Thursday 21 April 2016

How To Shop Vintage / A Bloggers Guide

The incredible thing about Fashion is that you can be whoever you want to be.  I might start the week emulating one of the ultimately 'cool girls' of Vancouver in some relaxed vintage dungarees and a crisp white tee.  Come Wednesday I'll step out in a Coachella worthy cheesecloth dress and sand coloured suede boots by Isabel Marant.  Friday might be a day when my styling is a little 'lost in Paris' with a floaty Zadig et Voltaire skirt, Breton tee and mens black blazer.  Fashion can make you feel strong and in control or nostalgic and whimsical.  

I like to mix up my wardrobe the way I mix up my music collection.  A little bit of everything.  I shop classic forever pieces from my favourite designers including Leather Jackets by Dolce & Gabbana, Bags by Burberry and Denim by Acne.  These pieces never go out of Fashion and if they did I wouldn't care.  I also shop designer pieces if there is something I fall head-over-heels for.  I know my style and am happy to invest in these.  The most recent addition to this are a pair of Gucci Loafers.  

In to the wardrobe mix I throw a little High St.  I'm a huge fan of & other stories, Zara, Cos and Topshop.  If I love a trend or colour but its not very me I prefer to buy in to it with affordable pieces.  That way if I'm not a fan a few months down the line it's not the end of the world.  I purchased a stunning pair of long silver earrings from & other stories and have my eye on a print midi skirt at Topshop.  

However at my core I'm a bargain hunter.  I will never forget my first faux-fur coat aged 15 purchased for me by my mother in a local Charity Store.  I still have and love it to this day.  I spent my 6th form in a £1 grey duffel coat that I wore with my glossy navy Dr Martins.  I lost sleep over the sacks of hand-me-downs from parents friends children when a trip to the only H&M came only in summer holidays.  As a 16 year old I pulled out a pair of skinny Joseph jeans from a particularly great haul when I only knew about flares.  From that day I was a convert to both skinnies and Joseph!  

I shop vintage everywhere from Paris flee markets to pretty boutiques to huge warehouses to Charity Stores.  Sometimes its like finding a needle in a haystack.  So over my years of hunting I have picked up a few rules that I am now going to pass on to you.  Enjoy.

Go in with an open mind but a direction on style

Depending on where you are shopping this can apply more or less.  If you're in a 'Vintage Store' or Boutique then you can go in looking for a pair of Levi 501s.  If however you are in a Salvation Army store filled with everything from cheap flip-flops to Primark dresses you need to have your hunting eyes on.  Don't go in with just one item in mind, look for interesting pieces.  I may go in looking for floaty or slip dresses to pair with a smart black blazer and chunky boots.  It's always good to reference your favourite bloggers, celebrities or designers and think 'how would they style this?' 

Rummage, Rummage, Rummage

This you get quick at.  To begin with look at every piece and picture it hanging on its own in a boutique.  You learn to rule out items fast.  Rails of faded vests can be ignored but have a look through the faded tees for any gems to style with a bright midi skirt.  Whizz through the coats for 60s pop colours or classic trenches.  Search the blouses for soft white silk shirts with pretty lace detailing to wear with a leather mini.  I usually avoid the knitwear as it doesn't keep its shape and the shoes as I like something more modern.  

If its damaged give it up

A missing button of frayed hem is easily sorted but an old stain or moth hole can never be fixed.  However great the piece give it a miss.

Ignore sizes

I don't even look at the sizes for two reasons. One, sizes are completely different to what they were 20 years ago.  Two, you may not want that item to fit how it was designed to.  You may style a jumpsuit loose and oversized or a blazer cropped and fitted.  

If something grabs your attention pull it out for a closer look

A pop of colour, a luxe fabric, if you like something about it take it off the rail and visualise it on its own.

Try it on

Always, always try it on.  The older items fit completely differently to modern pieces and you may try it on and love it or look ridiculous.  If it is a great find but doesn't fit properly look at if it could be altered to fit.  I do hems and sleeves myself and have had beautiful pieces taken in for very little cost to go on and adore them forever.

Don't forget the mens section

Long blazers, straight leg jeans, vintage band tees.  The mens section can be a winner.

Don't get disheartened

Sometimes I search 20 stores and find nothing.  Sometimes I'll pop to one and get a stash.  Don't give up and NEVER get something because you haven't found anything better.  


I wear one piece of vintage with modern or designer items to give them a fresh luxe feel.  I'll wear a thrifted floaty maxi dress with sharp Ralph Lauren boots or a 60s swing coat over a clean slip dress.  If you style too much vintage together you can look a little fancy dress.

Why bother

Styling is about having fun and experimenting.  I love the challenge and I love that at the end of it you have something special and unique. 


Jumpsuit - vintage, go find your own 

Pumps - Office

Shades - & other stories

Blazer - Zara


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