Have you ever noticed that every time you ever read an interview with any style icon ever (including our own with Good Housekeeping’s Nini Khatiblou) there is always the inevitable “Oh, I like to make my outfits more unique by adding a vintage piece or two” in there somewhere. It is, presumably, more or less impossible to graduate as a true fashionista without owning at least a handful of vintage items to add to your high fashion buys. Even for us mere mortals, adding a dose of vintage fashion to a wardrobe can have a wealth of style benefits – you’re never going have that awkward situation of running into someone at a party wearing the same dress, for instance, and you can add the perfect unique touch to your outfit with a vintage necklace or bag.
The other benefit of shopping vintage is price. Of course, if you’re heading into London’s finest vintage emporia and hoping for an original 1950s embellished circle skirt, you aren’t exactly going to win Scrimper of The Year, but if you’re prepared to get out and hunt a little, it’s easy to pick up unique vintage pieces really quite cheaply, especially compared to similar quality items (modern clothing is far lower quality than vintage, on the whole). The best hotspots for picking up budget vintage gear are:
- Car boot sales – you need to be prepared to trawl, but as long as you don’t mind spending an hour or so wandering round a random field fairly early on a weekend morning (all the best bargains go early), it’s probably the best place to pick up cheap clobber.
- Charity shops – even though some charity shops have wised up now and charge a little more for their vintage, you can still pick up the odd gem for far cheaper than in ‘proper’ vintage shops.
- eBay – especially if you have time to look for badly listed items (e.g searching just for ‘full skirt’ and ploughing through the ensuing results, rather than searching for ‘original 1950s circle skirt) – these never go for as much as items with titles full of keywords. Just remember to ask questions about condition and measurements, as you won’t be able to easily return items that you don’t like.
- Some vintage shops still offer bargains, especially in more out of the way places (my vintage-loving sister always makes a beeline for the vintage shops of Lincoln when we visit family there, and has also picked up bargains in deepest Devon and Scotland). If you’re going away for the weekend, hit google to see whether there are any vintage shops nearby.
The best, and worst, bit about shopping for vintage fashion after having had a colour analysis is that you can easily avoid clothes that will make you look terrible. This is good news in that your precious vintage buys will look amazing on you,and bad news in that it is, of course, trickier to find the perfect vintage garment when you eliminate 75% of the available clothes on the basis of colour. So how can you make the most of your colour analysis when shopping vintage?
- Stick to your original colour analysis ‘rules’. Be obsessive about colours next to your face, don’t panic quite so much about those below the waist as long as they tone in with your palette, hold clothes up and judge how you look, stick to your personal style etc etc.
- Use your colours to home in on clothes when shopping at vintage emporia, eBay, charity shops and boot fairs in exactly the same way you do with modern clothes. If you don’t ever pick up the wrong colours, you won’t be tempted to talk yourself into them!
- If you’ve found the perfect garment at a bargain price that you just cannot leave behind but the colours aren’t perfect, consider ways to improve it – would a statement necklace or a cardigan in one of your wow colours improve things? Does any trim need mending? Think about replacing it with colours from your palette.
- Consider repro clothes if you love vintage – a quick trawl of google for repro/retro clothing sites yields dozens of results, and you’ll be able to try more sizes and colours.
- If you’ve found the perfect garment and it’s either too tatty to wear or just too awful a colour, consider finding a tame dressmaker and getting the item copied.
- Remember that vintage collectors are as prone as everyone else to leaving clothes unworn in their closet. If you love that blouse but you just know you’re never going to wear it because leaf green makes you look like the jolly green giant, then consider leaving it for someone else to find, love and wear. Hold on to your cash and go find your own perfect item elsewhere. Just because it’s vintage doesn’t mean you’ll never find another similar item ever.
Happy shopping and enjoy adding that unique vintage touch to your wardrobe!
Visit our Kettlewell Colours Polyvore page for details of all items