[Fashion 101] Tips For Vintage Shopping

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By Sreya Sanyal from THREAD SG

You never know when you’re going to strike gold, which makes shopping for pre-worn items of yore so fun! Each piece carried in vintage and thrift stores is shrouded in history and mystery — we are left to wonder about the stories of the people who owned the clothes.

Here’s what to consider the next time you’re out on a shopping spree:

1. Know Thy Measurements

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In inches, in centimetres, and in metres. Trusting the sizing labels on 30-year-old clothing items will do you no good as clothing sizes have shifted massively in recent years. A vintage item may bear an “M” label, but might be XS according to modern sizing. The best way to dispel sizing doubts is to carry a measuring tape and physically measure the items in the store.

 

2. Brush Up On Your History

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Knowing your flare dresses from your 1920 flapper gowns will save you from getting ripped off. If you are unsure of the era of the clothing being advertised , a simple Google check will ensure that you don’t end up going home with what you think is a century-old gown but is actually a dress from the 90s. Familiarising yourself with various cuts and styles from the ages will help you glean the true value of the item.

 

3. Know Your Materials and Prints

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Vintage items are often constructed in fabrics of yore such as pure silk, flannel, twill and gabardine. A certain print dominated each era (polka dots during the 40s and 50s, crazy stripes during the 70s) so if you find a striped two-piece outfit being passed off as a turn-of-the-century wedding gown, know that you’re being scammed.

 

4. Have A Few Sewing Tips Up Your Sleeve

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Often, vintage outfits won’t fit perfectly-the sleeves may be too tight or the hemline slightly frayed. That’s where a stitch in time can save several nines. Instead of discarding a vintage item from your shopping basket because of minor flaws, bring them home to do some quick darning. On the flipside, if you are drawn to a rare piece of fabric with a rather unflattering shape, some alterations would drastically change the outfit.

 

5. Be Mindful Of Prices

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Valuing yesteryear clothing in modern-day currency is tricky, making vintage shopping akin to treasure hunting. You might walk away with a retro Hermes scarf at a steal, or find yourself faced with exorbitantly priced non-designer items. If the items are part of a designer collection recent enough to be documented on the internet, look up the valuations from that era.

 

Planning to go thrift-shopping soon? Let us know your thoughts!