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.
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!
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?
Read next: My Vintage Coat Collection.
*Photography by Annie Spratt via Unsplash.