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Think before you click: tips for buying vintage online – and then wearing it

vintage dresses

No question, the rise and rise of vintage clothes shopping – both online and otherwise – is seeing more and more people turning to older garments (and retro-style brand new pieces) to solve fashion conundrums. Yet, as with all things, there’s a way to do it properly; a way to do it that’s smart, ensuring you avoid mistakes by purchasing as effectively as possible. Indeed, all you need is to bear in mind a few tips– and combine a keen imaginative eye with a common-sense approach as you browse for bargains…

vintage dressesKick-off with a classic

In starting out, there’s no need trying to climb Everest; that is, make you first vintage/ retro purchase something that’s far from the biggest challenge or risk to get you into the groove and off and running. We’re talking a classic here; maybe a 1950s-style beaded cardigan or an utterly timeless little black dress (LBD). Maybe one of those vintage dresses that you’re likely to reach for in the wardrobe time and again would be a good starting point.

What lies beneath

Here’s an all too easy-to-overlook tip – bear in mind underwear. Not vintage/ retro-style underwear, but the undergarments you’re going to wear with your new purchases. Yes, they can make a difference. Why? Because back through the decades, underwear was designed differently and looked different to today’s when worn, which in turn ensured outer-garments had a certain appearance – the body a particular silhouette – when you put them on over the top. We’re talking the likes of corsets, girdles and bullet-bras here; some vintage pieces just don’t quite look right without them being worn underneath.

Don’t forget your decades

When you step into the world of vintage/ retro fashion, you’re taking a step back into the past – and the past is, well, vast. For the most part, you’re going to be drawing on fashion that’s from the 20th Century; but, let’s face it, you could end up attracted to – and therefore buying – something from practically any of that century’s decades. That’s a lot of different eras of style to draw from. So, it’s important to consider what was in and what was out in these different decades – do you know your 1950s rockabilly looks from your 1960s Swinging mod outfits, your 1920s flapper dresses from your 1970s maxi dresses? Be aware too that the younger the garment – the more recent decade it’s from – the easier and more comfortable fit it may be.

vintage dresses1

Research pays off

This maxim could be applied to the above paragraph, of course; but it’s critical when it comes to parting with a lot of dosh for something that’s not brand new. Granted, if you’re thinking of splashing the cash on one of the many vintage style dresses UK available from online retro retailers rather than splurging on a vintage piece that’s half-a-century-old, it’s not such a big deal; but if the reverse is true, research into the item definitely pays off. So, learn how to recognise condition issues, what vintage/ retro fashion really suits your body-shape best and always seek out the advice of the retailers themselves, the more candid the better.

Don’t be afraid to tailor it

Finally, there’s no need to be shy about altering a vintage item you’ve bought. Yes, it may be decades old, but you’re buying it to wear it, not to hang it on the wall. And that means you shouldn’t put up with it not quite fitting as it might and not achieving that knock-out look you want when you pop it on. Investing a little extra in having an item tailored to totally fit you can really make the difference and so prove properly worthwhile. Mind you, specific items from some eras (especially the older ones) won’t be possible to alter in this way; so, learn to recognise items’ limitations in this regard – and, again, which items from which fashion era suit your body best.

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