Your Guide to Vintage Fashion Shopping

Over the years vintage fashion has become a key part of my wardrobe. Particularly when it comes to outerwear (I’m a sucker for a vintage coat). And in the more recent months a lot of us have been choosing to shop secondhand as a way to be more sustainable with our fashion.

I’ve always found vintage shopping to be a great way to find unique pieces that you could never discover on the high street. And more often than not vintage fashion is cheaper, and also a lot higher quality, than its high street equivalent. Take my vintage green leather coat for example. £20 in the charity shop, and anything similar to it on the high street is £120+, mad!

Vintage shopping is something that I try to do frequently, especially as I live in a large city. But after moving away for university for three years, before graduating and coming home last summer, I’ve found myself having to rediscover all the best vintage shops here in Liverpool.

After shopping vintage fashion for years, I’ve picked up a bit of knowledge about what things to look out for. So I thought I’d give you some tips on how to, and what to look for when you vintage shop. Whether you look in your local vintage stores or at pop-up markets, you can always find an interesting piece or two to amp up your wardrobe for the new season.

Vintage hat shop with hats scattered all around the room.

Jackets and coats

Vintage shops are the absolute best place to find crazy beautiful jackets and coats – I have so many vintage coats from velvet blazers to 70s original suede coats. You really won’t be able to find better outerwear anywhere other than in a vintage shop. Where better to get a 70s inspired jacket than an actual original piece of 70s clothing straight out of a vintage store?

Something that I will never understand is paying more money to get a 60s style overcoat when you could go to a vintage shop and buy a genuine 60s overcoat for a fraction of the price. Before you shell out huge amounts of money on an autumn style staple, think about going vintage!

Made in the UK

There’s always a variation in quality between different high street store’s clothing. And vintage clothing stores are no exception. It’s completely true that certain items of clothing are made more successfully in different countries depending on the style. For example, the UK makes great outerwear. But we aren’t as great at lightweight clothing because we never need it.

So whenever I buy anything vintage that is in its original state (e.g. hasn’t been remade/reworked) I always check to see where it was made. Especially when it comes to leather jackets or suede dresses. If the label says Made in the UK, you know for sure that it’s an original, great quality piece of clothing. What is important to remember is if its lasted that long already imagine how long it’ll last once you snap it up for your wardrobe!

Vintage navy collared dress hanging up next to a rounded trilby style hat.

Stay Open Minded

Something that’s really important to keep in mind when you’re shopping vintage is that you never know what you’re looking for. Ever found yourself going out to buy something specific like a simple black dress and finding it near impossible to do that because you’re searching too hard? It’s the same in vintage shops. The best way to shop in them is to enter not knowing what you’re looking for. You never know what you’ll end up coming out with. But isn’t that part of the excitement of shopping for vintage fashion?

Know your sizing

When it comes to vintage fashion, a lot of clothing has a smaller fit than the size that is indicated on the item. For example, a UK size 12 vintage jacket is usually closer to a UK size 8 in today’s sizing. A lot of my secondhand clothing is sized much larger than my actual size, but fits me perfectly. So make sure to keep this in mind when you’re browsing.

Never Buy Smaller

Speaking of sizing, never buy a vintage piece that is slightly too small for you. It’s likely that if it doesn’t fit in the shop it isn’t going to fit in a few weeks either. The best piece of advice I could give you is to actually buy a bigger size. If the piece is slightly over-sized you can make it fit by wearing layers underneath. If not, there are plenty of ways to get it altered to fit your shape for a fairly small fee.

Do you have your own favourite shop for finding vintage pieces? What are some of your tips for finding great second hand clothes? Do you also shop second hand for furniture?

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Female Original

Read next: My Vintage Coat Collection.

*Photography by Annie Spratt via Unsplash.

14 Comments

  1. kekoaskorner
    October 1, 2017

    Since I watched GirlBoss I’d love to do some vintage shopping that’s why this post caught my eye. I don’t think there is a lot out there in my city but I will Deffo head to brick Lane next time I’m in london?????

    Reply
    1. femaleoriginal
      October 1, 2017

      I haven’t seen that but wanted to watch it! Definitely check it out the next time you’re in London on a Sunday? xx

      Reply
      1. kekoaskorner
        October 1, 2017

        Oh yes do it! I adore that show ? I Deffo will! I’ll let you know how it was 😀 xx

        Reply
  2. cerealstyle
    October 5, 2017

    Girl this is gold! Wish I lived in the UK!
    Loved all your trips thanks for sharing X
    I’ve done a similar post on snagging bargains at thrift stores X

    https://www.cerealstyle.com/?p=183

    Reply
    1. femaleoriginal
      October 6, 2017

      Aw so glad you liked it! I’m gonna check yours out now xx

      Reply
  3. Katey
    October 7, 2017

    I love to vintage shop!! These are all very good tips. I have quite a few vintage clothes to sell, so I might start my own (online) store. 😀
    Femenish

    Reply
    1. femaleoriginal
      October 7, 2017

      Oooh cool! Glad you liked my post! Xx

      Reply
  4. itsloulouc
    October 15, 2017

    Love these tips! And I need to do more vintage shopping, my nan used to take me all the time when I was younger, and then I just stopped! X

    Reply
    1. femaleoriginal
      October 15, 2017

      Aw thank you! So glad you liked the post 🙂 I need to get back into it as well xx

      Reply
  5. Nele
    October 17, 2017

    Such a great article! I love vintage shopping and especially in Manchester there’s so many cute vintage shops to go into! I always get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in these shops though… Usually I only find something good when I’m prepared to go through all the racks haha!

    xxx Nele | http://www.thenavigatio.com

    Reply
    1. femaleoriginal
      October 17, 2017

      Aw thank you! I definitely agree with you there – it can be super overwhelming trying to find great pieces. I’ve never been vintage shopping in Manchester before, only in my home city (Liverpool) and London xx

      Reply
  6. jennv
    October 23, 2017

    Great post, definitely makes me want to try out vintage shops !! I just wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award !! Check out my post && learn more on how you can pay it forward to other bloggers ?

    Reply
    1. femaleoriginal
      October 23, 2017

      You should definitely give it a go! I’ve literally just found the best coat ever in my latest vintage shopping trip ?
      Aw thank you so much! Xx

      Reply
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