What to Consider When Buying Vintage Clothing

When I want to add a little flavor to my wardrobe, I like to visit my local vintage shop. As an avid vintage buyer, I know what to look for and what works for me. I’ll admit, buying vintage clothing may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It takes a bit of ingenuity and effort to dig through racks of old clothing for random gems. If you’re not the type that gets excited at the thought of wading through piles of clothes, I have some tips to help you navigate the vintage shop with confidence so that you end up leaving satisfied with some stellar finds.

Inspect for Quality

There’s nothing wrong with getting giddy about a cool piece you’ve discovered, but always remember to inspect it first. I’m a stickler for quality, so it’s important that the item I’m choosing is good enough to go into my closet. To check for quality, hold the garment up to a good light source and do an overall scan. I check everywhere from the exterior to the interior of the garment. I look for small stains, snags or holes that are not noticeable at first glance. Some signs of general wear are normal, and you can embrace these flaws. If you find something dope that has more than a few things wrong, don’t be afraid to pass it up. If the price is right and the flaws are minimal or you feel they can be repaired easily, go for it! Use your scanning eye often when buying vintage clothing. Your closet and your wallet will thank you.

Determine the Value

I typically ask myself this question when discovering a pricey yet amazing vintage piece: Is it really worth it? If you splurge on a questionable item without determining it’s value first, you’re definitely going to regret it. Always keep in mind that the overall value of a vintage piece should justify the asking price. This goes back to my quality point above. Typically if the item is in good condition and the price is a bit much, you can possibly consider the purchase if you’ve done a little research. Look at the brand name of the item. Do a quick Google search of the brand name or type of item to see if similar pieces are selling for a decent price or within the asking price range. If you decide later on that you want to pass the item along and sell it, would you be able to make a profit?

Selected pieces of clothing

Think About Versatility

In addition to considering quality and value, you have to ask yourself if the pieces you have your eye on are something you can easily incorporate into your wardrobe. You should be doing this assessment regardless if you’re buying any type of clothing, but it’s just as important when buying vintage. If you’re going to pay top dollar for a nice vintage piece, you want to be able to integrate it seamlessly with other items you own. Plus, it’s no fun if you can’t flaunt your discovery every chance you get! If you’re on the hunt for pieces to add to your wardrobe, try to look for items in neutral tones such as white, black, gray, tan and brown so that you can blend them with contrasting pieces in your closet. Take the time to consider the versatility of your vintage finds so you can really enjoy blending them into your wardrobe.

Evaluate Uniqueness

What’s the point of shopping vintage if you can’t find something you can’t get anywhere else? That’s what I love the most about buying vintage clothing. If you learn you train your eye, you can find some rare and distinct items. Maybe it’s a denim jacket with crazy stitching or a really cool tee with a retro design, if you haven’t seen it anywhere else and you love it, buy it! Always consider your quality and versatility touch points, but don’t be afraid to own a stand-out piece. The whole point of getting vintage is to find rare items that no one else has so you can really shine in the crowd. There’s nothing like owning something different than what’s out there already.

Clothing on hangers

Remember Care and Upkeep

Always consider fabric make up when buying vintage clothing. This circles back to the quality and value points above. Consider how you will care for the item post-purchase. I always suggest taking the utmost care when cleaning vintage clothing. Typically if the item is older, the fabric make up is more delicate and will require specialized cleaning techniques. You can also Google how to care for specific vintage items and fabric types. Each time you wear your piece, check the garment afterwards and spot clean as necessary. If you’re really concerned about preserving your purchased piece, I would suggest dry cleaning the item. A beautiful vintage piece’s life can be sustained if you properly care for it. On the other hand, if you find a vintage item that feels like a hassle to maintain, don’t buy it.

I follow these rules every time I go shopping for vintage clothing to save myself time and sanity. For all you peeps out there that are hesitant of vintage shopping, use my rules and I guarantee you’ll make the best purchase! What’s your stance on buying vintage, do you hate it or love it? Do you have tips that you use when buying vintage clothing? Let me know in the comments below!

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