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A quick guide to vintage clothes shopping

Completely new to vintage clothes shopping? Or need some inspiration on what to look for? 

Delve into Best Buy company Beyond Retro’s guide to buying used and second-hand clothes to help you navigate the world of second-hand fashion and find your new sustainable wardrobe.

Shopping for vintage and second-hand clothing means you can always find something unique that suits your style, whilst being sustainable and making a positive impact on the planet. 

It’s an antidote to fast fashion which is one of the world’s most polluting industries.

Over 80 billion new garments a year are currently produced, contributing up to 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions

Meanwhile shopping pre-loved can cut your carbon footprint by 60-70%. 

It’s time for a new motto in fashion: Out with the New, In with the Old!

Female browsing through shirts on rail

Vintage shopping guide: Where to begin

Below we outline some simple steps you can take to start your vintage shopping journey.

1. Vintage inspires the trends… so buy the originals!

Designers look to the past for inspiration, but you can always find the original pieces. At Beyond Retro we curate our collection to reflect the trends, so you can tap into them without looking the same as everyone else!

2. Forget the rules, if it makes you happy, wear it!

Be creative! Delve into new styles, embrace different silhouettes, mix-and-match colours, play with prints - vintage is all about finding pieces you love and making them work for you. 

3. Mix up your eras

Don’t overthink how to style a piece: you don’t have to follow the style of when the piece was from to make it look amazing. Whether it's a statement or a staple item, work different eras together to create a fresh, contemporary look that suits your style now.

4. If you fall for it, don’t wait!

Everything is one-of-a-kind, so if you see something you love, snap it up before someone else does. Plus, everything is saved from landfill, so you’re helping the planet while giving something a new home in your wardrobe.

Two men and one woman modelling vintage clothing
Image courtesy of Beyond Retro

Vintage shopping guide: What to look out for

If you're about to buy something vintage, what should you look out for?

5. Look for for the unique details

Every piece at Beyond Retro is hand-picked because it's special. Look at collars, buttons, sleeves, embroidery, fabric - it's not always the most obvious element that showcases its story, but it's why you’ll treasure it forever.

6. What do you love?

If you feel overwhelmed by choice, go back to what you know. You can easily spot colours, textures, prints, fabrics and brands you know you like, and use these as a starting point to discover the unique vintage out there.

7. Give the piece a once-over

Most pre-loved garments are in good to excellent condition to make it to the shop floor, but it's worth checking the piece for signs of wear before you purchase. Take a look at the seams, buttons, zips of clothes, and for shoes check the soles - everything can be fixed very easily so don’t worry if you can’t part with the piece! If you’re online at Beyond Retro, we list all item defects clearly so check before you buy. 

8. Keep an open mind

While vintage stores curate their offering to help you find what you’re looking for, you might come across something you didn’t know you wanted until you see it! Trust your gut and get comfortable with spending time exploring a wide selection, the hunt will be all the more thrilling when you find that special piece!

Infographic showing jeans now as a skirt
Image from Beyond Retro

Vintage shopping guide: Finding the perfect fit

9. Measure yourself

Use a tape measure and make a note of your measurements. Check your waist, hips, bust/chest, sleeve length and in-seam. Plus, measure your favourite tops/dresses/jeans before buying - you might realise you like things more fitted or oversized.

10. Check the size of the piece

If you’re in-store, try on or measure the piece on the hanger. If you’re shopping online, the measurements will always be listed, so you can check the fit before you buy.

11. Don’t obsess over the size on the label

There are size guides available online to translate international sizing, but pieces still might not be what you expect. It might have changed shape over time, or been tailored, and different eras offer different proportions... so it's important to manage your expectations with regards to the fit.

12. The sewing machine is your best friend!

You can make a lot of simple fixes or changes if you can sew, or find a good tailor to make the dream piece perfect just for you.

Find out more about Beyond Retro via our company profile or their website.