7 TIPS TO VINTAGE SHOPPING SUCCESS

Ahh vintage shopping. You either love it or you hate it. I fall at either end of the spectrum depending on the day. 

As I might have mentioned (or not shut up about...), I have just come back from the most incredible two weeks in Los Angeles (more posts coming on our trip soon) and I have honestly never experienced vintage shopping like it. It has locked me firmly on the LOVE side of the scale, but only because I stuck to these 7 little tips - resulting in the most successful vintage shopping spree I've ever had.

One sunny Sunday during our trip, my sister, Fi, took my mum and I to Melrose - home of vintage shop after vintage shop, and the famous Melrose Trading Post. We spent the day mooching around in the sunshine, exploring stall after stall of vintage heaven.

Now typically, I don't have the patience for vintage shopping. I have never been a fan of the jumble-sale-like-nature that racks of old clothing have to offer, but for the first time in ma damn life, I gave it a fair bloody go and I came away with some of the coolest pieces I have ever owned.

Amongst a lot lot more, I walked away with this INCREDIBLE Sigma Psi Gamma fraternity cardigan stitched with the name 'Mike' on one side (pictured in this post), a boy scout's t-shirt, a vintage a-line leather skirt and a super cool 70s cropped jacket.

And I love that feeling you get knowing that no one else can buy it - it's one of a kind and adds such a unique flare to your style. 

I thought I'd share the tips that I stuck to throughout our shopping trip as I walked away with some absolute gems - something that isn't always easy when vintage shopping.

BANISH IDEAS

The first rule I told myself to stick to was to block out overall ideas and pieces that I was hoping to find. It really can be luck of the draw, and if you walk into a vintage market looking for something specific, it can ruin your trip - you'll be so narrow sighted that you'll miss loads of amazing potentials which you never knew you needed!

I went in not knowing whether I wanted to pick up some cool slogan tees, vintage jeans, skirts - I hadn't a clue - but this allowed me to give everything a fair shot. I haven't worn a cardigan in years, but had I gone in with that mindset, I never would have picked up this bright blue beauty.

And I'm pretty sure, in the end, I came away with an item of clothing from each category!

FOCUS ON COLOUR, PRINTS & MATERIALS

Now that you have blocked out the fear and overall ideas, instead focus your attention on the colours, prints and materials which you know work for you, that you really love or that you would love to experiment with.

Racks after racks of old clothing can be really intimidating, but if you scan the rails for colours, prints or materials which you're attracted to, it can make it easier and quicker to find interesting pieces

As I scanned through one vintage stall at the market, I locked onto a bright green item - and when I pulled it out it was the most amazing 70s cropped jacket. I probably would have missed it if I had just gone in looking at the jacket section.

It can be quite easy to block your style vision when you're looking at less desirable vintage items which really don't suit your style, so if you scan for traits you know you love in clothing, this helps to give you an overall more positive shopping experience.

I also found some really cool 60s print blouses by searching this way.

BLOCK OUT THE FEAR

Block out the fear of the jumble sale! And make sure you give yourself plenty of time to sift through. Vintage shopping can be quite hard work, because nothing is put together in themes or suggested outfits as it would be in Topshop. Most clothing stores will plan their displays and the layout of their stock to make it easier for you to visualise how to wear it, and to choose things to pair their items with.

Vintage shopping isn't quite so easy - so make sure you go in with an open mind and give yourself plenty of time to get inspired and to visualise how pieces might work with your wardrobe.

OUTFIT DETAILS
Fraternity Cardigan - Vintage (similar here) | Embroidered Jeans - Topshop (similar here) | Body - New Look (similar here) | Shoes - River Island (similar here) | Sunglasses - Meller

 

{ College / Varsity cardigans are coming in massively and are popping up in LOADS of high street stores so keep your eyes peeled! }

THE HEART TEST

If you know you cannot walk away without it - buy it! But when in doubt, buy nowt!

I have a tendency to think I need things when I really am not that into them. I just want them so no-one else can have them - the classic.

But if it doesn't pain you to walk out of the shop without it, don't buy it for the sake of it. Otherwise you've spent money on something that's gonna clog up your wardrobe - no matter how cheap it's being sold for!

It was hurting my soul to even think about leaving this cardigan behind - and at $50, it was a bloody expensive vintage item. But I had accepted that I couldn't live life without it and protectively carried it straight up to the cashier (only to find it was 50% off - if that's not fate I don't know what is?)

TRY FOR THE HAGGLE

I'm horrific at haggling - the very thought of it makes me feel so awkward and cheeky. But most of the time, the marked prices of vintage pieces are not final and there is usually a small amount of discount the stores or stalls can offer you.

The worst they can do is say "no, you cheeky lil wanker" - slightly paraphrasing the stall owner of the cropped green jacket I fell in love with. Although disappointed I was out-haggled for $30, I managed to blag 15% off in another store even though their prices were actually marked as final!

Swings and roundabouts, ey?

TRY IT ON

Leading on from selecting items based on colours or prints that you're drawn to - sometimes the items you reach for will not instantly make you want to buy them, and it can be difficult to see past the hanger. If you're not sure, but you like something about it (e.g. the print, or the cut) - try it on!

9 times out of 10 it will look SO much better once on and once paired with something that reflects your personal style more.

The cropped green jacket I mentioned - I really wasn't sure if I was just attracted to it because of the colour or if it was actually too out-there. But when I tried it on, I knew it wasn't going to be as difficult to style as I had thought, and I knew I had to take it away with me! I can see it becoming the most perfect spring jacket to add a pop of colour to my work-wear wardrobe.

THE BACKSTORY

This is possibly the weirdest thing I've ever written on here, but it genuinely really helped me to fall in love with pieces more if I envisioned their origins and gave them their own backstory.

In my head, this cardigan was DEFO owned by some fraternity knockout called Mike (à la Zac Efron in Bad Neighbours - if that doesn't make you want to wear a college cardigan, I don't know what will). It's the classic boyfriend cardigan vibe, and I'm here for it.

But that's the beauty of vintage shopping - you have no idea where the pieces came from, but you pick up such cool items that surely they've come from someone with a style similar to yours.

Your style spirit animal is out there, and you've just added one of their pieces to your collection!

I hope this post gave you some useful tips to take vintage shopping with you the next time you brave it! 
It really is worth the time and patience to find some really cool and unique pieces to add to your collection. And who knows? You may bring back the next trend!
Stay tuned for the next instalment of my Los Angeles Adventures, and don't forget to keep up with me on Instagram
Lois x