Monday, September 17, 2012

How to shop for vintage clothing, continued...

So let's re-cap, what do we need for a successful vinage shopping trip? Take a look back at the first post I made on this topic. Ready for more? Ok, let's go...

5. Inspect carefully for marks and stains. Don’t expect perfection, as these clothes are 60+ years old now. You will pay more for ‘dead stock’ (items with the tags still on and never worn, sometimes called ‘NOS’ - new old stock). Finding a mark isn’t the end of the world, but consider if the item can be hand-washed, dry-cleaned or covered up with an accessory.

6. Check carefully for wear and tear. Think of your own wardrobe – your evening wear probably gets worn once a year for only a few hours; your daywear on the other hand may get worn and laundered multiple times in a fortnight. The only way to preserve a worn-out dress is not to wear it much, so weigh that up against how much is being asked for it.

7. Talk to your vintage seller and get to know her. Good vintage sellers will be honest with you and they care about the homes their pieces go to. If something doesn’t fit well, and alteration is not an option, they’ll usually be honest rather than just try to make a sale. And a conversation about your mutual passions and particular sartorial desires can often result in a special something being brought out from a cabinet or back room.

8. Footwear is important too. When vintage shopping you’ll need something you can walk all day in, but to really get the most out of trying on vintage styles you must have heels. Carry a pair of neutral-coloured heels with you. Black or beige will go with most outfits and give you a more accurate reading of the look you’ll achieve.

9. Price. What is vintage fashion worth, and how do you evaluate a piece? The answer is as varied as a piece’s age, rarity, source, profit-margin, uniqueness, market value – I could go on. Knowledge is your best tool, and studying the market online on sites like Etsy is a helpful indicator. Some sellers are willing to bargain, especially if you buy more than one piece. Just remember that every piece is unique. When you compare vintage items to similar high quality pieces made today, they are still exceptionally good value.

Is there anything you'd add to this list?

The Love Vintage summer vintage fair was on in Sydney last weekend, and Melbourne is coming up in October. Arm yourself with a tape measure, some high heels and an eye for a bargain, then get out there and enjoy!

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