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Tips on buying vintage

Last week I looked in my wardrobe and realised that most of my clothes are vintage or from charity (thrift) shops. It has not stopped at clothing my house is brimming with vintage items. I have time to fill my home and wardrobe with so many vintage items. Some fear buying vintage online or buying vintage at all, not I. Hopefully after reading my tips on buying vintage all your fears will subside and your house will be full of vintage too.
  • Know your size. This may sound obvious but knowing that you take a size 12 will just not when it comes to vintage. Vintage sizes are not always the same they can run smaller or larger, there was less standardisation back then. The other matter to consider is that you may not know what country your vintage item is from and sizes differ. A size 8 in America is a 12 in the UK. Measure yourself well, bust, waist, and hips in centimetres and inches.
  • Learn to sew. You do not have to become an expert seamstress just a few tips and skills to help you on your way. There is no point in missing out on a great item because it needs a new zip or buttons. A dress might be really pretty but an unflattering length, a simple re hemming and you have a new cute dress. Keep your eyes peeled here for sewing tutorials and videos. 
  • Buying vintage clothes online. This does not have to be scary. If you have followed the earlier rule of knowing your measurements shopping online should not be a problem. All good online sellers will provide the measurements, these are usually taken flat so you simply have to double them. If you see an item that has not provided those measurements and you have fallen in love with it you can email the seller an ask for that information.
  • Choose your projects wisely. Learning to sew in one thing, Turning a dress into a skirt, fitting a new zip, removing sleeves, these are all perfectly doable projects however you need to know if you will get round to it. There is no point in buying endless vintage items that you will never get round to fixing or are a little beyond your skill set. If this is this case take it to a professional to alter or leave it for someone else. I would love to have time for every project but realistically I don’t!
  • Think about materials used. Yes vintage is great but there are safety issues to keep and eye out for. For example lead paint, some vintage items may be painted with lead paint. We have very different safety standards now than years ago. If you are buying vintage toys look out for small parts that could fall off and be swallowed. I have vintage curtains and cushions made from vintage curtains. They are not flame retardant, that was just not something that happened. I have not treated my fabrics but I would suggest if you are putting things in a nursery you treat your fabric, you can buy this online.
  • Be prepared to think on your feet. When you are buying from a large store you can say to yourself that you need a black dress or three orange cushions or an a line skirt. When you are shopping vintage you need to get that out of your mind. I have been to vintage markets on the hunt for a dress and come away heaps of  home wares. Keep your mind open you never know what you will find. Collections don’t happen overnight they take time and patience. You may be able to re purpose items. Pretty kitchen storage tins that you pick up for a song because they lost their lids can be used a vintage vases. 
  • Carry your tools. Remember the earlier rule about knowing your size well if you are out and about at a market without a changing room having a tape measure with you will be an invaluable tool. The same goes for furniture. Have a notebook or make a memo on your phone of the measurements of key areas in your home. It would be awful to find the perfect piece and find it does not fit into your home or through your front door!
  • Check your garment. You can rescue lots of things but not everything is salvageable. Check the armpits of vintage items they can become damaged and stained. Hold things up to the light. washing and wearing damages fabric overtime this can happen more in certain areas such as bottoms, knees and elbows.
There you go you are all set to buy vintage. Happy shopping!
Take Care
Nicolette xo

March 12, 2013