Buying Vintage – A Guide

It must be said I’m a huge fan of buying vintage, the thrill is not only in finding the perfect garment, but the thrill of the chase. Theres a lot of thrash out there, piles of stuff your uncle gave to a charity shop a decade ago and somebody is trying to cash in on. These days you have far more choice than ever before as you can find a zillion items on your phone. So how do you know what to look for & how to check the quality, well below are some of the main things to do/look for.


If your not looking online but want to get out there and look by putting the miles in we have a few suggestions. Starting out think about what your after and where your likely to find it. There are very good markets, Greenwich & Brick Lane are just a couple, do some research and find your best local clothes markets. However proper vintage stalls will always charge a premium, so make sure your checking the prices and don’t be afraid to haggle. Thanks to a smartphone I once got 90% knocked off from a dealer. We would recommend staying away from the very well known vintage stores unless your a bit flush with cash

If you don’t have time for all that walking & digging through, of course we were going to say it, get on eBay. he same theory applies check prices against similar items and you’ll get a good guide price.


This is key, you don’t want something that falls apart in 10 minutes. Check all the stitching, especially round the sleeves & buttons, look it all over, if its lined is the lining attached, is it misshaped, is it stained. Unless its dirt cheap we suggest walking away if any of the things we’ve mentioned are wrong. Smell is key to, if its a bit dusty it will wash, but think about whether that smell will actually wash out. its a simple mantra to remember, if it doesn’t look right, or it doesn’t smell right, its probably not right.

Fashion Vs Style

Think about what your buying it for, if its a classic like a good Pea Coat or a great Little Black Dress it will stay in your wardrobe for years if not a lifetime, its worth in that case making a good investment, if your buying for a trend think about this, in 6 months time what will you do with it. Its worth thinking about whether you can sell it on, remember start offloading items before a trend goes and you’ll be generating cash for a new trend. We do warn that you have to pick that moment otherwise that £100 item may only get you £1.


Never buy to invest, its to risky, but some things do retain their value, Raybans from before the 80’s, early trainers from Nike etc, good quality leather coats and bags that are simple yet classic. Yes things do come round again, but remember that Alf T-Shirt you wore in the 80’s well how often do you see one.

So there we go, a quick guide, most of all just get out there and dive through piles with your friends, its a great way to spend a day

About Ross Pollard

Since starting writing on my 31st birthday in 2011 I have held a number of positions at magazines and websites as well as regularly producing articles for numerous publications alongside contributing to TV & radio shows as a freelance fashion journalist including Hoxton Radio & Fashion One TV. Alongside writing, I have worked in other industries helping to design & grow digital platforms, develop businesses and support operations practices. This experience has proved invaluable in building an understanding of how businesses work, and the landscape in which retail, B2B commerce and other commercial operations develop. Knowledge of commercial interests has helped shape my fashion industry insights beyond critiquing of garments

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