How To Shop Vintage

Whether you are wealthy or broke, stylish or clueless, second hand shopping is essential to a top-notch wardrobe. When fashion is dictated by retailers and `this” seasons trends, shopping used clothing can weave a stylish and untraceable essence into your attire with some directions.

How To Shop Vintage:
Online: Prices are 40-50% less online than they are in high-end boutiques. EBay works. When using the Internet, be sure the site has a money-back guarantee, comparison-shop by pricing similar items, and look at measurements NOT sizes. Also avoid high–end items that could be knock offs. If you are going to spend hundreds or even thousands on a bag or article clothing make sure it is real by checking it out in person.

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Thrift Shops:
Here you can find second hand jeans to entire wardrobes of the recently deceased. Sometimes it can be tedious and time consuming, but when you find that incredible purse from the seventies or that perfect breezy dress, it is worth it. Seek out thrift stores and low-end vintage shops in less cosmopolitan cities, where things might be less picked over, or wealthy resort areas like Palm Beach, Florida. If it`s a buy/sell/trade store bring in your own castoffs for cash or store credit.

Vintage Boutiques and Expos:
High-end boutiques have a plum selection of items, mostly designer, with some specialising in couture or clothes from specific decades. They will be expensive, but if you have the wealth to spend you will find article after article of fabulous garments and accessories for your wardrobe. Vintage expos, which offer the same level of merchandise and bring together many dealers, occur a few times a year in certain locales. Boutiques do not encourage bartering, but an expo seller will often bargain.

Flea Markets:
Get there by 6am, if possible. Wear a tank top and a breezy skirt so you can easily try on clothes. Confirm an item`s price before putting it on because if the dealer sees that it looks good the price just went up. Also, always ask, `Is this the best price?” They most likely will lower it. For bargains, shop towards the end of the day. You will have a smaller selection, but if saving money is key, this is the time to get the best deals.

A few things to look for when Vintage Shopping:
• Big 70`s French sunglasses in bamboos, pastels, and tortoise
• 70`s Gucci bags in slouchy leather or suede
• Victorian camis with lace, ribbons and pin tucking
• 80`s Falchi Disco Bags in exotic skins
• Seafarer Jeans: U.S. Navy-issue, high waist, wide leg, dark denim
• 60`s White Jewellery: Look for chunky plastic or glass pieces with gold details
• 70`s YSL Metallic: See-through light tops and dresses shot with metallic thread
• 70`s Floral Dresses
• Pucci Scarves
• Unique brooches (Put them on your purses or over your heart when wearing a structured dress that needs a little something more.

By Vanessa Valiente, Personal Stylist & Fashion Consultant (Southern California)

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