A Beginner’s Guide To Shopping Vintage: 7 Expert Tips

Meghan Blalock
vintagechanel2 A Beginners Guide To Shopping Vintage: 7 Expert Tips

Who wouldn’t want a vintage Chanel bag?

Shopping vintage can be an intimidating task for newbies. There’s a lot to consider: what’s a good price? How much wear and tear is too much wear and tear? How do you tell a real from a fake, and one time period from the next?

We sat down with Jasmine Chess, vintage expert and founder of online vintage clothing store Vetta Vintage, to get her tips for beginners who are interested in starting their vintage journey. Chess has been lover of the genre since she was a child; her grandfather founded blues label Chess Records in 1950, and she grew up, she says, surrounded by the feeling of authenticity so engrained in the music.

“I was always around that authentic style of music and entertainment and antiques and clothing,” Chess tells StyleCaster. “I was always just around it. I really started shopping it in my early 20s when I was living in London, and that got me hooked. I didn’t even really know that much about the clothing vintage side of it, I knew more about music and antiques and furniture. It was a natural progression.”

Check out her top 7 tips for beginner’s looking to shop vintage below!

1. Know what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for designer or non-designer, you can definitely hone in on stores that have those items. There are definitely two different worlds of vintage: thrift-centric stores, and high-end vintage outposts.

2. Bargain.
You can always ask for your best price. New vintage shoppers might not be so sure they can bargain; but if you’re going to a vintage show, you can definitely make deals, though it depends on what you’re after. On non-designer items, sellers are often willing to go down in price.

MORE: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Buying Vintage 

3. Watch out for wear and tear.
Check out the clothing and make sure it’s not too obstructed. A good tailor can fix small imperfections (ripped linings, falling hems), but if the item is totally beat up, leave it alone.

4. Try on.
If you can, try on vintage items, and see how it matches up to your body and how comfortable it is. Remember that sizing varies between decades.

5. Determine authenticity.
Once you start buying designer pieces, you get to know the labels—where they’re made and which country they’re made. For instance, on the back of Chanel jewelry, it should be stamped with a mold. If you’re buying vintage Chanel bags, the right “C” should cross over the left. If the country isn’t labeled, it’s probably not real. The best way is to really know the time period’s style of labels, and the styles of that time period’s clothing as well.

MORE: The 10 Best Sites to Sell Your Clothes Online

6. Buy things that look stylish today.
Chess says to buy vintage that’s really wearable today—so much is too unwearable or too outdated. Many items on her site are from ’20s or the ’80s, but they translate well.

7. Buy something you’ll be comfortable in.
Enough said!

Photo via BeautyBrawler