Models Direct’s Top Tips for Vintage Shopping

The Affordable Vintage Fair - currently touring the UK

The problem with high street fashion? Everyone ends up wearing the same thing! The Models Direct team love vintage style, but it can be a hard look to get right, especially if you’re trying to find a real bargain! Here, we give you some ideas for the best places to go to get your vintage wardrobe staples.

Vintage fairs. Dedicated vintage clothing fairs and markets are a great place to start, and you might get to learn a bit about the history of what you’re buying. Models Direct recommend The Affordable Vintage Fair, which has just started a tour of the UK.

Charity shops. If you like a bit of a challenge, scour your local charity shops. Charity shop shopping is also a great way to create something original. What with the recession, clothes modification is becoming much more popular and it’s a great way to inject some more of your personality into what you wear.

Be warned, once you’ve found one fantastic garment or accessory it could turn into a bit of an obsession!

If you love designer clothes but not their prices, check out Oxfam’s new chain of boutique stores around London, and soon to expand to other major UK cities. Obviously the designer ranges are more expensive than the usual charity shopper will be used to, but it’s a fraction of what it could cost new! The boutiques also stock ethically produced and customised clothing.

Oxfam Boutique

Car boots and jumble sales. A great place to practice your haggling skills, and with any luck you’ll find a seller who doesn’t know that they’ve got a vintage gem so you can barter a bargain price. Arrive early so you can be sure to see everything that’s on offer and, if you really like something, don’t take too long pondering whether to buy it. Don’t you just hate it at car boot sales when you see someone walking around clutching something you almost bought? Check the internet and local papers to find out when these events are taking place.

Online stores. Shopping for vintage clothing online can be a bit of a risk but you’ll be able to find a huge variety. Using online vintage stores could be the way to go if you have a specific decade or style in mind – try eBay as a starting point. Make sure you know your measurements (not just your dress size), examine the garment to check for any damage and print the product information as something to refer to when it’s delivered just in case there are any problems with it.

Vintage shops. There are different types of vintage shops that will cater for small or large budgets. Even if it’s one of the more expensive shops, be sure to check the garments for any wear or damages. They should have somewhere for you to try things on, make sure you do!

Now you know where to look for your vintage wardrobe, look out for Models Direct’s advice on what pieces to go for, the timeless fabrics and what to avoid!

Shopping for Vintage: The Definitive Guide to Vintage Fashion by Funmi Odulate