A true phenomenon, vintage is more than ever in the mood of time. For several years now, vintage shops around the world have taken their toll on shopaholics. Discounted clothes straight from the 60’s or 80’s, have now become something ordinary.
But what are the rules when it comes to buying vintage clothes and accessories? Sylvie Chateigner, the CEO and owner of vintage shop Thanx God I’m a V.I.P shares her 5 rules for buying vintage the smart way.
Be acquainted with textiles and material
Cotton, silk, leather, suede… Beware to always check the labels and thoroughly feel the materials before purchasing something. And do not hesitate to ask a vendor if you have a doubt. Each thrift store has its own price range and quality standards, which is why it is important to know the quality of the clothes to avoid getting ripped off and end up buying a 300€ polyester shirt when you thought it was made of silk.
Opt for classics
If this is the first time you buy something at a vintage shop, and if you get lost in the 80’s sweaters or long hippie dresses, just remember one thing: go for the classics. You can’t make a mistake. For instance, you can easily find a nice leather jacket or a trench, both of which are timeless clothes that won’t disappoint.
So here you are, all excited by the idea of shopping at a thrift store: you buzz around, take anything that falls into your hands, comforted by the idea that thrift stores are made for people on a budget. But once you’re checking out, you discover that the price is not as friendly as expected.
Second hand does not necessarily mean cheap. Particularly since vintage has become really trendy nowadays. So, in order to avoid the mistakes made by many beginners, just buzz around other vintage stores to compare prices, before you settle for the right place.
Remember that you can always find happiness elsewhere. It is recommended to keep a list of 5 to 10 vintage stores, each one of which has its own appeal (quality items, vintage fashion brands, low price, friendly staff…). And if you find THE ONE that has all of the above, stick to it. It’s a rare place.
Don’t skip the fitting room
You have a crush on this velvet pants, but you do not have the patience or time to wait until the only fitting room is free. And you head straight to checkout. Big mistake.
Since most garments have been worn several times, size does not really correspond to that indicated on the label. And since most thrift stores do not have a return policy, you’d better be sure that what you’re buying, will fit you. So be a little patient and if there is no fitting room in the store, do not hesitate to try the garment directly on yourself – no need to undress though. You probably won’t be the only one doing this, anyway.
Become an expert
One last (but not least) piece of advice: visit thrift stores on a regular basis. By doing so, you will build and strengthen your knowledge of vintage and spot which thrift stores operate with replenished inventory vs stores which always serve the same stuff (generally at a hefty price…).
If you build on this habit, you will quickly stop following the flock of sheep who do not know where to look at and what to find when shopping at a thrift store, and you will instead become a true expert with a keen eye able to spot the most interesting garments.