GOING IN FOR THE HUNT: THE ART OF GOING VINTAGEOctober 29, 2018
THE ULTIMATE TIPS AND TRICKS TO HELP YOU WEAVE YOUR WAY THROUGH THE VINTAGE MARKET
Having the reputation of fashion’s dirty little secret, shopping vintage pieces to those who appreciate its charm and its artistic background, look far beyond its simple style of dress. And it’s more so like an entity, industry, lifestyle, and a sport of its own kind. Often misinterpreted as a means to obtain one-off pieces and probable grails at basement bargain deals, — which can still happen depending where you hunt — vintage market spots nowadays are widely considered guardians of the culture. Curators of the archaic, thrifted and the pre-loved – such outlets on the higher end of the fashion pyramid also practice the preservation of each of the pieces’ stories. Although no hard rules exist when you go out and pursue vintage shops, we have put together a guide that will help make your experience a worthwhile one.
KNOWING THE SUBTLE LINE BETWEEN ‘VINTAGE’ AND ‘THRIFT’
This step comes into the scene for those genuinely interested in preserving a piece of history and the stories that comes with it. Vintage clothing basically is, for the most part, signifies items created 25 years or earlier. Though, this matter is open for debate. Thrifting on the other hand is used/pre-worn items searching for their new owners. If any verification is needed, don’t be put off by asking for help. Unlike approaching your typical store clerk for sizing and color availability in a big-box retailer, proprietors of vintage boutiques usually operate on the front lines themselves and can more often than not tell you the full story of each piece holds; where they bought it, how long they have had it and how it should be taken care of.
BE PATIENT, STAY PATIENT
Pieces in vintage establishments are not mass-produced by any means, at least not in this era or where you happen to be hunting. With that said, the chances of finding out a duplicate in the exact same style (which is highly unlikely), color ways and sizes within the vicinity of the city, or country for that matter are next to none. If you need to consider the purchase over, take it with you and don’t let go. Be prepared to set aside an afternoon dedicated to squeezing in and out of narrow aisles, rubbing shoulders and bumping elbows while searching through racks and racks of items all in search of that one-off signature piece worthy of assembling an entire ensemble around.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Like most shops, vintage spots too are hit with hungry shoppers and hunters come the weekend. To avoid overcrowding and stockhassles, owners tend to release stocks during the week when fewer shoppers are out and about — the ideal copping period for cunning shoppers. If at all possible, carve out time during the week, ideally in the early morning, to enjoy a little elbow room and of course a better pick of the given selection. Keep in mind during peak times, be it the weekend, shops tend to push newer merch, sale items and/or statement worthy wears in the window display and front of house to stimulate visual appeal — drawing curious shoppers in. If these specific pieces are on the agenda, here is where you’ll likely post up amongst the many others — leaving quite a sizable gap towards the back. Without a particular item on your hit list, the rear wall is a great place to start as you are less likely to contend with others, giving you more time to hunt.
FOCUS ON THE DETAILS
One of the most challenging aspects when out on the hunt is self-discipline. If at all possible, fight the urge to buy an item solely based on its extrinsic qualities. You would do yourself better to explore further by examining its overall condition. Dissect if you must as that could mean the difference between a one-in-a-million purchase or a costly restoration project. Hold it up to the light, check for fraying of the inner seams, makes sure inner tags are intact to warn of care procedures, look for holes, stains etc. Leverage what you can to cop a better deal for yourself.
Most shops don’t do the debit or credit game, although this has vastly improved over the last few years. Bring with you cash and avoid having to put down that designer vest while you track down the nearest ATM. It would be an utter shame to miss out on a piece you spent that last hour hunting for without a means to close the deal. In large-scale retailers where numerous pieces of each item can often be found, it’s relatively easy to place items on hold for a set amount of time — not always the case in vintage shops due in part to its rarity. Considered a sport to the avid collector, vintage vultures are at every turn and will scoop up what’s not locked down.
TIME TO EXPLORE THE WORLD OF VINTAGE SHOPPING
So that pretty much covers everything you need to know about the intricate of art of hunting for vintage pieces. Having those said and done, we dare you to explore the uncharted grounds of thrifting, and don’t hesitate to test the waters. Thrift spots, or thrifting in general is a gold mine in itself. Keep in mind the tips and tricks we’ve just shared with you above, and you’ll surely find yourself dominating the thrift game in no time. Happy hunting, hunters!