Vintage Shopping Tips & Tricks


  • Shop with an open mind. The best finds are "happened upon," and rarely when you are looking for them.
  • Try everything on! A 1920's flapper dress might look awkward on a hanger, yet fall beautifully on the body. Similarly, just because the mannequin bearing vintage Chanel calls your name doesn't mean the suit will fit.
  • As with fine couture, get to know your sales staff. They are more likely to call you when they locate a special item if you've built a relationship.
  • Seek out the extraordinary, and don't be afraid to mix and match. Pair a frivolous 1940's beaded clutch with a tailored designer suit.
  • Check details. Your garment should be in good shape overall, but consider replacing the lining or buttons to update -- and refresh -- your lucky find.
  • Once-over a beaded clutch or a sequined sweater. Who wants a project? Make sure the item is ready to wear so you don't have a lot of repair work to do when you get home.
  • If the age of the item is important to you (you must have a 1920's velvet cloche hat), then ask the clerk to identify the item for you. Discerning stores tag their clothing and accessories with both a description and a decade.
  • Don't depend on labels. There are incredibly designed garments that weren't created by recognizable designers.
  • Ask if your name can be added to a mailing or e-mail list, so you'll be first in line when your favorite shop welcomes new items or throws an annual sale!
  • Original labels, engravings (for signed jewelry, flatware, and vases, in particular), and factory stickers keep your prized possessions valuable should you choose to resell at a later date.