Top Tips For Buying Vintage on a Budget.
Buying true vintage on a tight budget can be fun and fulfilling but also time consuming and at times disheartening. Never fear there is a few things you can do to make things a little easier. Ive spent many a hour searching for something that I just couldn't find because I was looking for that one magical item thats just impossible to find. I would be so rigid in my thoughts that I wasn't even considering a lot of wonderful garments. After many shopping trips and many disappointments I started planning my expeditions and tried to think of the bigger picture.
So heres what I do...
Narrow down the field
Have a good look at what you already have in your clothing collection and have a think about whats lacking. Maybe you'd like some more floral prints or you need a dress for a holiday. I also look at clothes I haven't worn in a while. For instance, I had some trousers I didn't wear because I had nothing to wear with them. By doing this it gives me an idea of what I'm looking for, but it isn't so specific that I end up not finding what I want.
Know your measurements
Knowing your actual measurements is key to finding well fitting vintage clothing. This saves you falling in love with something, getting home and it just doesn't fit. Remember vintage sizing labels are not true to todays sizing. I often take a tape measure with me!
Customise and alteration
Sometimes I come across a garment that has a fabulous print and I know I just won't wear it, BUT could it be transformed into something else? Maybe a dress into a top or a skirt? Or it might just need nipping in at the waist to give it a more flattering fit. If your handy with a sewing needle you will have lots of different options here. Of course you can also get clothing altered professionally. You could also customise it, add badges, patches or appliqués. I add zips to a lot of my clothing. I just have a thing about zips lol. They don't even need to be functional they can just be decorative.
Haggle and swap
Haggling and swapping is a bit of a double edge sword for me. As a customer it is definitely worth a try (I'm talking about in vintage clothing shops here, not charity shops) but as a previous vintage shop owner myself, I am used to customers trying to haggle the price down on price a lot. Truth be told, it used to work most of the time, even if it was only for a couple of pounds. If you're purchasing multiple items then it is definitely worth a try. Please bear in mind they may say no, it is how they make their living and any profit lost comes straight out of their pocket. Swapping is something I also used to do, however it needs to be like for like. You can't swap a 80s summer dress for a 40s ball gown for instance. If you have a bulk lot of vintage clothes you no longer wear the shop owner might give you a spending limit, so you maybe able to exchange ten 80s dresses and bag your self a fabulous forties dress within that price range.
Don't get carried away
Finally... Don't get carried away, stick to your plan. Believe me, this is one I struggle with, after all I went to buy my daughter a vintage prom dress and came out as the owner of the shop!!! The patterns, the colours the endless possibilities all draw me in and before I know it, I've blown my budget. So now, I only carry cash for these types of shopping trips, that way I can't over spend and I think harder about each purchase. The physical act of handing over your hard earned money seems a lot harder than just zapping a bit of plastic.
I hope you have found these few tips helpful. If you need a few pointers about measuring yourself for a shopping trip you can read my blog 'Measuring vintage clothing' Happy shopping!!!!