Fashion
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What Are the Best Tips for Buying Used Vintage Clothing?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill

When shopping for used vintage clothing, it is important to remember to check for any damage present, to consider pricing, and to try clothes on before buying. Since there is more than one reason someone may wish to buy vintage, there will also be different guidelines to follow. Those looking for a good deal in terms of price should stick with thrift stores and consignment shops. For shoppers who are looking for clothes in good condition in order to create a fun and more stylish wardrobe, vintage specialty shops are probably the way to go.

One thing to consider when buying used vintage clothing is the condition that these items are in. Since vintage generally refers to clothing between 20 and 100 years old, there is a good chance that many items will have some fading, tearing, or stretching. This is not always the case, since clothing was often made from higher quality materials than clothing today.

It's wise to try on vintage clothing before making a purchase.
It's wise to try on vintage clothing before making a purchase.

Rips or tears not found on a seam are usually not repairable. On some items, the clothing can be altered to get rid of tearing and other imperfections. For instance, a dress with rips at the bottom may be shortened and hemmed, thus getting rid of the tear. Stains can sometimes be cleaned. Fading may also be fine if the fading is even and not noticeable.

Vintage clothes can be found in thrift and consignment shops.
Vintage clothes can be found in thrift and consignment shops.

Another factor shoppers should consider when buying used vintage clothing is that sizes have changed in various periods. A size 8 in the 50’s was not necessarily the same as a size 8 during the present day or in any other time period. For this reason, it is best to try clothing on before buying when possible. For shopping online, shoppers should take their own measurements at the hips, bust, and waist and use those to find clothes in their exact sizes.

It can be time-consuming to look through racks to find the best vintage clothing.
It can be time-consuming to look through racks to find the best vintage clothing.

Price is another important factor to consider when buying used vintage clothing. Those looking for a bargain would do well to find clothes in thrift shops by digging through the racks to find good vintage items. This is time consuming and there is no guarantee that older clothing will be in good condition. It is possible to find stylish and affordable items this way, but it is much more tedious.

Check seams for weak areas that could need repair before wear.
Check seams for weak areas that could need repair before wear.

Those who are not as concerned with paying the lowest possible price should consider shopping at vintage boutiques and retailers. These stores typically specialize in vintage clothing and they often sell higher quality items that have been pre-inspected for cleanliness and condition. Prices are often higher, but they usually carry more stylish pieces.

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Discussion Comments

Ivan83

Has anyone every gotten a rash from buying used clothes? I always wash anything I buy before I wear it but I still feel weird about wearing other people's clothes.

jonrss
Shopping online can be a greatest way to find deals on used vintage clothing. The selection is much better too. There are a number of vintage retailers who only operate online.
chivebasil

It helps to have the eye of a tailor or a seamstress when you go shopping for vintage clothes. One of the biggest concerns when buying used clothes, especially old, delicate stuff, is how long it will last. You might only wear it two or three times before it starts to fall apart.

It really helps to inspect the stitching, the buttons, the areas that receive the most wear. A careful eye can usually tell how much longer the garment will last. It can help you separate the trash from the treasure.

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    • It's wise to try on vintage clothing before making a purchase.
      By: adisa
      It's wise to try on vintage clothing before making a purchase.
    • Vintage clothes can be found in thrift and consignment shops.
      By: PhotoSG
      Vintage clothes can be found in thrift and consignment shops.
    • It can be time-consuming to look through racks to find the best vintage clothing.
      By: JackF
      It can be time-consuming to look through racks to find the best vintage clothing.
    • Check seams for weak areas that could need repair before wear.
      By: Eky Chan
      Check seams for weak areas that could need repair before wear.
    • Vintage clothing might be found at a rummage sale.
      By: chantal cecchetti
      Vintage clothing might be found at a rummage sale.