My Tips for Buying Vintage Clothing

A few weeks ago, I finally pulled the trigger on this amazing, vintage floral wrap skirt from one of my favorite antique stores here in Nashville. I’d had my eye on it for awhile, and the booth happened to be having a sale that day so she came on home with me.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of vintage (I’ve shared a few of my past finds here and here) – so today, I thought I would share a few tips for how to find quality pieces and get the most bang for your buck by styling them with the items you already have in your closet. So let’s get started…

Don’t be intimidated!

All-to-often when I wear some of my vintage pieces, I first receive a compliment (which is lovely)… but it is usually followed by a comment along the lines of, “I could never pull that off” or, “I wouldn’t even begin to know how to style that.” But the thing is, you CAN pull it off and meshing vintage pieces with the current items in your closet and creating unique outfits is half the fun! My biggest piece of advice is to approach it as you would any other outfit – pay attention to your patterns and cuts. For example, if you found an amazing vintage pair of bell bottoms, pair them with a sleek body suit or a more tailored top tucked in. In the case of my new skirt, it has a pretty loud pattern so I opted to pair it with a black crop and basic sandals. Don’t be afraid to dive into your closet and see what creations you can make!

I purchased this vintage Levi’s jean jacket a few months ago and I have found so many ways to style it with different outfits.
This has quickly become my favorite jacket for travel – it’s so roomy and comfy!

Sizing can be a little off.

I always (ALWAYS) recommend trying on any vintage pieces you’re thinking about buying. Most vintage shops have dressing rooms, and antique stores tend to be chill about you ducking into a restroom to try items on. Fabrics now (compared to fabrics in the 60s/70s/80s/whenever) are different – sometimes there is less “give” or stretch in a vintage piece. You may also find that you need to go up a size or two beyond your normal, depending on what it is. I’ve found it helpful to wear leggings and a tee to vintage shops because I can just throw a shirt or dress over top of what I’m wearing to get a gage for the fit. I mainly stress this point because vintage items are typically final sale – so make sure you love it and will wear it before buying!

Look for items you can repurpose.

I recently bought a shift dress that I fully intend to have altered into a shirt because I know I would wear it more often that way. Try to think outside the box and imagine different ways you can wear or reconfigure an item to make it work for your personal style… and get yourself a good (and inexpensive) tailor. You might find a silk top with a gorgeous pattern, but it has a stain somewhere on it. In that case, you could always still purchase (if the price is right) and cut the top down to create a one-of-a-kind bandana or hair scarf.

An easy way to incorporate vintage accessories (like these hoops and paisley scarf) is to pair them with solid, basic items you already own. I love the color and personality they bring to this simple black dress.

Don’t forget to accessorize!

Some of my all-time favorite vintage pieces that I own are accessories that I’ve found in thrift stores and antique malls . I’d actually recommend starting with scarves, purses, jewelry, belts, etc. if you’re looking to ease into incorporating vintage into your daily wardrobe. And I don’t know about you, but I think it’s fun to add unique little elements to your outfit that you know no one else will be wearing. Accessories are a great way to showcase your personality!

These clip-on earrings were a gift from my mom when I graduated Clemson. They are so beautiful and unique – I love wearing them for more formal occasions.
You can’t go wrong with a good vintage bucket bag. Instant 70s vibes.

Buying vintage is kind to the earth.

If you’re looking to reduce your footprint, buying vintage is a great small change you can make. The amount of waste that comes from the fashion industry alone may actually shock you – I recommend checking out one of my favorite bloggers, Goldwill Digger, to learn more (she also has amazing tips for styling vintage pieces!). When you buy secondhand or vintage, you’re helping to make a more positive difference for the environment, and we can all feel good about that.

And there you have it… a few of the pro tips I’ve gathered from shopping vintage over the years. I’ll definitely share more pieces as I find them – I’m always on the hunt! Are y’all a fan of vintage? If so, what are some of your favorite finds to date? Let me know in the comments below and as always, thanks so much for following along!

Cheers,

E

2 thoughts on “My Tips for Buying Vintage Clothing

    1. Thanks, honey bee! They’re my favorite special occasion jewels. Hope y’all are doing great!

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