Vintage Shopping for Beginners
Article features gifted items from @grainofgoldvintage
Where to start when you’re not so familiar with shopping for vintage? Let’s dive straight in!
Online or In store
With items available for purchase at the tap of a finger, online shopping is one of the most popular methods for new items, but what about vintage?
Vintage can be found in many place online, from eBay to Etsy, Instagram to Facebook Marketplace. My most recent vintage finds were sourced from @grainofgoldvintage on Instagram, an Australian vintage boutique with a gorgeous growing curated collection. The trick here is to have a few go-to tips to knowing what you’re paying for.
A search of your city, or better yet, a major city you are travelling to worldwide, will yield some clues as to whether bricks and mortar stores exist. Major cities mean higher prices but easier access and more chance of finding specific items. Smaller towns may have lower price points but less stock.
Are thrift stores ‘vintage’?
These are hit and miss. Traditional vintage is defined by age and style. Try looking in the ‘retro’ and ‘labels’ sections of these stores to find hidden treasures.
Price and Quality vs Condition and Demand
Labels will be your first clue as to an era from which an item has come. We are now seeing 90s fashions being accepted into the vintage market and the older the item does not necessarily mean the pricier.
Condition and demand come into play here. A mint condition classic Chanel bag from the 80s can be a steep nvestment versus a newer, less sought after Chanel piece in poor condition.
What to look for
Keep an open mind when shopping vintage. Having your heart set on a particular piece may means your search may take longer. Vintage will always mean pre-loved, so condition does vary. Pay attention to all the details: fabric/care label, construction and fastenings such a zippers and buttons, markings/stains/potential tears and holes. Some fabrics become extremely delicate over time and need special care.
Inspect and try on if in store. If buying online, ask all of these questions and don’t forget to check measurements. Many sizes are not standard and sizing varies across the globe depending on the origin of the item. This is still true for bags. Chanel for example has an ‘old medium’ and ‘new medium’ size so simply seeing ‘medium’ in a description may be of little help.
How to care for your vintage
Vintage pieces need TLC. Know what you’re dealing with in terms of fabric and care labels. A high quality dry cleaner can assist if the care label is missing and can help to determine if the garment can withstand dry cleaning.
Use your judgement when it comes to washing on delicate cycle or hand washing. Use natural detergents where possible, designed for delicates. Be sure to take care of any embellishments and remove these if possible.
In terms of stain removal, older stains tend to be very stubborn. Research how to remove stains with the least interference possible. A great tip is to dye an item a darker shade such a black. This will refresh it and give a new look, disguising stains and imperfections.
For jewellery, know if items are made from real gold, silver, stainless steel or other and care for accordingly. Be wary of using jewellery cleaner on synthetic stones and plated items.
VINTAGE FOR THE FUTURE
In the words of Emma Watson, “As consumers we have so much power to change the world just by being careful in what we buy”. Vintage gives items a renewed life, interrupting the cycle of use. Not only revered for its sustainability, vintage items are unique. Find your style aesthetic and let your personality shine with a pop of vintage in your wardrobe. Soon you’ll be a collector!