Vintage garments often require special care due to their age and materials. Always check care labels or ask the seller for recommendations on how to maintain the garment. Proper care will ensure your vintage pieces last longer and stay in good condition.
  3. Don’t Forget to Haggle:
    If you’re shopping at flea markets, estate sales, or certain vintage shops, don’t be afraid to negotiate the price. Vendors expect some haggling, and it can help you get a better deal, especially if you are buying multiple items.
  4. Don’t Ignore Smells and Stains:
    Be wary of musty smells, persistent odors, or stubborn stains, as these can be difficult to remove and may render a garment unwearable. Some issues, like mothball odors or minor spots, can be fixed, but others like mold or severe stains might be permanent.
  5. Don’t Buy Just for Resale:
    While buying vintage clothing as an investment to resell can be lucrative, it’s important to purchase items you genuinely appreciate. The vintage market can be unpredictable, and values can fluctuate based on current trends and demand.

Navigating the World of Vintage Fashion

Shopping for vintage clothing is not just about buying older clothes; it’s about discovering pieces that speak to you and learning about the history and artistry that come with them. It’s about sustainability, style, and connecting with past generations through the language of fashion.

As you grow more comfortable and knowledgeable about vintage shopping, you’ll find that it’s not only a way to enhance your wardrobe but also a means to preserve and celebrate the rich tapestry of fashion history. Whether exploring local boutiques, browsing through online markets like Blue17, or hunting at estate sales, each piece you choose adds depth, character, and a personal touch to your modern style ensemble.