Vintage shopping is much like going on an adventure; you need to be well prepared, have the correct equipment, stop for refreshments and always expect the unexpected. Vintage and thrift shopping is great for the environment, your fashionista soul and the economy (more on that here), but not everyone knows how to do it properly. In this post, I highlight how to prepare for your vintage shopping adventure including some tips and tricks to remember.
What to Bring:
–Measuring tape; if you’re not sure an item will fit you, by measuring the garment you can eyeball if it’ll fit meaning you don’t waste time in the change room or force a garment on.
–Silk scarf; by bringing a scarf whilst vintage shopping you can put it over your hair and face as you slip on your vintage garment to make sure you don’t get your hair products or makeup on the the garment. Don’t ruin the vintage for everyone else by smearing your foundation all over the fabric. If you do get makeup on the garment, tell the staff so they can fix the issue. You can also ask for help whilst putting on certain outfits, don’t worry, no one will judge you if you need someone to help you with a zip.
–Light refreshments for between shops; bring water and a few snacks to eat between stores to keep your sugar levels up. I know I have had a dizzy spell half way through crawling into an outfit because I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. Don’t eat in the store though! You risk damaging the merchandise and even attracting bugs. Bring a baby wipe to clean your hands after.
–Allergy medication; Im not saying that vintage/thrift stores are dirty but I personally find that sometimes my eyes get itchy and I get a stuffy nose because clothing does hold a lot of dust. By grabbing some allergy meds, I don have to keep looking for tissues or worrying about anything floating in the air. I do the same when I clean out my wardrobe.
–Bring your own bags; I always make sure to keep some canvas bags, a garment bag and sometimes even a large box in my car when I plan to go vintage shopping. Not everything needs a bag especially if you have a car handy, but if you don’t, by bringing your own bags, you can be prepared for all your purchases to come.
–Do your research; before you set off, make sure you look up google, other blogs and social media to see where a good range of vintage stores are located in your city. By doing this the day before, you can map a route to make sure you don’t back track and waste time. It also gives you the opportunity of seeing what time stores are open and what’s around the area if you want to stop for a snack.
–Know what styles/era’s suit you; although it’s always good to keep an open mind before you go vintage shopping, have an idea of what you want, your preferred patterns or prints and your favourite era. This will save you time going through racks that hold nothing for you; for example, although I may browse the racks from the 80’s, there is a very slim chance that I will actually buy something from them. It’s best for me to stick to the racks from the 40’s and 50’s.
–Wear something that is quick and easy to get on and off; You don’t want to spend ages fiddling with difficult buttons, awkward zippers or tight outfits that you need to crawl into. Something that you can slip on an off is ideal, don’t worry about accessories (such as hats) because they will just slow you down.
–Wear comfy shoes; you cover a lot of ground whilst shopping so by wearing some comfy shoes you can cover a lot more. I always go for some comfy ballet flats as they can be kicked off in an instant and you don’t have to worry about laces or buckles.
–Wear appropriate undergarments; Hygiene is important and after working in a fashion boutique I am still shocked by how many people don’t wear undergarments at all. No. That’s kind of gross. This also extends to say don’t wear a pushup bra because some vintage may not fit your bust and you want to see how it fits without obstacles in the way.
–Know your budget; it would be great to walk into a store and never have to look at a price tag but we don’t all have that kind of lifestyle. Stay as close to your budget as you can but also know the worth of the items you want. It’s not always appropriate to haggle with staff for a cheaper price and you could end up offending them so avoid doing that. If you love an item over your budget, see if you can pay it off but also know that sometimes budget becomes a dirty word.
What are your shopping preparation tips? Did I miss anything?
Coming soon will be a continuation of this blog where I explore ‘how to shop for vintage’ include tips and tricks to getting the most out of your vintage shopping experience.
Happy vintage hunting!