So often when we are shopping for vintage online we are looking for a special piece for a specific event, a mint condition addition to a collection, or the most unique and lovely item to become a beloved heirloom. Many times these extraordinary antique clothes and accessories that we buy are fragile, and are carefully stored so that they may be preserved for special occasions. They may only be worn a handful of times by their new owner. Certainly these delicate relics of another time are worthwhile to collect, and have as much value as the buyer who loves them places on them, but there is another side to collecting vintage as well!
There is a whole world of casual vintage clothing out there in great condition that you can use to add a flair to your wardrobe that modern styles just can’t compete with! Aside from our special occasion and fashion purchases, we still need comfortable summer dresses, broken in sneakers and leather jackets, and warm wooly sweaters. The older versions of these items are, while often a little worn, typically of better quality and can be found at lower prices than their modern counterparts. They’re also nearly one-of-a-kind – you won’t be caught wearing the same outfit as anyone else! But often we keep an eye out for ourselves while thrifting, only to find that the perfect 1940’s beaded cardigan is not our size and has a huge hole in the front. Shopping for vintage on Etsy can make things much easier.
Here are a few tips for buying everyday vintage on Etsy:
*Shop with fit in mind, first and foremost. It doesn’t matter what kind of incredible condition those motorcycle boots are in – if they’re a half size too small you’ll be miserable when you actually have to walk in them. That said, a clothing item that is too big can usually be taken in, and many vintage skirts and pants do have extra fabric at the hems to add length if necessary. Before buying an item that you plan to tailor, as questions of the seller about the construction in the areas you plan on altering, and talk to your tailor first if you’re in doubt. While shopping, consider that most sellers tag their items by size and you should include that in your search terms. When browsing a favorite clothing shop, we like to stick to sellers who mention the sizing in the title (you can view this while shopping in list view). This is something that we make sure to do ourselves!
*Shop around! Say you stumble upon the best winter coat – it fits your measurements perfectly, the color suits you, and the condition is pristine. However the price seems a little on the steep side… but it’s one of a kind! Shouldn’t you snap it up before someone else does? We recommend looking around first – search for similar coats made by the same designer and in the same condition, with equivalent details such as materials, cut, and era. You may find that the price is fair, particularly because of the condition, but you may also find that a 10 or 20% discount would bring it down to a more commonly listed price. Before you settle for a cheaper, but less desirable version – talk to the seller of the coat you love! As long as you are polite and understanding to the shop owner, most would be happy to take a fair discount off the cost to make the sale, and hopefully gain a repeat customer (Just don’t abuse this – haggling works best when it is fair to both parties!).
*Consider unexpected potential. Not every vintage item is going to be wearable as is. There are plenty of gorgeous pieces out there with flaws that can’t be fixed, but if you draw on a little creativity you might be able to snag a garment with character and salvage it with an alteration or an unpredictable way of wearing it – and the low cost of damaged vintage will make it worthwhile. For example: a sundress with a beautiful eyelet skirt, but a stained top. Throw a sweater over it, and pair it with leggings and boots for a stunning cold weather style. Or have a tailor cut off the top, and sew on an entirely new bodice for a vintage take on the combo dress – or even add a waistband to the top, and make it a stand alone skirt. A note, however: when contemplating buying a piece to rework, you should generally make sure that it is the most interesting part of the garment that is undamaged.
*Above all, ask questions! When shopping online you won’t have the opportunity to feel and inspect the piece before buying. Make sure you run all of your concerns by the seller before purchasing, and if you’re genuinely interested in buying, but concerned it might sell before your questions are answered, ask the seller to reserve it for you while you discuss!
Now then, you didn’t think we would tell you all about how fabulous casual vintage clothing can be without offering up a few items from our own shop, did you? Of course not! Today we have two new sweaters circa 1970’s/1980’s. Both are made by Koret’s lines – one from Koret Career (yellow), and one from Vamp by Koret (striped). Both lend themselves to modern styling quite well, and are in near perfect condition – no creative camouflage needed here!
How fun and cute would you feel running your errands in one of these?
Now, don’t forget to check your measurements, and ask us if you have any questions at all! ;)
– Lise + Katina