When shopping for vintage clothes, you need to know where to look, when to look and what to look for. Here’s the Shoplinkz guide to finding the best quality vintage clothes for the best prices.
Where to look
Dedicated vintage stores are the obvious choice when it comes to vintage shopping but there are some other stores you can visit for amazing vintage finds. Try charity shops and good will stores to begin with, you might have to do a lot more rummaging but this is where you’ll find the bargains.
Vintage shopping online
If you can’t get to a vintage store or have had no luck with the thrift stores in your area, you can buy vintage piece online. Obviously it’s much harder to verify the quality of these items but if you buy from a reputable seller, the items should be handpicked and genuine vintage. Take a look at the ASOS Marketplace, Nasty Gal and The Rusty Zipper. There’s also eBay but when buying from individuals make sure you look closely at any pictures and ask the necessary questions to determine quality and era.
How to determine quality
With the thrifting trip approaching and little knowledge of what I should be looking for I thought I’d do some research into spotting the good items. I could go into any thrift store and look for pieces whether they be vintage or not but I don’t want to find myself buying crap not matter how much I like it. So, pay attention this this blog post, I’ll try and organise my research into bitesize bits what are easy to read but no promised.
- On hems the more stitches per inch the better.
- Stitching should lie flat, not rucking, twisting or folding.
- Stitching should be invisible unless on garments where there is stitching for decoration (i.e. jeans.)
- There should be no loose threads and all seams should be neat
- Designer work is often hand finished.
- There should be a generous fabric (a good amount is 3/4 inch+) allowance on all hems/seams. This means they are less likely to come undone.
- No rough edges
- Should lie flat
- Always sewn straight and then finished to prevent unraveling
- Quality buttons
- On coats, sturdy buttons that have been sewn on by hand and are backed by another, smaller button
- Button Holes should be finished off cleanly with no threads hanging
- Bound buttonholes or keyhole buttonholes rather than straight buttonholes
- Sturdy materials such a metal or mother of pearl.
The more the merrier. In trousers, linings to the knee, in skirts linings at least to the back. In coats and jackets, full linings including silky sleeve linings. Extra linings for coats and jackets to extend the season of the garment.
- Hold them up to the light and put your hand behind it – you shouldn’t be able to see your hand through a thick, quality cashmere
- Stay tape should line the shoulders of a cashmere sweater (or any other stretchy fabric) this stops the garment stretching in the wrong places like the shoulders
- Garments with a high thread count are best, they will feel really light to touch and will move through your hands like silk
- Patterns should match all over the garment
- Fabric should have been cut / sewn on the grain
- It shouldn’t look or feel cheap
- If it is coarse in feel then it’s probably not designer
If you need more advice on buying vintage, take a look at Retro Chick’s post on shopping in charity shops.