How to make vintage clothes work for right now

vintage clothes

The cool thing about fashion is that although it's always changing, more often than not it swings back to the past. All you have to do is hop into a high street store RN to see that the 90s is having a moment, from the swathes of leopard print, bum bags and square neck dresses. (Posh Spice, eat your heart out.) 

As an OG 90s kid, I grew out of my 90s threads unfortunately but as an adult, I find myself gravitating towards those styles when I'm in thrift or vintage stores. And now, my chickens have come to roost because old school sportswear and mini skirts are back, baby. Funnily enough though, both my top and skirt are vintage finds I scored a few years ago that just happen to work for the season.

Here's a few tips on scoring your own vintage finds...

vintage clothes

How to find the best vintage clothes

Hold out.

I'm a relatively patient person and well, you're going to need buckets of patience if you want to find the best bargains. While in London, we have a lot of vintage stores (some like Rokit are even chains) where everything is painstakingly laid out - these tend to be the places where they actually know how to value their vintage/thrift finds. It's at the places where things are chucked around haphazardly where you're likely to find a real gem, but that requires some digging...

Go beyond the most popular shops.

Beyond dedicated vintage shops - flea markets, charity shops and secondhand shops are all prime targets for vintage hunters. Brick Lane, Portobello Market and Greenwich all unfurl into fun marketplaces on the weekends with little stalls touting everything from massive blonde fur coats through to clip on earrings dating back to the 70s. There's also this cool trend of pop up vintage events, where entire warehouses are transformed into shopping paradises where you pay by the kilo as opposed to per piece - keep an eye out for those. 

vintage clothes

Have a system.

At a vintage store: I strategically go to the racks that look like they've been forgotten most, like the ones in the back or downstairs if there's a couple of floors to the shop, since that's usually where the lost masterpieces hide. (I found a coat in a mouldy basement in Paris that was marked down from £150 to £30. Go figure.) Sometimes you can even negotiate the price down, if it's an independent seller.

With charity shops, there's no real science to it as everything kind of just gets chucked on a rail haphazardly. I'd say to bring a phone full of music, headphones and to get ready to painstakingly comb through everything. While it's more work than a nicely laid out vintage store, you're more likely to come across a surprise designer find valued at hundreds of pounds going for a casual £20.

Know what's trending before you shoot out.

Type the words 'spring summer trends 2018' into google and I guarantee you'll be hit with hundreds of listicles, ready to scream what this season's trends are. Most of the time, there's going to be at least one throwback trend dominating the season - whether that's 2016's power shoulders or this year's puffy Princess Diana sleeves - and you may just stumble across it on your vintage expedition. Sure, you might be able to scoop the trend up at Primark for next to nothing but everybody else will probably have it...

Experiment.

I think it was only really when I started to play with thrifted/vintage pieces that my sense of style really evolved. If you see something that speaks to you but you're feeling a little apprehensive about it, try it on before you buy it and style with other pieces in the store close to what you already have in your closet. When it comes to pieces with old school tailoring, you don't really know what it'll look like once you slip it on and that's the easiest way to find out. I'm a big advocate for playing dress up and I'll definitely be doing it for the rest of my  life. 

vintage clothes

Advice from Other Bloggers

Always try stuff on! Yes it may look like it fits but you never know. Sizes from years ago were much bigger than todays. So I am a 12 normally but I have some vintage clothes that are an 8. Also if you like something, grab it, it won’t be there for long trust me.
Don’t be afraid to do a little digging around the shop, the workers are used to it (so no need to be be embarrassed) and you could find some amazing gems!

- Madiha of MeVStheOdds.com

Just because an item is the best thing you’ve found that day, does not mean it’s the best thing for you to buy that day. Wait until you find that iconic item you know for sure you can style and will actually wear.
Something that you don’t think will suit you might actually look amazing once you try it on! Don’t discount it.
vintage clothes

Vintage stores in London

Shoreditch
Rokit Vintage, Beyond Retro, Absolute Vintage, Hunky Dory Vintage

Crouch End (charity shops)
Marie Curie, Cancer Research UK, Oxfam, North London Hospice (support your local charity shops!)

Markets
Brick Lane, Portobello Road, Greenwich markets, Columbia Road Flower Market

vintage clothes

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