In post-credit crunch Britain, the popularity of thrift stores and online auction houses dealing in vintage clothes has not declined. Customers seem to have discovered that charity shops are the ideal place to find an eclectic mix of designer and non-designer clothes for a good price, and they don’t seem inclined to let this be taken away from them. But it does require a certain level of experience and skill to get the best bargains and be a true vintage virtuoso.
1. Choose your friends wisely
The best way to stay on top of what’s hot in fashion is by hanging out with the right crowd. If you live in London and you’re into vintage, find the East End Thrift Store on Facebook and attend their monthly Thrift Shop Parties. Not only do they have great deals on very wearable vintage clothes, they also serve free drinks all night. This is the perfect opportunity to get to know fashionistas with similar tastes. Another way to get the right friends is to attend a local charity shop regularly and ask the shop assistants for their opinion. They might even be able to hold rare items back for you if they think they’re perfect for you!
2. Do the quality check
If you’re buying something in a shop, make sure what you’re buying is actually wearable. You don’t want to replace the zipper or sew on new buttons as soon as you get home, or have seams falling apart the first time you're wearing your new Little Black Dress.
3. Sell what you don’t use
The key to being a vintage virtuoso rather than a pack rat is by being able to part from items that don’t belong in your collection. You don’t want your house to clog up with old things, so get rid of bad bargains. For example, if you’ve bought an antique gold necklace that, in retrospect, doesn’t suit your face, there’s no need to hold on to it. Okay, if it were a precious heirloom, you might see it as your duty to keep it in the family, but other than that there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get some cash for gold you’re not using. The same goes for ill-fitting designer dresses, torturous shoes and impractical purses... if you don’t use them, bring them to your favourite charity shop to befriend the people that work there or sell them online. Remember: your object of frustration might be making someone else’s day.
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