Fashioneyesta’s Guide On Buying Vintage


Greetings Readers!

Welcome to another feature here at

I have some very exciting features going up over the next few weeks, but the first that i will be sharing with you today are my top tips on how to buy genuine vintage clothing.

Recently, I found a series on Channel 4 called This Old Thing presented by Dawn O’Porter. The series is one aimed at encouraging the british public to shop vintage and use their old clothes whether it be from your hans wardrobe to finds at a Vintage fair. She wants us all to be unique and shop the styles of the past.

So, in salute of this wonderful TV programme, that is currently available to watch every Wednesday at 8pm, today I will be sharing with you my top tips on how to shop vintage when you are visually impaired.

Now, one of the major things people tell me when they are shopping for vintage clothing is that it is a difficult thing to shop for, due to the fact that the styles are hard to gage and that the process of shopping for vintage is difficult to grasp.

But, with the right knowledge and the right attitude there is no reason why someone with sight loss cannot shop for vintage.

So, come and join me today as I tell you about the wonderful world of vintage and how you too can become a part of it.

But of course anyone can read todays feature, it is simply a feature that I have attempted to make accessible for those with limited vision.

Why I Love Vintage

To Be a Princess: Every Girls Dream

I have loved vintage clothing from a very young age, I simply loved the passion behind it and the mysteries that surround vintage clothing.

When you hold a vintage garment or piece of jewellery you are holding a piece of history in your hand, a moment in time, a mirror into the past. You can see the world and how it was portrayed in that one item. Fashion, like so many creative forums from art to literature were all examples of how the arts marked the changes of society.

Fashion presents how men and women, but especially women, went through radical canoes and became the free independent women of today.

When I buy vintage clothing I don’t think of how ‘disgusting’ it is to wear another clothes as so many word it. Instead, I think of it from the perspective of a writer.

Who’s did this belong to?

What stories would it have to tell me?

What heartache and happiness did it experience?

And of course, I will be its next chapter, a new lil in the chain of its life.

The Sensory Experience of Vintage 


When you first of all visit a vintage shop visualise in your mind all of the tales of the 20th century combining together, vintage shops can be like an Aladdin’s cave if your allow your mind to be as liberal as it can be.

Enter with an open mind and be prepared to try new things, vintage clothing is so much more special than high street for many reasons. One of the key reasons is its mystery and appeal of the past. But, for another vintage clothing is special because its shape and structure means that it is so much more of a sensory experience.

The flapper dress, the new look dress, the 40s suit, the 70s maxi dress, they are all prime examples of how vintage clothing allows for someone with sight loss to understand the key shapes and concepts of fashion and the eras that have shaped the way fashion is understood today.

Trace your hand delicately across the garments what do you feel? Silk, tweed, rayon, cotton, beading, thread work, drapery.

You can appreciate vintage clothing so much more if you feel the luxury of the material or the quality stitching that has gone into making the garments.

Shop For Victory!

Vintage clothing is so unlike high street as you will find such a diverse range of prints, colours, fabrics and embellishments. There was more time and effort put into making these clothing which is why they are loved and revered by many. On a high street when you trace your hand across the rails you may only find the habitually matrices of polyester, nylon, the occasional feel of cotton and viscose. Materials like polyester were not around until the late 70s and early 80s.

But, Vintage clothing is in many ways so much more unpredictable to the touch and sight which makes it much more fun.

Now, when you walk into a vintage shop you may come across that familiar scent of moth balls or age. But, don’t let this deter you, moth balls are a good sign that the vintage clothing you see will have been much cared for and much loved. You will thus find quality clothing, free from tears or moth bites and with a dry clean and a day on the line to air you will have a wonderful piece of history hanging in your wardrobe.

The Eras


Vintage spans from the 1920s right up to the 1980s, the eras are all diverse and have their own special trademarks and distinctive features which mark the history of our culture. But, what they all have in common is that there is something unique about them al and any women or man can find something about the era no matter how small it is, that they can utilise in their wardrobe.

All the eras you will find in a charity shop are built to last, why? Well thats because they were made to last by tailors, seamstresses and savvy men and women. Take the classic 1940s suit for instance, that was a garment which was built to endure all hardships for the sheer fact that it had too. 1940s was all about frugality and not wasting what you had so naturally your garments would have to be able to take the hardships of rationing.

So, when you are shopping for an era here is what to consider…

Your Body Shape: What era or trademark of an era would suit your body type. The 1960s mod dress is an example of a dress that looks great on a lot of body types because it is an a line and skims your tips and is a lot more free than its earlier predecessor the 1950s New Look dress which was known for its tiny cinched in waste and flaring skirt.

Cost: How much money can you afford to spend on an item? Eras like the 1920s due to the fact that they are practically a century old will cost more and whats more they are in such high demand in the modern day.

