The Mindful Vintage Shopper : 6 Thing To Consider When Shopping Vintage


Hi chicks!

Getting to know your way around a vintage store is no easy task, believe me when I say there are all the things to know.

Vintage stores often stock products from as early as 1920s right up to present day and often things change, technology advances, silhouettes adjust.

Below are six steps for entering through the looking glass and exploring a vintage shop the right way, the end goal being to diversify a killer wardrobe and hopefully pick up a real bargain.  

  • Know your measurements

Vintage clothing that are applicable to contemporary fashion can be found in all era’s from the 1920s and in all shapes and sizes. The industry standard of sizes is constantly changing era by era due to different silhouettes and frankly, how much a country decides to eat and drink (lol).

Before vintage shopping, be sure to check your measurements so that you can easily compare to other garments.

At Area Eighteen, we always display the tag size, the size we recommend it fits as well as the important measurements needed.

This is important to ensure that when your item arrives, you know what you’re getting and the type of fit you’re expecting.

  • Look as modern as possible

And by this i don’t mean shop 90s and y2k only.

Different era’s have signature silhouettes that are out of fashion and do not fit in with todays contemporary fashion.

Gone are the days of padded 80s shoulders and by wearing them, your look becomes coustume-y rather than cool and fashion forward.

Dressing for your decade with reference to different eras in your choices is the perfect combination for doing vintage the right way

  • Be open

Every man and his dog are after rare 90s Tommy Hilfiger spellout sweaters, and we are a keen advocate for stocking them.


Tthere are so so many era’s to delve deep into when it comes to vintage shopping. whether you’re looking for authentic 70s flares or pop art inspired designs of the 60s; there are plenty of designers, silhouettes and designs to be in the know about.

We recommend doing a little research on an era you feel you may enjoy (for us it has to be the 60s) and getting to know the styles and designs potentially on offer.

This will allow you to diversify your vintage wardrobe and have people bragging about your next level collection.  

  • Check for / ask about damages

That stain that’s been there 30 years? Yeah, it’s probably not going to come out.

This step is super important to ensure you don’t end up with an unwearable garment and to ensure you are paying the right price for what you are purchasing.

Be sure to check for any holes, stains or discolouration when shopping vintage clothing; hold the garment up to the light to really see it in all its glory and weed out any potential moth damage.

Bare in these items can be up to 100 years old, so some damage is likely. A trip to the seamstress isn’t an issue for a loose hem or stitching, however a full rework is not the ideal.

Vintage comes in all shapes and sizes and sometimes, although an inspection has been carried out, vintage retailers can miss the damage on a garment. If shopping online, it never hurts to ask the brand to double check again for damages as this way you are one hundred percent sure a thorough check has been carried out and you are getting the quality you are after.

  • Check for era / Authenticity

There are many steps to this process and this can save you a hell of a lot of time (and money).

Due to the sheer range of vintage clothing, often experienced vintage retailers will miss the mark and seriously under price something. When I first started thrifting, i picked up a vintage Chloe bag for £4!

Firstly, when purchasing designers garments, always check for authenticity.

Often if you are dealing with a fake, particularly with popular brands such as Burberry, the biggest give away is the stitching. These brands are luxury brands meaning they take no prisoners when it comes to wonky stitching.
The thread count will also be identical on both sides of the label for example. Counterfeit items tend to also have a lower thread/stitch count to save on costs.

Care labels are also a key indicator for identifying the era of clothing. Care labels were not introduced until the 1960s and they varied in style from the ones today.

Anything that says made in china is post 1990, anything Made in United Kingdom is 1980s and Made in Britain is generally 60s / 70s. Sometimes vintage retailers can specify an era, so double checking these would give you some clarification on the accuracy.

The nylon zips that you see in most garments today were not popular until the late 1960s so this is a perfect way to narrow down era’s. Sewing machines of previous decades would not have the technology available to overlock, strengthen and prevent fraying so hand stitching would have been the common thing on older garments.

  • Know your materials

This is essential for knowing what kind of price point you are wanting to pay.

The best vintage pieces are often made in natural textiles such as silk, cotton, wool and linen.
Avoid man made materials such as polyester and nylon as they dont wash as well and are often more accustomed to bad smells. Getting the know how each of these materials feel is a great advantage when vintage shopping as often labels are cut out of vintage garments for various reasons.

If a 100% silk item’s label has been cut out, it may have been missed by a vintage retailer, often leaning towards a lower price point.