March 15, 2022
Yara Bakker

Vintage shopping for beginners: 6 useful tips

Vintage is back in fashion these days. But how do you ensure that you score the most beautiful gems? And how do you avoid a bad buy? We share our tips and tricks with you in this article.

If you would like a more sustainable wardrobe but also want to be able to go shopping every now and then, your local thrift store is the place to be. Here you will find the most unique pieces of clothing at a reasonable price.

This does, however, require some effort. The average thrift store usually looks a bit messy, unlike how the latest collection in a fast fashion chain is presented. But do not be afraid! If you follow the tips in this article there is a good chance that you will go home with your new favourite piece of clothing.

  1. Do not be tempted by the low prices
  2. Carefully check for stains and damages
  3. Take your time
  4. Consider upcycling
  5. Pay attention to the material
  6. Focus on measurements rather than sizes

Vintage shopping for beginners

1. Do not be tempted by the low prices

Just your luck: you have finally found your dream dress, but it is not the right size (or even close).

You might be tempted to take the dress home anyways, as it is just so cheap. Unfortunately, it is likely that the dress will end up in the back of your closet – never to be seen again. The same thing could happen if you purchase an item that just does not match your style.

Our advice? Always ask yourself if you would have also purchased an item if it would have been more expensive. Is this not the case? Then it is likely better to keep the money in your own pocket.

2. Carefully check for stains and damages

Even though the clothing that ends up in the thrift store usually undergoes a quality check, some stains or damages may have been overlooked. It is therefore a good idea to check every item of clothing that you consider buying carefully.

In the event of minor damage, you can try to repair it yourself. If you do not know how, you can take the item of clothing to a tailor, although the reparation might cost you more than the purchase itself.

There is a chance that you can get rid of any stains by washing the garment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. You should therefore only take such finds home with you if you like them so much that you are willing to risk losing some money.

Old shoes

3. Take your time

The average thrift store can be somewhat messy. This is not a problem if you have set aside a full afternoon to go shopping, but it can lead to some regrettable purchases if you are in a rush.

We advise you to make sure that you do not make hasty decisions by planning your visit to the thrift store well.

Moreover, you should never look for something specific: it is always a surprise what you find in a thrift store.

If you go through all the departments, you may just find your new favourite winter coat (even if you were initially looking for a prom dress!).


4. Consider upcycling

Upcycling: a trendy term with a sustainable character. Upcycling is a form of recycling where you make something new (and often even more beautiful) from old or discarded items.

Have you found a pair of jeans with a hole at the bottom that fit you perfectly? Cut them off and end up with comfortable shorts. If you are a bit handy with the sewing machine, you can even turn an old-fashioned dress into a key piece of your wardrobe!

There are plenty of examples on the internet where old clothes are transformed into a completely new outfit. In some cases, however, it is just a matter of thinking outside the box.

Are you completely in love with the colourful pattern of a scarf, but do you never wear scarves yourself? Then wear it as a top by tying it up. With up cycling, there are no rules!

Sewing clothes
Tip: Search Pinterest, Google and YouTube for upcycling tutorials to find inspiration for your next project.

5. Pay attention to the material

Some materials are more durable than others. Natural materials in particular generally last a long time.

It can also be nice to know in advance whether you can wash the garment in hot water before wearing it.

Thus, if you want to be sure that your latest second-hand purchase can last another round, always check the label (if it is still there).

In addition, you can read up on fabric properties in advance, so that you can recognize the most common materials even if the label was removed from the garment by its previous owner.

Green fabric

6. Focus on measurements rather than sizes

Sizes change over time. In addition, they also tend to differ per brand. Even if you have been wearing a size 40 for years, it is possible that a skirt in size 38 from the last century fits you perfectly.

This means that it is a good idea to try on each piece of clothing that you are interested in – even if it comes from your favourite store. This way, you avoid disappointment and you will not unnecessarily write off items of clothing that actually would have fit you like a glove.

In case you do not have the time to try everything on, we advise you to take your own measurements before going shopping. If you take measuring tape with you to the store, you will still be able to make informed decisions.

Measurement tape

TIP: Do you prefer to shop from the comfort of your home? Then take a look at online platforms such as Vinted and Marktplaats. Thousands of gems can be found here, which you can conveniently sort by size or colour. Happy shopping!