Vintage Shopping: Know Before Ya Go

They say you should write the thing you needed to read growing up but couldn’t find. The ever-talkative ‘they’ probably meant you should write an important think piece, an epic novel from the voice of a generation. So I did just that – I wrote about shopping! Specifically second-hand shopping because fifteen-year-old me would’ve very much enjoyed a few pointers while wading through the racks of faux-fur jackets and 90s handbags at Frankston Savers. Let me know if you found this listicle helpful, and also if you didn’t. But mainly if you did.

  1. Forget the Haters

As wise ol’ Miley Cyrus once said, “Forget the haters, cos somebody loves ya”. That somebody is the op-shop. There’ll always be one friend who hates the smell of Salvo’s and swears by ASOS. That is totally OK for them but do not let that deter you from your search for the perfect vintage brogues! We are all Beyoncé but we can be Beyoncé in different ways and in different outfits. Bonus: there’s no chance of you both turning up to a party looking like a girl band.

2.       Beware the Fixer Upper

Cast your minds back to the Dark Ages. And by Dark Ages I mean 2008, when the Jonas Brothers gifted the world with Burnin’ Up and we all spent every day after school sending emoticons to each other on MSN. This was also the year Gok’s Fashion Fix launched and our collective Fairy Gokmother introduced us to the art of gluing earrings onto brown leather bags to create the sought after ‘safari’ look, and slashing dresses into tops. All good in theory but I for one never got round to doing any of it. If you even suspect you might be the same, please don’t buy anything you won’t wear be able to wear immediately. Sure, those jeans may be $7.49 but if you never bedazzle  the jeans with the word ‘fabulass’ and it sits in the back of your wardrobe till you do your next Marie Kondo spring clean, it’s $7.49 better spent on Maccas.

3.       Size Matters*

One time, I bought an Alexa Chung style, duck-egg blue pea-coat that required me to roll up the sleeve three times so I could use my hands. On another occasion, Vinnie’s successfully tempted me with a pair of Superga trainers, the exact ones I had been eyeing up online and one tenth of the price. Of course I bought them, despite the fact they were a size five and I wear a seven. The coat and the shoes have an infinite number of wiley, Siren-esque brothers and sisters out there but you must not give into the temptation! Think about how much joy they’ll bring a longer-armed, smaller-footed chick and keep walking.

4.       Formal is Best

Fifteen-year-old me actually knew this one but for anyone who doesn’t, second-hand/vintage is the way to go for formalwear. Unless you buy a last season Dotti gown, you’re guaranteed to be the only one wearing that dress and save yourself cash for accessories. The dress I wore to my Year 10 social (pictured below, look how short my hair was!) was from the 1960s, is the prettiest thing that’s ever been on my body and set me back about 15 bucks. The trick is to keep an open mind when hunting for the perfect pre-loved frock, especially when shopping in-store. Online you can try keywords and searches by colour but don’t get your hopes up. If you’re really set on that Great Gatsby style dress that came to you in a dream, perhaps try sites that recreate vintage looks such as ModCloth.


Now go forth and shop!

*Not a note against this point or anything, just can’t believe I made such a rude pun.

Feature Image: Hannah Morgan on Unsplash



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