Buying vintage made easy

Buying vintage is a lot easier than styling it. So, just to prevent you from coming home with a whole bunch of stuff you don’t need, doesn’t go with your style, have nothing to combine with, is made out of floozy material, I’ve written this post. Yay!


I mainly go to flea markets to get my shop’s items and the items for my personal collection. I love flea markets!  You get to meet a lot of cool, interesting people. If you’re lucky and the sun is out you get to enjoy an ice cream or enjoy a beer on a terras. Basically, I love to make a whole day out of it and just relax. Next to the flea markets I visit a lot of  whole sale shops and thrift shops. It’s  way too hard to get all my stuff, especially the stuff for the shop at the flea markets, because I never know what I’m going to find. When I visit a wholesale shop it’s guaranteed that I’m going to find at least 10 good items or more. I like to be selective and buy the really good stuff and then come back another time when they have some new items in. Going for small amount of clothes also helps me manage the cleaning ,steaming and the edit of my collection. Some of my girlfriends have sold me their grandmothers clothes. I sometimes get calls from people who’s relatives have gone to a retirement home or have passed away. They ask me to come over and take a look at their stuff. I admit, it’s a bit creepy, because you’re going through clothes of someone that has passed, but it’s also really nice. I like it because of the personal contact and the fact that I get to choose out of very  good stuff opposed to looking through heaps and heaps of rubbish first. Also, it’s nice to know that the special items of their loved one will be purchased by someone who will be thrilled and exited to wear them. I once got invited by someone who’s mother in law owned 156 pair of unworn, leather Italian shoes. The family had no idea she was a shoe horder, she lived in the tiniest apartment. Some the shoes can still be found  in the shop. I got to be in shoe heaven for a short while, and I’m glad that I lot of these shoes already made other women very happy.


This is a general rule for shopping. Don’t just buy to buy. Buy because you need it & because it will add something special to your style. Ask yourself what you’re looking for and how you’re going to combine it with the stuff you already have. I love the seventies and sixties myself, but I wouldn’t go for a fifties rock and roll look. My personal style  also shifted from very colorful, poppy to a more classic cut & minimalistic attire. I still love the bohemian vibe but I can easily go for a smart nineties cut, or a funky eighties two piece if it’s not too loud.  And yes, I consider the nineties vintage, shoot me.


Are you going for a cool eighties vibe or a boho nineties vibe à la Lisa Bonnet? She has such a cool, laid back style. And I hearted it that she had a small part in the HBO series GIRLS. Maybe you are a swinging sixties kinda gal that wears a lot of colours. Or you could send out a more classy Jackie O sixties vibe. You could be very BOHO seventies and embrace tunics and embroideries, or you could be Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. Same decades very, very different styles. There are no rules in fashion. If you are feeling it, mix decades and styles. I mostly mix vintage with contemporary, which is easier than mixing certain decades, but I’m sure the results can be just as amazing.  If you’re into the thirties or swinging twenties, know that those garments will be much harder to find in good condition and you will pay the price accordingly. The older the item is, the pricier unfortunately.


Next to watch is the quality of the fabric. If you’re a fan of silk, cotton and wool, the search will be much harder than when you’re going for synthetics. Most synthetics stand the test of time whilst the others might have been damaged by moths or other insects or all together will have rotten. Of course synthetics do have an other upside apart from the long lastly, you will never have to iron them. They are the holy grail of the busy girl! Make sure the item doesn’t itch, as clothing from the sixties might, because of the love for human made fibers, unless you like looking like a scratching monkey. I love comfort, so I’ll always sit this one out.


When you have found that special item, try it on. This is a rule for all clothing really. Vintage clothing size can vary a lot, especially if you’re going for European vintage. Every country has different sizing charts. When you go for clothing that was made before the seventies, know that a lot was tailored or handmade, so you really can’t put a size on it. If you are buying online, make sure it’s from a reputable seller that has the clothes measurements listed.


Always, always, always look at the item twice. Look for deficiencies like stains or holes. Stains in vintage aren’t always removable. Ask yourself if you are willing to take the risk with the price in mind. If you are a good seamstress or know a good one, it might be worth to get the item altered to your preference. Always take a second look,  you might not be as in love with it as you thought you were. And even if it’s vintage, you’re going for a sustainable closet, you need that one special item that you will wear a hundred times or more instead of those 10 items that are just, blah.

The picture above is not a representation of my closet, although the garage/ atelier where I stock all the clothes looks like this times five. This is the closet of surf babe, stylist, and shop owner Rebecca Willams. Link below for the curious :). I will photograph our shops atelier, office and sewing room soon – aka when I get everything really organized & photograph worthy.

Photograph c.o Apartment Therapy


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