Anyone who knows anything about me, knows I absolutely ADORE a great thrift store! If you can find a store where you seem to find at least one great item each time you go to it you have found a good thrift store for yourself. Considering one can find clothes for $1 to $10, how can one not be tempted to spend $2 on a barley worn blouse, especially if it's designer. In my fashion, its all about how the item is worn that allows one to step out the box of the trends of the moment. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that most people cannot imagine sifting through the humongous, and seemingly disheveled inventory of some stores to find pieces that can pass for daily wear that don't make one look they stepped off a Warner Bros. movie set from 1950. That dreaded "selection overload" is what we like to scapegoat the culprit to be, but I was pleased when I saw a post on Vogue.com on Vintage Shopping advise from the accomplished, now Contributing Editor to Vogue Magazine, Lynn Yaeger. Her eccentric style is strongly recognized within the fashion community, and her work in fashion writing spans past 30 years. In the post entitled, Shopping Secrets of a Vintage Clothing Vet: Lynn Yaeger Shares Her 5 Golden Rules, and in my fashion, her advise goes along perfectly with my theme, The Secret of Stylists, in that she helps to demystify how to go vintage shopping or thrifting without being overwhelmed.
Julius Caesar, that ancient vintage shopper (you thought he paid full price for those togas?) once said, “Experience is the teacher of all things.” By which we are pretty sure he meant that before you begin shopping at the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show tomorrow, you will probably benefit from a few gentle tips, offered by a veteran who has been attending these events (and hauling home treasures, along with some whopping errors) at least since the Clinton administration.
1. Please don’t buy it if it doesn’t fit! If it’s too big, you might be able to make it smaller (but that could ruin its line, and therefore its charm), and if it’s too small—well, it’s old, and may be rip-prone anyway. So please, just don’t.
2. If you are fairly new to vintage shopping, you may be more comfortable finding something that echoes current runway trends (the sixties resurgent at Saint Laurent; the seventies in all its loopy fringy glory practically everywhere else). If you’re skittish, start small, with a bag, a scarf, a hat.
3. Be wary of the advice of your fellow shoppers! Sure, it’s fun to hang in the communal fitting room and swap comments. Everyone, maybe for their own sick reasons, will tell you you look great, even when you sort of don’t. Remember that in these circumstances, you have only one real friend—the mirror.
4. Don’t forget to bargain! And always say, “What is your best price?” if you are not sure you want it! If you say, “Will you take x amount?” and the dealer says yes, you are honor-bound by the laws of the flea world to buy the thing.
5. Go super early for the best selection—plus you will see what the scouts from design houses are buying, which is always fun—or super late, for the best prices. The nearer to closing time it is, the less likely the seller wants to lug that 50-pound, 1920s wardrobe trunk back to the van.
*6. #IMGBlog SUGGESTION: What if you find an absolutely amazing piece at a Thrift, but you tend to be the type that cringes at the thought of wearing someone else's clothes which have already been lived in, I personally suggest the following:
Depending on the delicacy of the fabric the first thing you will want to do is wash it immediately in the washer, or take it straight to the dry cleaners on the way home from the thrift to pick up as soon as possible. Then even after you have washed it and you still feel the unsettling feeling of the fact that this-was-someone's-piece-of-clothing-and-you-don't-know-who-that-person-was put it on a hanger in your closet or in your drawer and leave it there unworn for a considerable amount of time, or at least until the feeling starts to set in that you have owned the piece for a good amount of time to consider it officially yours, and you can forget the anonymous other person existed.