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Your guide to vintage shopping

Your guide to vintage shopping

Post-pandemic, it seems like we’re shopping a little differently. And while we don’t stock vintage on our site (as of right now, anyway), we’re all for incorporating pre-loved pieces into your wardrobe. It’s better for the environment, often your bank balance, and usually results in finding some really special pieces you truly couldn’t find anywhere else. Problem is, it can be a little tricky to navigate. Enter our stylists. 

We spoke to not one but three of them (hi, Toby, Kristy, and Artemis) for their top tips on how to vintage shop like a pro. From how to find your size to the departments to pay the most attention to, this guide has everything you need to help you find some vintage gems you won't see anywhere else – except maybe in some classic ‘70s films, if you're lucky.

Don’t be afraid to shop in different departments

When vintage shopping, it’s a great idea to enter the experience with an open mind i.e. don’t just shop in the men’s department for very basic items. Our stylist Artemis loves looking through military vintage stock, for example. “The pieces here often aren’t typically expensive, are almost always excellent quality, and are made to be very hardwearing.” 

Become friends with a great tailor

Just the same as anything you’d buy on the high-street, not everything will fit perfectly. But with vintage shopping, the pieces you find will likely only come in one size. Not only is it okay to tailor something to suit your shape, but you can also really elevate a look by altering it. Artemis says, “there are some really great start-ups out there aimed at encouraging people to buy second-hand by offering easy and high quality alterations – Sojo is a great example.” 

Don’t be too specific

Kristy highlights that shopping for vintage clothes can quickly become very frustrating if you’re too specific about what you’re after. Instead, make a list of some generic ideas you’re in the market for – Levi’s 501s, white graphic t-shirt, mohair knits – that kind of thing. But also, embrace the hunt. “Touch the fabric, feel the magic, and find something you never thought you’d find,”Toby says. 

Don’t go by modern sizing 

Chances are, that pair of vintage Levi’s you’re trying on have been washed a bunch of times. So while it can be disheartening to pick up jeans you know are your size and for them to barely come past your knees, don’t take it to heart. Toby suggests sizing up at least one full size in tops and two in denim – but of course it’s very dependent.

Try everything on

With our previous point in mind, make sure to try everything on, and we mean everything. “The best part of the experience is the moment when the stars align and that sick overcoat just fits like a glove,” Toby says. Failing that, know your measurements, and know the measurements of the things you know fit you well. Online sellers are likely to have pit to pit measurements, lengths of garments etc. so it's a good idea to cross reference so you’ll know you’ll receive something just right for you. 

Do your research

Vintage shopping is truly a minefield, as we’re sure you already know. Always air on the side of caution and perhaps do a quick Google search before you commit to something with identifiable logos, symbols, or slogans on them. Most of the time you’ll find it’s a nod to a gas station, school sports teams, or something else of the sort, but on the rare occasion it’s some kind of odd cult, you’ll be glad you found out pre-purchase.

Words: Yasmine Kennedy
Illustration: Jack Snelling