Fashion Focus: Shopping for Vintage Clothing

By Lauren Pinkston

January 16, 2013

Vintage clothing and accessories are unique and beautiful. These clothes are one-of-a-kind and are a beneficial balance to trendy wardrobes. As trends of the past resurface, it’s exciting to wear the original pieces that have become trendy once more. These clothes have a story to tell and these vintage, one-of-a-kind, clothes reflect the personal style of the wearer.

Shopping for vintage clothing has become increasingly more popular within the last decade. Many fashionistas across the world have found pleasure in digging through cramped racks at Goodwill or diving into buckets of old clothes at estate sales in order to find a rare, vintage outfit.

With the popularity of vintage shopping increasing, however, finding these one-of-a-kind pieces has become a lot easier and more enjoyable, almost like a figurative Easter egg hunt.

Shopping for vintage clothing includes an experience that is just as unique as the dated pieces found. The styles, shapes and sizes of clothes have changed so much over time, so it can be difficult to find garments that work with the shoppers’ taste and body measurements.

When shopping for vintage clothing and accessories it’s important to take various factors into account.

The first thing to consider is size.

Is the garment wearable for your body and if it isn’t, will you or a tailor be able to alter the size? If you aren’t very confident about this factor, it’s probably wise to pass up the buy.

Another factor is normal wear-and-tear. Throughout the vintage shopping experience, you will notice that many pieces of clothing have tears or ripped seams. This is mainly because they are decades old and are usually second-hand clothes. While most of these problems are easy to fix, keep in mind that if the wear-and-tear is too extreme, it might not be worth it to repair.

It is also important to engage your current wardrobe with the apparel. While a vintage garment may be incredibly striking and different, it may not be something that you’d actually wear from day-to-day.

The outfit might be too “old fashioned”, eccentric or incompatible with your current wardrobe. Before purchasing vintage clothing think, “Will I actually wear this?”

The last factor to be aware of is price.

Although specialty vintage stores carry strictly vintage clothes that are in demand, they can be a bit pricey. It’s simple to find cheaper vintage at thrift stores, that carry both vintage and modern clothing; shopping at these stores does mean that it may take longer to search for wearable and authentic vintage clothing and accessories.

Places to shop for vintage clothes depends on the experience that the shopper desires.

Luckily, Dominican students and staff are within close proximity to some of the best vintage shopping in the United States. Being only 11 miles from downtown Chicago makes it especially convenient to jump on the closest CTA spot and shop at the best vintage hotspots downtown.

Many favorites are located in Wicker Park near Milwaukee Ave. The neighborhood houses a mini district of thrift and vintage stores, including Vintage Underground, Ragstock, U.S. #1, Store B Vintage and Buffalo Exchange with many of these stores having been featured as some of the best vintage shops in Chicago by Time Out Chicago and CBS Chicago.

It’s easy to lose an entire day browsing these shops, admiring the unique and historic merchandise. Who knows, you might find your “new” favorite dress among a rack of vintage frocks, scarfs and skirts.