6 Tips For Buying Gorgeous Vintage Fashion

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When you shop for vintage and used clothes, you can always discover something unique that fits your style while still being sustainable and having a beneficial influence on the environment.

Purchasing vintage clothes is an alternative to fast fashion, which is one of the most damaging businesses on the planet.

Over 80 billion new clothes are manufactured each year, accounting for up to ten percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, buying used can reduce your carbon impact by sixty to seventy percent.

Yet despite knowing this, and despite having the best of intentions when it comes to buying vintage fashion, it’s still sometimes easier to go to a standard store and buy standard clothes.

You might know it’s not the right thing to do, but when time and money are in short supply, it can also feel as though it’s your only option. 

It doesn’t have to be. Buying vintage garments can be a simple process when you know what you’re looking for and have a good idea of how to make a start.

With that in mind, these tips for buying gorgeous vintage fashion should help you – and the planet – considerably. Read on to find out more. 

Price Points 

You discover the perfect outfit, but do you really want to pay $100 (or whatever the price is) for it? When it comes to vintage clothing, the rule of thumb is if you like it and you can afford it, get it since, most of the time, the item will be in excellent shape, suggesting that the person who used it before you took excellent care of it.

The shop owner most likely cleaned and fixed it before selling it too. Plus, you’ll kick yourself if you decide to get it later and then find it’s gone – when you buy vintage, those pieces tend to be one of a kind. 

These are crucial points to remember: you’re paying for a unique work, and in most instances, it’s really beautifully created, with a lot of care done to deliver it to you. So you’re paying for both the item and the preservation of it.

And it’s going to be there for a long time.

Remember that in fashion, you definitely get what you pay for, and when contrasted to a much cheaper new item, this costlier vintage piece will be there for you for many years to come, and if you need to, you could always use swyftx.com to exchange some cryptocurrency to ensure you don’t miss out on something you love. 

Keep An Open Mind 

Is there a particular outfit you have in mind? Is there a color you just have to have, or something from a specific fashion trend? Maybe you want to know there will be a range in your size when you head to the store. If that’s the case, vintage clothes shopping may not be right for you. 

In contrast to new clothing stores, where you’ll find the same item replicated in a variety of colors and sizes (meaning you can buy something that works for you, assuming you like the style of the thing), vintage stores provide a wide variety of one-of-a-kind items. So you might find something gorgeous, but it’s not your size, and there isn’t another one like it.

Or perhaps the color isn’t to your taste, yet the cut is perfect. In other words, if you’re looking for a particular item, you’re better off not going vintage shopping since you’re more likely to come up empty-handed. 

If, however, you’re willing to go shopping with an open mind, you’re going to have a great time. When you don’t know what to expect, when you don’t mind what color or even era you might find something in and from, and when you’re happy to try different ideas even if you’re not sure about them (some of these can work out great and be a surprise hit), you’ll love vintage clothes shopping. 

For the best results, make a moodboard of your favorite retro items and use it as a guide when you go shopping.

Although it’s fun to go with no idea at all, and if you have all the time in the world, that’s fine, the fact is that you could spend days and days looking for the right vintage piece. Making a moodboard or at least having a few ideas in mind means you can focus a lot more, assuming that’s what you want to do. 

Set A Time Limit 

As we mentioned above, vintage shopping can take some time if you let it. This is why it can be a good idea to set yourself a time limit.

Again, you’ll be more focused, and when you see something you like, you’ll know you need to think and act fast because once it’s gone, it’s gone. You may not have the luxury of wandering off and coming back to it, and if you have a time limit in place, you’ll be able to keep this thought in mind.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should rush any purchase, especially if you’re spending a lot of money, but there is certainly a time element involved in vintage clothes shopping. 

A time limit will also help you feel less intimidated by the sheer number of different garments you might come across. In a thrift store, you probably won’t find too many – not quality items, anyway. This can be a good place to start, as you won’t need much time, and you can get a good look at the clothing on sale. As you get more confident in what you like and what you need to look for, you could try a specialist vintage store.

Here you’ll find potentially hundreds of items, and therefore your time limit might need to be invoked. Finally, there are the flea markets and similar events. These can be huge, with hundreds of vendors. Without a time limit, you could spend an entire day there, and you may not come home with anything at all. 

Try It On

You know your clothing size, so you probably feel confident in going shopping for vintage clothing. After all, when you look at the label, you’ll know whether or not the item will fit. Isn’t that right? Sometimes that’s correct, and sometimes it’s very wrong.

Even with brand new clothing, the sizes can be different depending on where you buy it and what make the garment is. This is why most people wear not just one, but two sizes, and sometimes three, and why buying online can be tricky if you don’t have all the information about the clothing to hand. 

When it comes to vintage clothing, the story is no different. Vintage clothing has a particularly broad range of sizing differences across designers, perhaps more so than today’s clothes, because there were fewer standardized sizes in the past.

And remember, when it comes to clothing, sizes were significantly smaller in the past anyway. Also, washing the clothes over the years can cause articles to shrink. 

Therefore, it doesn’t matter how big or small the tag says it is when it comes to vintage shopping, and therefore you must try on a garment to see whether or not it is a good fit.

If you’re shopping online or at a flea market and don’t have access to a fitting room, your best choice is to take your own measurements. Be careful to ask vendors for the item’s precise dimensions online and carry a tiny measuring tape with you when you go shopping in person so that you can take your own measurements.

Search For Flaws 

Vintage clothing, in contrast to brand-new items, often contains defects, such as stains, tears, missing buttons, and zippers that get stuck. Before purchasing an item, be sure to properly check it for any defects or imperfections.

Look for things with lots of high-quality photographs when purchasing online, and inquire immediately with the vendor if the item has any problems. Once you know, you can make your own choice, but buying something and expecting it to be perfect is often a mistake (although it can happen if you’re very lucky). 

Consider whether or not you can put up with the flaws of a product before you buy it if you find yourself falling in love with it.

Sometimes the heart can want one thing while the head wants another, and it’s wise to think carefully before making any rash decisions. In many cases, it will depend what the problem is. You can hem too-long trousers to shorten them, for example. Fraying silk, on the other hand, can’t be saved. A missing button is a difficult one; although it’s easy to replace a button, will you be able to find one that matches the other vintage ones already there?

Make sure that you don’t purchase anything that needs to be repaired unless you intend to fix it yourself or know somewhere that can do the work without costing more than the garment is worth. 


Once you start shopping for vintage clothing, it’s highly unlikely you’ll go back to off-the-shelf new clothes. Enjoy the process and learn as you go, and you’ll not only have some gorgeous new-to-you clothes, but you’ll also have a hobby you can enjoy for life.


Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram

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