This will be the 1st of a series of posts where I offer up my tips for vintage shopping (or the not as cool sounding thrift shopping,
op shopping etc.)
I’m often asked “How did you find that?” and truth is, it’s
not always easy. If you follow a few guidelines however, it can help immensely.
I’ve been shopping this way for about 10 years (I actually did the math –
scary). It started with my obsession with the Olsen twins. It was summer
2005, the paparazzi loved them and I fell in love with their oversized sunglasses,
Balenciaga bags and their “I’ve just rolled out of bed and I’m wearing my
grandmother’s shawl while holding a venti Starbucks latte” look.
The thing was, I couldn’t find anything that resembled their part
grunge, part glam ensemble anywhere. For starters, I needed cowboy boots, I
needed bangles and I needed everything to be oversized . So I made my way to flea
markets, rummaged through my grandmother’s jewellery and headed to thrift
shops. I soon realized, I loved the hunt.
There is nothing glamorous about walking into a Salvation Army; odd
smells, florescent lighting and racks upon racks of what is quite honestly, mostly
crap. So this is where, through years of trial and error, I’ve worked out a
few tips to help make things easier.
1. It is
what you make it.
everything in life. If your head isn’t in it, if you don’t really want to go –
don’t. You won’t find anything and you’re frustration will deter you from
again. Not everyone enjoys it and if it’s not for you, that’s ok! However, if you choose to go, embrace it. Optimistically embark on your treasure
hunt and be patient. If you’ve walked through the doors and you’re in a
rush or pressed for time, I’d say forget it.
2. Look for Materials (fabrics & textures)
I’m very touchy feely when I thrift shop. I usually walk down the aisle and run my hand over all the cloths. I’m looking for quality fabrics and
interesting textures. Sometimes more important than spotting something that
stands out, is feeling something that stands out. Think silk, chiffon, lace, velvet, sequence, fur, leather and not so worn in knits.
When I say basics, I don’t quite mean wardrobe staples like
a white button down or trench, but I’m referring to colours. It’s a safe bet to
stick with black, white, grey, beige, camel, and navy when thrift shopping. These
tend to still look polished especially if put together in a monochromatic way. Word of caution, look for blacks that aren’t too worn, and whites that are
still white. If you find something white make sure the material is good quality and has lining. I tend to get these dry cleaned as well.
Skirt: thrifted. It has a gold button
detail at the top which is actually my favourite part.
Top: It was the material and the cut that stood out. It was from a designer sample sale (slash going
out of business sale). I got 3 items for $20. Along with this top was a white silk tank top and white shorts. The white shorts were the
result of a momentary lapse in judgement – they will never be worn (Top: reg. retail
price $199 AUD)