The blinding light of the morning sun rouses you from your troubled slumber. You dare not open your eyes, least the events that transpired the previous afternoon were not a mere figment of your imagination– everything is still such a blur. Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” video inspired you to embrace your inner thrifter and you went out and bought some vintage fashion goods. You were in serious need of some “one of a kind” additions to your wardrobe. You roll over, fearing the worst. There it is, hanging on your closet door: the beige fringe suede jacket you bought at the thrift store. Somewhere between the Pocahontas movies from your childhood, the hip Navajo prints you saw online, and the exhilaration of it all, you made a mistake. Sound familiar? Let me offer some words of advice on how to shop for vintage fashion.
Doing Your Research on Vintage Fashion
Whether you plan to embark on this often-overwhelming journey in the pursuit of a unique Halloween costume, or for that perfect pair of vintage denim cut offs, you need to narrow down the objects of your desire. The benefits of thorough research will pay off when you come face to face with the seemingly never-ending racks of clothing. Consult with the usual fashion oracles: Tumblr, your favourite blogs, and even that 916 page September Vogue you’ve been meaning to sink your teeth into. You are going to want to pay attention to three things: fit, colour, and texture. Cable knit sweaters, minimalist dresses, fur, peplum tops, leather details, jewel tones, statement necklaces – anything that catches your fancy. Make a mental note of all the things you like about the look, so you can keep them in mind during the chaos that will inevitably ensue. If you’re looking for some vintage fashion inspiration, or just long to immerse yourself in a world of things passed, Retronaut is a great place to start – and if you’re ever in Toronto, Canada, you should check out what my hometown has to offer in Kensington Market or at 69 Vintage.
Alternative Sources for Vintage Fashion
Not everyone has the time to spend hours sifting through the racks of worn out t-shirts in a dingy basement – it is imperative that you consider the opportunity cost at hand. Depending on what it is you’re looking for, you may want to focus your energy in a particular niche. If you are searching for vintage fashion and reasonably priced designer duds, you should likely skip straight to the consignment store. And if you really do not have the time – or you just have a very clear idea of exactly what it is you’re looking for– it is wise to peruse the world of eBay. It’s a great way to get the adrenaline rush you get shopping for vintage fashion items, in the comfort of your own home. That being said, though a vintage Chanel 2.55 may be worth the shipping costs and the bidding-induced stress, you are better off searching for more modest purchases at your local second hand store.
Finding the Right Vintage Fashion Fit
Be mindful of the fact that not everything is going to look quite as good on you as it does on Kate Moss. I highly recommend trying everything on, time permitting. And if the size is right, but the fit is off, there is hope. Vintage fashion shopping is an amusing way to add unique pieces to your wardrobe; however, it is not uncommon for them to need a little face-lift. If you love the piece and know it can be tailored, it will surely be a worthy investment.
Food for Thought on Vintage Fashion
Globalization has brought an end to the era where getting your hands on the latest trends meant booking a trip to Paris. If you are planning to shop on your next trip abroad, skip the Zara trap of the main strips, and opt instead for a more stimulating adventure through the local stomping grounds. In the past year, my travels brought into my life a pair of never-worn Louboutins for €200 in Paris, and a pair of pony hair leopard-print Jimmy Choo sling backs for $150 in Boston. Whether you’re travelling or in your own hometown, don’t be afraid to explore and even ask around. As they say, “Fashions fade, but style is forever,” so you should definitely give vintage fashion shopping a shot.