Your Taste: You as an individual will be drawn to different eras of vintage clothing. We are all different and our personalities usually reflect in the way we dress. I personally favour the 60s because it is an era that represents huge change, cultural diversity and liberation. But, I also love the 70s because its bohemian appeal is something that is very close to my fashion self.

Where You Can Find Vintage Clothing 

Pink Vintage Hat

Charity Shops-One excellent place where you will find Vintage clothing is a charity shop. There are many across the UK and with the right amount of time you are sure you eventually find some amazing bargains hiding behind the rails of charity shops just waiting for their story to continue.

I have found some wonderful items in a charity shop from a Dianne Von Furstunburg Dress for £10 to a genuine 1940s bag for £5.

It’s all about knowing your vintage and treating charity shops as a healthy challenge for you blossoming fashionistas.

Car Boot Sales-Don’t let this next one fool you! Car boot sales are great to find some great gems and I don’t just mean DVD’s and gardening supplies. You will be surprised at what you can find in a boot sale in just one day. Take me for example, I once found a vintage 1930s brooch for £3 at a car boot sale and some vintage pieces of costume jewellery.

Vintage Boutiques-There are many vintage boutiques across the UK and all of them will be sure to host wonderful treasures for you to take home. I have visited many and they all promise to have something you will love. From a vintage scarf to a beautiful 1950s dress you will be sure to uncover the most mouth watering garments that you have ever encountered in your life.

Vintage Markets and Fairs-There is always the chance to uncover some amazing vintage bargains from Vintage fairs and makers that take pace across the UK. From Judy’s Vintage Fair to local markets such as the Greenwich Market, Portabello Rod or Spitalfields Market. You will be sure to find a market in your local area where you and your friends can shop vintage until you drop from all the excitement!

Online-Online Places like ASOS Marketpace, eBay, online vintage shop and many more all offer the prospect of you uncovering some fantastic pieces of vintage clothing for reasonable prices. But, if you buy it and find it is not to your liking. Never fear! Vintage clothing is so popular these days you can simply sell it on and someone will be sure to love it.

Your Nan’s Wardrobe-Now one thing is for sure your nan or an older family relative is certain to contain some mesmerising vintage items in the back of your wardrobe.

Take my nan for example she passed onto me some of her own vintage handbags and pieces of costume jewellery that I wear again and again. So, next time your at your hans house why not come bearing a box of chocolates and sit down with her to browse through her photo albums and see what relics of the 20th century she has in her treasure chest.

Fashioneyesta’s Top Tips For Buying Vintage 

The Charity Shop Challenge

  1. Take a sighted person into the shop or boutique with you, they maybe able to spot something that you don’t or tell you if an item looks a little worn.
  2. Always check to see the items condition, is the hem coming down? Are there any moth holes? Does the item have any rips or frays?
  3. Know your vintage, be sure to research your eras to find out what the distinctive features of an era are. That way you will be sure to know what to look for.
  4. If an item claiming of be before the 70s is made from polyester or has anything like washing instructions or a tag that reads ‘Made in China’ or ‘Made in the US’ this may be an indication that the item is not genuine vintage.
  5. Items during the 1920, 1930s and 1940s didn’t use zips, alway be sure to see what the dress uses as fastening. Buttons and elastic waste bands are the tell tale signs of genuine vintage during these eras.
  6. Always try before you buy.
  7. Never buy anything your half hearted about, you must love it in order to feel that you will have the confidence to wear it.
  8. Never narrow it down to one era, always look at other eras and see what may suit you and your personality.
  9. Be open to looking in different places for vintage fashion. A true vintage hunter is someone who scours for gems in the most unlikely of places.
  10. If an item does not fit you can also take it to a tailor or seamstress to have it adjusted. Find a good, reliable seamstress who can transform the vintage garment into what you want it to be.
  11. Enjoy the experience and let your mind go wild!

The Five Ingredients To Make A Vintage Goddess 





An Open Mind

For more ideas check out my previous features on vintage fashion

Great Gatsby Fashion

The New Look Dress

Retro Style

The Charity Shop Challenge 

Shop For Victory

Useful links

Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair

Beyond Retro

ASOS Marketplace

This Old Thing

So, that wraps it up for another feature from me at Don’t forget to tune into today at 2.15 pm on Insight Radio to hear more tips and ideas on how to shop Vintage.

Click here to sign up to my mailing list.

And I shall see you all next time, until then my dear readers!

Posted by

Emily is a Masters Degree Student, Writer, Journalist, YouTuber and blogger who runs the blog and YouTube channel

One thought on “Fashioneyesta’s Guide On Buying Vintage

  1. Thank you for this guide, I always have a tough time scouring out amazing vintage finds. My favorite fashion period is the 40’s and the 50’s its so retro and fun!


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