Tips and Tricks for Vintage Shopping

This blog is a follow up from my last blog on how to prepare for a vintage shopping adventure; here we will discuss how to get the most our of your vintage shopping once you walk in the store. 





You’re ready! You’re prepared! Let’s go sniff out some vintage gold!

Now that you’re ready to actually go on your adventure, there are a few more things you need to know. A lot of vintage stores are packed with things all over the shelves, racks and walls; it can get really overwhelming. You don’t want to just dive into the closest rack because you’ll end up wasting a lot of time and you risk leaving empty handed after hours of shopping. Here is a simple game plan for you to follow once you enter the store:

Look at the layout of the store; most stores will have some sort of organisation wether it be by era, colour or garment type. Know what you want and go to that section first. Look for patterns and colour that stand out for you and gently go through the rack. Do not use the clothing as a means of flicking through the racks, use the top of the coat hanger to avoid getting the garments dirty. On this note, shop the store in sections rather than as a whole. Go through your priority list of items instead of trying to look at everything at once.

Don’t just look for designer labels; sure there is some amazing vintage out there with a fabulous designer to follow but if that’s all you’re looking for, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. There are so many fabulous items of vintage with no designer label just waiting for you so don’t disappoint them.

If you’re trying on a tight garment, see if you can sit down. It’s all well and good to look fabulous in a vintage wiggle dress but if you don’t try and see if you can sit down, you could damage the dress after purchase. It can seem a bit silly to buy a garment you have to stand in.

Bring a large bunch of items to try on in one go (if the store allows); I always go up to  staff member and show what I plan to try on to make sure it’s ok. I’d rather spend a couple on minutes in a change room trying on several outfits in one hit rather than going in and out and wasting more time. You can do it in rounds, perhaps 5-6 items at a time but make sure it’s ok with staff and their store policy as some places only allow 2 items max.

Do not force a garment! It may be your unicorn but if it doesn’t fit, Im so sorry, it doesn’t fit. If you force a garment you risk damaging it so no one else can have it including the store. Be respectful of the garment, the store and the staff. We all have had to leave gorgeous items behind because they just didn’t fit. Don’t dwell, there will be something a little ways down the line.

Inspect the garment before you try it on; if the garment is perfect then go right on ahead and try it on. If you notice a rip or something wrong with the garment, perhaps alert a staff member to give you some assistant. Most staff will be aware if certain garments have some damage and can try to help you out or give you tips on how to fix the issue. Remember some of these outfits are old, they are frail and not as buoyant as they once were; they deserve respect and a little patience.




Things to Avoid:

Strong Odour; if a garment has a strong smell, the chances are it can stink out your wardrobe even after you wash it. Some stenches last a life time.

Stains; if a garment looks like it just had a hell of a night out and is covered in awful stains, sometimes they can’t be removed. Leave it behind if you don’t think you can get them out. Check the armpit of a garment… just saying.

Rips; if a garment is badly damaged, has holes, rips, frayed or the beading is falling off, it may be best to leave it behind.

Too small; when you find a gorgeous item but it’s way too small, it’s always best to leave it. You can always alter something to make it smaller but its near on impossible to make an item larger.

Leather; it cracks and dries out really easily if it’s not looked after. Once it’s cracked, you can’t fix it.

Fur; vintage fur, much like leather, can dry out and the pelts can come away from the tuffs. You can’t fix this either.

Bags with broken clasps; clasps are difficult to replace and can be very expensive. It’s best to leave a bag if it is damaged.

4 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks for Vintage Shopping

  1. Ms. Kitsch says:

    This post is great and has so many wonderful tips! I also wanted to second your advice on passing up items that are too small! It really is nearly impossible to alter a garment to make it bigger without drastically changing it (letting out seam allowances if possible or adding non-original fabric panels comes to mind), but a garment that is a size or so bigger can be altered much more easily to make it smaller so is a much, much safer bet. Keep in mind as well that a drastic alteration could end up being quite costly unless you or someone you know can sew and do alterations!

    Thank you so much for writing this post! 🙂


    • missmonmon says:

      Thank you for your amazing support hun! I stupidly didn’t take my own advice and have a dress thats gorgeous but too small in my wardrobe. Im wondering what to do with it :/
      Youre amazing! Sorry for the late replies! My emails for comments were being marked as spam. Oh dear!


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