How To Buy Vintage Clothing

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Some people buy vintage clothing that seems made for them, expensive and unique – and others shop for vintage but fail, bringing back things that reek of dust, stale perfume and moths – Erk!

Us Effortless Bitches know how to find great vintage and we know who the people are that we need to talk to in order to get the best stuff, so, today I’m sharing my knowledge with you so your next op-shop rummage is a successful one, full of clothing deceased but chic people have worn.

Believe it or not, knowing how to buy vintage clothing is quite different to navigating a store of ready to wear clothing in an array of sizes. However, like shopping in a regular store, you still need to go in there with a purpose:


Think of what you need or what would be a good investment and look for it, don’t be tempted by a sequin jumpsuit you’re only in love with for the novelty.


If you’ve never been shopping for vintage before, there are three main ways to do it. An op-shop, a specialised vintage store or online. If you’re shopping for designer vintage, there are consignment stores specialising in designer wear. It’s hard to buy vintage clothing online that’s good quality unless it’s from a reputable retailer like Way We Wore or The Real Real. If you’d rather do it in person, a store like Blue Spinach in Sydney or your local salvation army will be the best options.

Buy Vintage Clothing With The Advice Of Fashion Stylist, Alarna Hope


It’s so easy to get swept up with a bright orange fit and flare skirt, but if you have nothing that goes with it, it’s going to end up being one of the most expensive purchases in your wardrobe because you’ll either never wear it, or you’ll have to buy pieces to go with it. Remember what your aim is, that big picture of style when you enter that store.

Knowing how to buy vintage clothing is great, but how about regular sales? 


Some of my clients have been stung with this before, they’d purchase an item and it would get home and break or look dreadful on and the only way to return the item is to donate it. Donating vintage is no big deal if you got it for a bargain, someone else can love it more, but if you forked out a few hundred for a piece that you thought would work but hasn’t, it’s likely that the store won’t accept it back or at best, they’ll give you an exchange.

Buy Vintage Clothing With The Advice Of Fashion Stylist, Alarna Hope. Get the best shopping tips so your next vintage clothing shop in a success!


We can get so caught up in finding an item that actually fits when we’re in a vintage store that we forget if it’s actually good and if it’s in our price range. Just because it fits, it doesn’t mean it’s a keeper.


Another thing we usually forget is the cost of the alterations, we pick something up and think, oh a little tuck here and dart there, will fix the problem and while it may do that, it can work out very expensive and override the amount you planned on spending in the first place.


Never buy an item of vintage designer wear without doing some research or at least bringing a designer savvy friend along. Check for authenticity certificates and always check the garment for stains and snags. If it’s watermarked or has permanent pulls or stains, it may not be worth the investment. Also, sometimes items may seem like they’re from a certain period of time when they’re just revival pieces. An example of this would be finding a pair of flared pants from a collection Fendi did two seasons ago and thinking they’re from the 70’s. Look at the fabrics, the care labels and the brand label and do a little research. You’d be surprised at how many vintage resellers don’t realise they’ve put a high price tag on something that’s only a few years old.


Owner / Blogger / Stylist

Alarna Hope is a Fashion Stylist and Writer based in Sydney, she's considered an expert in her field as a Personal Stylist and is also quite good at writing about herself in the third person. She cries during movie makeover scenes, has a jar of Nutella under her bed for safety, and can tell you the synopsis of every Kath & Kim episode ever. She currently resides in Sydney with her Oscar worthy cat, Meryl Streep.

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