How to Buy Vintage Clothing

"Guidelines to Buying Vintage Clothes and Accessories"


Vintage lady by Conde Nast
Vintage lady by Conde Nast

So what do you need to know when buying womens vintage clothing?

No one wants to get ripped off or be disappointed with their purchase.


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That's why it's best to do some extra research on how vintage fashion shopping works before you hit the checkout button. This page will give all of the important buying strategies, must-knows and how to's on purchasing womens vintage clothing to ensure that your purchase will be a successful one!

Buying Vintage Clothing Online vs. Offline

It's a lot easier to buy vintage clothes in an actual store because you can see the garments with your own eyes and use your hands to feel the fabric, smell it and try it on. You'll feel much safer with this option.

Buy womens vintage clothing online or in a store


Online shopping on the other hand requires trust... and careful research (eg. measurements and quality) and communication with the store/seller.

You might want to shop at reputable stores, especially the ones who have been online for several years and have a high customer rate. Being able to return something you're not satisfied is a must - so make sure they have a secure and solid refund policy.

Tip note Tips:

  • When shopping online always read the site's terms of sales, ordering procedure, and return policy before ordering
  • Most vintage clothing is one of a kind or limited in edition so you might not get a new chance the next time around. Grab the chance while you can, but make sure you'll return it if it doesn't fit
  • Vintage items need to be treated differently. It's a huge plus if they provide you with washing instructions!

Want to shop and discover new vintage inspiration? Then drop by the Shopping Guide to the Best Womens Vintage Clothing Stores Online

Now let's take a closer look at the guidelines on how to buy vintage clothing:

Any Flaws?

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Are you a do-it-yourself gal? If yes, then small flaws won't be a problem. Small stains can be removed, broken zippers and missing buttons can be sewn on, etc.

If doing small alterations is not your thing, then you might want to reconsider your choice of item if the flaws require a lot of time and money.

  • Is everything working?
Check the buttons, seams, zippers etc. If something's not working you can always get a tailor to fix it or if you're a crafty person you can do it yourself.

Make sure you factor the flaws into the price, as repairs can easily raise the price of the garment.

  • Are there any tears, stains or weird smells?
Tears can be fixed with a needle and a thread. Dry cleaning helps on stains but minimally on weird smells. The best thing to get rid of the smells in garments is to hang them outside under cover in slightly damp/cold weather.



Online

The item description should inform you if the product has any flaws.

If the description states that the garment is in mint/excellent/perfect condition, it means it's free of flaws, which is a good thing, but the price will naturally be a bit higher.

Fashion note icon What's "Mint Condition"?

In its original, like new condition, free of any flaws with all documentation and box. It's vintage that's "Like new".


Fortunately, there are some online vintage stores that sell items that are cleaned and ready to wear. One them is Some Like it Vintage.com

If you're in doubt about the description of the clothing, just email the store and get answers.


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Will it Fit?

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Take body measurements of vintage clothing
Try it on! Do not trust the size label. Sizing standards have changed.

Let me just say that society praised highly of hourglass/curvy shapes in the past. And look at the catwalk today!

One of the best things you can do before you start looking for womens vintage clothing on the Web is to take your body measurements.

This is important because sizing standards have changed since the good 'ol days. So you may find vintage garments marked with your size but only to discover that they're too small or big for you.



Online

Returning something that doesn't fit is a hassle. That's why a product description should provide you with the information you need to avoid this from happening. It'll help the company save time and money!

All vintage online stores should have the measurements available on their site.

Here are some of the measurements you should look for:

  • Length from neck and down
  • Bust
  • Waist
  • Hips
  • Sleeve length
  • and

  • Shoulder width

US/UK/EURO numbered sizes won't often be correct. Learn how to take your own body measurements


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Are You Going to Wear it?

Buying vintage clothes you'll never wear is a waste of money. Unless you're a collector!

So Ask Yourself These Questions:

  • Is it wearable?
  • How often do you think you'll wear it?
  • Can you match it with what's already in your wardrobe?

A tip is to figure out if this is something you're going to wear daily or if it's just for a fashion statement. As long as it appeals to your Personal Fashion Style you're good to go!

Click here to learn more about how to wear vintage


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Is it Worth the Price?

Vintage clothes and accessories range from cheap to expensive. It all depends on the piece itself.

So if you want to avoid being scammed, take a look at these pointers that decide if it's worth the price:

  • Age. The younger, the cheaper. Because of the rarity most vintage pieces from 50's and down are priced higher than from the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.
  • Rarity. Ranges from one-of-a-kind to limited edition. Even if the garment is young (from the 80's), the availability often draws the punchline, and I couldn't agree more. An item that is irreplaceable cost more.
  • Designer Brand. Wide-known designer branded vintage fashion by for example Chanel, Gucci etc. tend to cost more than less-known independent designer brands.
  • Quality and condition. No matter rarity, age and brand, an item with poor quality and condition should be priced lower. Why buy something mid to high-priced if you have to pay extra for the repairs? But don't worry, most vintage stores don't supply these kind of items

Fashion note icon Some Thoughts on the Vintage Quality

The condition is rated as follows: Good, Very Good, Excellent and Mint.

You'll have to expect a few flaws, but that's a part of vintage fashion's charm, right? In my opinion, if the piece has full of flaws (open seam, stains etc.) then it's not worth buying. Unless you're a crafty person, you can use your clever hands to fix the flaws.




Time to Shop for Womens Vintage Clothing

Now that you've reviewed my shopping tips on how to buy vintage clothing, it's time to shop!

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More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
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Related Content:

Vintage Fashion Style Tips - How to Wear Vintage How to Find Your Personal Fashion Style How to Create and Define Your Personal Fashion Style The Best of 80s Fashion - How to Wear 1980s Clothing
The Best of 70s Fashion - How to Wear 1970s Clothing How to Stretch Your Style Envelope - Experiment with color combos and new proportions Guide to Achieving Bohemian Style Typical Vintage Skirts - How to Wear a Vintage Skirt



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More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
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