Our vintage style series has finally returned! Now that Dottie has outlined the many excellent reasons cyclists are drawn to vintage style, it’s my turn to share some tips on secondhand shopping. Since I can’t bring you all to my favorite places to shop vintage– America’s Thrift Store in Pell City, my grandmother’s closet (like other bloggers, a place I’ve had great luck with), the local shop Pre- to Post-Modern,–I’ll focus on shopping somewhere I know you all can visit: the Internet.
I love browsing through carefully curated vintage shops for style ideas, but when it comes to opening my wallet, the item must be a bargain (hey, it is used after all!). When shopping secondhand, I prefer items that are either timeless, or play off of current trends without being too costume-y. Things, in other words, that don’t necessarily scream “vintage” and can be mixed with modern pieces to add a unique touch.
In addition to being less expensive than new items, secondhand clothing is often higher quality. This late 1970s Dolman sweater looks brand new and always gets compliments (thanks April!). And I swear I saw someone wearing a similar one on an episode of “Freaks & Geeks.”
One of my favorite vintage items are these 1980s navy slouch/pirate boots made in Brazil, scored on eBay last fall. They’re a very basic style, but at $14 cost far less than a new pair. Urban Outfitters,
Vintage items help you stand out from the crowd and give you the satisfaction of rescuing something worthwhile from the heaps and heaps of things people are using and disposing of these days.
Vintage purchases need not be limited to clothes and shoes. Some of my favorite household items were scored at Goodwill and yard sales or craigslist–including my couch, dining table, TV armoire and most of my glassware/tableware.
Buying vintage items online is pretty much like buying anything else online, but here are a few tips:
- Check the measurements. Whether you’re talking shoes or clothes, sizes have changed over the last 50 years. Know your measurements and look for items that have measurements listed–or ask the seller for them before you bid or buy.
- Don’t pay more than you could resell the item for. Sometimes this is hard to judge, but it’s my rule of thumb when buying anything over $20 and is especially useful for furniture purchases. Would someone else pay $200 for this couch a year from now? If the answer is yes, you have nothing to lose.
- Put on your white gloves. Most eBay and Etsy sellers are fair and will describe flaws, but examine photos closely. If you’re shopping on craigslist, go over every inch for snags, tears, scratches, cracks etc., when you go to pick up the item. Furniture should be inspected to make sure it’s sturdy–no wobbly legs or mushy springs unless their existence is factored into the purchase price.
Vintage style blogs
Liebermarlene Vintage–love her style and the gorgeous photographs. She also has an eBay shop.
Violet Folklore–some of their dresses cross from vintage into costume-y, but they often have fun shoes and their photography is beautiful.
Lemondrop Vintage–Love their Pink Saturday feature.
OK, now it’s your turn: I know there are many m0re secondhand bargains to be discovered on the internet. Share your shopping secrets, pretty please?? And do you have a favorite secondhand find?
(Stay tuned for part three of our series, buying a secondhand bicycle–promise not to make you wait three months!)