TOP TEN TIPS TO BUYING VINTAGE
Want to buy vintage fashion, jewellery and accessories but don’t know where to begin? Lynnette Peck, co-founder of Feeling Flush and owner of Lovely’s Vintage Emporium (http://www.lovelysvintageemporium.com) shares her tips, on how to buy vintage fashion the smart way.
*Plus, she is offering 15% OFF until April 23rd, 2018 just for Feeling Flush readers. Use the discount code FEELINGFLUSH on www.lovelysvintageemporium.com
1. WHERE TO SHOP VINTAGE
They say that charity begins at home, so ask your family if they have any pieces dating from the 1920s to the 1990s that are hiding in their wardrobe or loft.
Your next and best port of call are reputable dealers who sell vintage both online and in physical shops. Do not be afraid to ask them lots of questions, as they are the experts. Ask me!
You can also go hunting at online auctions sites, markets and car boot sales but the pieces may not be genuine.
Charity shops are no longer a treasure trove and prices now are often higher than professional dealers. But always worth a look and your money goes to a good cause.
2. HOW TO BUY VINTAGE: ONLINE
Buying vintage online is so easy as you can look at midday or midnight.
Choose a website run by an expert (read the ‘about us’ section) and ensure each item has full measurements, clear photography from all angles and a simple returns policy.
Above: Lovely's Vintage Emporium 1960s dress
Photographer: Caroline Leeming
3. HOW TO BUY VINTAGE: SHOPS
Visit your local vintage shops regularly and get to know the staff and owners. You will find out when they have ‘drops’ i.e. when new/old stock gets put out.
Then get there early in the morning, as the majority of people will be at work, so you can nab the choice pieces.
4. KNOW YOUR VINTAGE LABELS
Find a decade that you love (mine is the 1970s as I find their dresses fit my size 16 body…plus I love a pendant necklace and a floppy hat) and then research the fashion brands that dominated that decade. Spend time learning about key labels from that era.
I also recommend looking at The Vintage Fashion Guild website as it is full of useful information.
5. UPCYCLE YOUR VINTAGE
I hate it when fabulous quality vintage clothing by key designers is altered. They can never be original again BUT there are exceptions – the world of vintage fashion is still full of Polyester dress and skirts so if you see a cheap one that isn’t quite a good fit then alter it yourself or find a seamstress who can.
6. CHECK THE CONDITION
If shopping in the real world for vintage (does anyone do that still?) rather than online then lift fabric up to the light. Turn the item inside out and have a look. Check out hems and buttons. Just make sure the condition is worth the price and that the piece is wearable.
7. SIZE REALLY DOES MATTER
The sizing labels on vintage pieces rarely match current sizes as the clothing industry and fashion trends mean they change all the time. Trying pieces on or checking your measurements against the piece are the only way to ensure it is your size.
As a general rule of thumb go down two sizes from what the label says, for a modern fit. So, a vintage UK 14 is more a modern UK 10. Sorry…but most sellers will have done the work for you. On my website I state what the modern size would be.
8) WORK WITH YOUR SHAPE
OK, this is tricky. I don’t wish to make rules about wearing vintage but there is some truth to the adage that different decades suit different body shapes.
Dresses from the 1950s look good on curvy bodies and 1920s dresses on more boyish figures. Floaty 1970s pieces tend to suit everyone. But OBVS wear what you want.
9) WEAR WHAT YOU BUY
Choose vintage clothes that are strong enough to be worn regularly and avoid fragile pieces that look as if they belong in a museum, as you will soon damage them.
A smart idea is to wear a washable extra layer such as a slip underneath to protect your outer vintage. Store on padded hangers or fold in acid-free tissue paper in a cool, dry place. DO NOT let your dog, cigarette smoke or cooking fumes anywhere near your vintage…please
10) FABULOUS FABRICS
Look for quality fabrics that will stand the test of time such as cotton, wool, linen and silk. Man-made fibres such as Rayon should not be discounted either as they were cutting-edge at the time and do hold their colour and wash well.
THE BEST VINTAGE READS
*Decades: A Century of Fashion, Cameron Silver
*Vintage: Art of Dressing Up, Tracy Tolkien
*Vintage Fashion: Collecting and Wearing Designer Classics 1900-1990, Zandra Rhodes & Emma Baxter Wright
*Vintage Fashion Sourcebook, Cleo & Mark Butterfield
Above: Lynnette wearing a Lovely's Vintage Emporium 1970s Jean Varon dress Photographer: Fiona Hayes
Lovely’s Vintage Emporium clients include US rap star Nicki Minaj and TV presenters Dawn Porter and Holly Willoughby. Lovely’s Vintage Emporium was voted the UK’s Best Online Vintage Fashion & Accessories Shop at The National Vintage Awards. www.lovelysvintageemporium.com