The Guide: shopping vintage by belle

here is my guide to shopping for vintage/vintage inspired clothes.
vintage clothing can be found in lots of places there are many online store, markets and dedicated stores that specialise in all things vintage! 
my first choice when looking for authentic vintage clothing is to do it manually, the best way to find and bargain and know that it fits is to go out a search. it can be great fun.

i'm big on agenda's and plan's so i like to know what i'm looking for before i go, do you have a certain decade or silhouette in mind? this makes it easier to select items when you are out and about, stores like beyond retro and Rokit house a selection of clothing from 1920's to 1990's so it's always good to have a jump off point.
if your new to shopping vintage go on-line and look at vintage images take note of shapes and styling, if your just looking to add a vintage piece to modern outfit it will be easier so check out blogs ect
once you know what your looking for check out your local charity shops, markets and on-line store like Ebay.

the three basic rules of shopping vintage are fit, quality, wear-abilty, and price

through the generations our shapes have changed the average woman of the 00's is not the same size as the average women from  50's or 60's ( and we definitely don't wear the same underwear). so know your sizing.
one of the biggest problem i have is the teeny tiny waists and the length, not much can be done about gaining a 6inch waist but length can always be altered. if you are funny about trying on old clothes before they are dry cleaned take your measurements and a tape measure along with you. 

check the quality of the clothes thoroughly, most stores do this already but it's great to check anyway. 
things to look for are, zip's do they zip up and down with ease? the lining, are are there any rips or tears or the dreaded sweat stains!  stains on the outer fabric or any unsavoury smells (it happens especially with leather goods). most vintage items will be of great quality thing were definitely made better back then!

it's all very well owning beautifully crafted hand stitched vintage gown that costs and arm and a leg! but are you actually going to wear it?  check the silhouette and shape of an item and that it will tie in with your modern day look or lifestyle. don't waste your time or money on things that look gorgeous but will never touch your back!
commit to the look or leave it alone.

vintage clothing is big business now! it's quite mainstream to have a vintage this or that in your wardrobe! but remember don't get ripped off! 
unless it's designer vintage (i'd sell a lung for vintage chanel) don't break the bank! the mark up on some of these vintage clothes are terrible, they get things in bulk often donated and mark the prices up more than 4 times the worth.
so be sure to get a good price, haggle and you are bound to leave with a great piece at a good price.

some other top tips

  • invest in using a good dry cleaner. some of these garmets need industrial style cleaning to get out the smell of (for want of a better word) old lady! and also theses clothes are delicate you need to handle them with care.

  • know the difference between vintage and second hand! vintage can be dated it has the aura of a specific decade second hand is just old clothes.

  • be brave, this is the perfect opportunity to try something new(excuse the pun)

  • don't ignore the high street ok so it's not vintage but most stores have something that you can work if your like to have a vintage feel to your clothes. some seasons are better than others, but somewhere amongst the liquid legging's and oversized cardigan's you will find a hidden gem.

  • learn to alter or find a good seamstress to take thing up or nip in waists! 

  • raid aunts, mothers and older sister wardrobes! then work the art of theft!