Vintage Shopping

Vintage shop with buntingThe world of vintage shopping is an amazing experience and one that has become much more popular in recent years. For those new to the world of vintage, it can be a confusing time – even for the real fashionistas amongst us!

With this page we hope to be able to offer you advice on where to start when you want to buy vintage, what to look for and most importantly how to make vintage fashion work for you!

Even if you are a more seasoned vintage shopper we think you will find it an interesting read, if there is anything you feel is missing from this section then please let us know your views on buying vintage, we would love for you to guest write for us on our vintage blog!

Ignore sizes, what do they know!Girl looking at vintage dresses

The world was a different place in decades gone by and the sizing on most vintage clothing is a good indication of this. Although many items may have sizes printed or stitched inside, never take it at face value that it’s right. A size 12 thirty years ago could be more of a size 10 nowadays, so don’t worry that you might have over indulged on cupcakes – it is perfectly normal!

Always try an item on if you are unsure and try to take a tape measure along with you. A good tip would be to lay your own clothing flat and take some measurements before you leave the house, particularly around the bust and waist. That way when you are at a fair you know what measurements to look for and it can certainly save you a lot of time queuing to use the changing rooms!

Black and white photo of vintage clothing in a fairBigger is better, I knew it!

With vintage shopping it is rare to find an item that fits perfectly straight off the rail so if you love an item of vintage clothing but think it’s too big the answer is just to buy it. Most items of clothing can be adjusted nowadays at a relatively low cost – especially for an item you may never see again.


Rails of vintage clothing I’d buy that for a shilling.

Most vintage stall’s only accept cash so make sure you take some with you. Occasionally some stalls will have a card machine but don’t rely on this. Alternatively most stall holders will know where you can find the nearest cash machine and if not then be sure to ask on the desk as you came in. If you ask nicely, most stallholders will keep an item to one side for you whilst you go get the cash, just be sure to come back for it or to let the stallholder know you have changed your mind.


Lots of vintage jewellery, brooches and ear ringsThe early bird catches the pussy bow blouse.

Vintage fairs tend to be busy first thing and you can quite often find a queue building up just before opening time. That is because the majority of the items for sale at a vintage fair are one offs, you’re unlikely to find anything the same again so get there early to make sure you get to the best items first (kicking, punching and pulling hair is not allowed, carrying walkie talkies and using code words is highly entertaining and greatly encouraged!)


Two people Lindy Hop dancingBargain, negotiate, beg and smile!

Some find it easy, some get embarrassed – the secret is just to be nice, remember, being friendly and polite will increase your chances of saving a few pounds! Also keep in mind that the stall holder may not always be able to offer discount, like any retail shop different products are bought for different prices therefore sometimes it is unrealistic to expect a discount especially on cheaper items!


A set of vintage trunks and luggage Vintage brooches on displayDon’t think, buy!

It is extremely rare ever to find two pieces of vintage clothing the same. Nearly everything is a one off, especially with older pieces so the rule is if you see it and you like it, get it bought! If you later change your mind you can always resell it on ebay!

The other option is to ask the stall holder to put it to one side for a short while but if you do this please make sure you do return to the stall and let them know even if you decide it’s not for you, after all, the stall holder could be selling it to someone else in the meantime.


A display of vintage homeware on saleStains, stitches and urgh what is that?

Always thoroughly check an item of vintage clothing before purchase, due to their age and the way in which they have been stored over the years it is easy for them to become damaged. Check collars and armpits for yellowing fabric, check that all the buttons are attached (although these can be replaced so not a deal breaker), and that there aren’t rips or tears particularly around seams as these can quite often be unfixable. If in doubt about any damage then ask the stall holder for their advice.

Have fun and party like it’s 1950!

Vintage fairs are amazing events, enjoy it! Don’t just rush around trying to grab all of the bargains, take in the amazing vintage goodies that the stalls are selling, it’s great to bring back memories (or for the younger vintage lovers, make you wonder ‘they used to wear WHAT?’)

Another great thing to do is make a real event of it, dress in your finest vintage (military gear for the gents is always a winner) and soak in the atmosphere – only stopping to put your feet up for a cup of tea and a scone! Why not take a look at the vintage experience you can enjoy at our fairs!