8 Tips for Successful Vintage Shopping | Sustainable Fashion


Hi everyone, it’s Emily!

In an age where sustainability is taking over fast fashion, thrifting for vintage clothes is a genius option.  Not only does shopping vintage help the environment, but it also helps build a more unique personal style.

I am so inspired by nostalgia and vintage clothing. When designing for my own brand, I love to pull inspiration from details of previous decades from the 20s to the 60s. The vintage silhouettes and style is a huge part of my brand, Emily Westenberger. I love to design, but I also love to window shop. In this video, I’m going to cover 8 tips for vintage shopping.

So let’s get started!

vintage shopping - fashion blog

1. Know the Best Vintage Stores Near You

This can be as simple as googling "thrift or vintage stores near me" and making a list. I like to look at Instagram as well, so you can get an idea of what sort of designers and merchandise they carry. 

I would be weary of online reviews for vintage shops because thrifting is such a hit or miss. You really need to see for yourself. If you see something really consistent and you are definitely turned off by then maybe relying on the review is a good option. 

Thrifting in affluent areas is also a great way to find higher quality vintage pieces. 

2. Check for Garment Quality

Whether you are looking just for style or looking for higher end designers, it is a must to feel the fabric, check for any damage, and make sure the closure still works. Even for the oldest or most expensive merchandise, this is a must. Also if you check the tag, and it says “Made in America”, the garment is likely vintage. 

Checking the tag for fabric composition can also tell you if you are getting ripped off or not, but you have to know fibers to determine this! If you are familiar with feeling fabric for quality that helps, too.

It also helps to know vintage designers!

3. Don’t Rush and Know When Stores Get New Merchandise 

Finding valuable vintage items takes time. You probably won’t find something ultra valuable at first. It will probably take trying a few new shops over the course of time. 

You can also take note of when your favorite stores get new shipments or items out on the sales floor. 

4. Try it On and Know Your Measurements

Vintage and thrifted pieces have been worn and loved and shrunk.  Vintage item sizing tends to be a bit different than modern sizing, so the tag may say size 8 but it will actually fit closer to a modern size 4. Don’t rely on the tag, and shop ready to get dressed!

You could also know your measurements and measure the clothing with a tape while shopping. Don’t forget that clothes can be altered as well, but don’t overestimate what they can do. There is only so much fabric they can let out. Of course, it also helps to learn how to sew and fit garments yourself :)

5. Stains are a no-no

Unless you are planning to re-construct an article of vintage clothing, I wouldn't buy it if it has a stain on it. If something is old with a stain, it likely won’t come out. Odors on the other hand can often be removed at the dry cleaners. 

6. Note How the Store is Organized

I like to strategize where to look in a vintage shop. Are the garments organized by color or style? Mens or Womens? Shopping vintage mens can be fun, especially since oversized details are trending!

7. Shop with Cash

Depending on the location, some thrift stores don’t take credit cards. Paying in cash can allow you to bargain a bit, too!

8. Make Sure What You Pick Truly Speaks to You!

You can truly only pull off vintage clothing if it’s something that you really love and aligns with your personal style. You could say this about modern or vintage clothing, but it especially applies to vintage because bringing back old trends and garments takes personality and if you’re faking it or trying to be someone you aren’t, it will show!

Comment below if you’d like me to do more videos on vintage clothing. Subscribe to my channel and click the bell to get notified when I upload new videos every Friday. Thanks for watching and have a great day!

Watch the full YouTube video here:



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