How To: Vintage Shop for Clothes

One of my favorite things to do is scour through over-crowded, musty scented aisles of vintage clothing stores. There are just so many elicit elements about it that I find so fascinating; it’s a history lesson in disguise, it’s a story into the lives of individuals—I often imagine who could have worn a particular piece—and it’s also a fun way to hunt for quality, timeless pieces, at a bargain price.  Here are some things to think about while on your pursuit for that perfect vintage find:

Money talks: cash. You have more bargaining power with cash than any other form of payment. It’s also a great way to stay in control of over-spending.

Do you like it? I find that most shoppers are mislead by labels, the fact that the piece is vintage, or that it looks “important”, or that they’ve been shopping for so long that they feel they have to buy something. You have to more than like it but love it. Otherwise, you’re just collecting someone else’s trash.

Perfect isn't always perfect. Clothing on its own can only do so much to withstand the test of time. Realize that in many instances an item may need repairs or alterations. However, tailoring anything takes it from that off-the-rack look to couture at a fraction of the cost.

What makes it unique? If you ask yourself this question honesty and truly love your answer, then buy the piece. Whatever it is that you’re looking at or are holding in your hand has to speak to you. By knowing what the piece will do to enhance an outfit makes all the troubles of alterations, cleaning, and garment care all worthwhile. When I’m ever in doubt about a specific something to add to my wardrobe I think “accent” and how I can use a piece to do just that to an outfit.

Step out of your element by selecting pieces you wouldn’t normally go for. This is the chance to truly experiment with different fabrics and styles that will not only add texture but depth to your wardrobe.

Don't knock the thrifts. Thrift stores have great vintage finds and can be cheaper than consignment and antique stores. And many support a good cause—that’s major bang for your buck.    

Some vintage shops that I like:

2nd Time Around, 3772 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach

A fun treasure hunt, nice accessories and blouses.

Hope House Thrift Shop, 1800 Monticello Ave., Norfolk

Different items each time, and a great cause.

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