When you're feeling fed up with the same mass-produced apparel, there are few more refreshing ventures than to indulge in bolstering your vintage clothing collection. Yet while going vintage can be your dream avenue, shopping online can also present the hazard of getting more than you bargained for — mislabelled sizes, dull colors or even hidden nicks and tears.
Here are some top tips for buying vintage clothes online.
Look for Information
As a basic rule of thumb, sites that provide more information about each garment are generally better than those that provide less. This is not an absolute law, but it holds fairly true.
On one level, this is just a basic resource question — if a retailer has not had the time to detail precisely their line, how confident can we be that they have dedicated the time into sourcing the best quality clothing in the first place?
Additionally, if the website owners have specified only the color and basic form of the garment (such as ‘brown trousers’), then it is unlikely they have a particularly robust knowledge-base regarding fashion. This may be innocuous enough; however, it may also be an indicator of a low-quality retailer, signaling potential other problems further down the line.
Vintage clothes have, by definition, been through some stress. Either they have been worn (and washed) in the past, causing stress to the fabric and shape, or they have been sitting in storage for years and likely prone to almost infinite organic threats, from moisture, to dust, to – dare I say – moths!
As a consequence, always look for high-resolution photographs that cover the entire garment. This will allow you to more closely view the garment to check for blemishes, cracked buttons, swollen pockets and other imperfections that time tends to bequeath to our beloved clothing. A good example of best practice in this regard is online retailer Trois Femmes Boutique, whose Esley clothing and other garments can be viewed extremely close up and in full.
Know about Sizing
Finally, buying vintage online puts you face to face with a risk factor that is more difficult to mitigate – that of accurate sizing. The fact is that clothes sizes vary tremendously amongst and between brands, and there is little that one can do in lieu of central regulation. A
dditionally, sizing has changed tremendously over time, so a size 10 dress made today is not what it was 40 years ago. As with before, good online retailers will likely provide you with further information about specific sizing, either through rough guiding phrases (such as ‘slim size 10’) or, better, specific measurements.
The best tip is to ensure you choose a retailer with a sensible returns policy, as this will allow you to shop smart without worry!