Looking for an Audrey Hepburn-esque little black dress for a party next weekend? The local vintage stores have done the leg work for you, and all they ask it that you pay them for the effort. Fair enough right? Maybe, maybe not. When you see a gorgeous 1920s vintage slip for $175 like I did recently, it can seem like an investment worth every penny. But when you later see a very similar slip at an estate sale in the $1 bin, you would be left feeling like quite a sucker. Spend a weekend afternoon exploring the alternative vintage locations to end up with a whole new wardrobe for the cost of one item at an upscale vintage boutique. If you need help dating a vintage piece, check out the tips from Vintage Fashion Guild.
As mentioned briefly above, estate sales are the first place to look for amazing deals on vintage items. But not to worry, you don’t have to spend the day driving through town looking for estate sale signs. Estatesales.net emails a weekly listing of the estate sales within 100 miles of your city. You can browse images before taking a trip to any far away locations. I love the feel of an estate sale. Mink coats can be found for a song and the clothing is often overlooked by people hunting for antiques and knick knacks.
Every thrifty girl I know has an ongoing mental or physical list of their top thrift stores. They don’t waste their time at the salvation army up north if they know the selection is always better at the south location. When you begin searching thrift stores, start your own list. It’ll save time in the long run. I have had the best luck finding vintage couture coats at thrift stores. Did I mention I have a coat problem? A Burberry vintage trench was scored for $11 recently. Carefully look through the racks for items made with top quality. Test the zippers, look for any holes or staining and look at the stitching on the hems. The beauty of vintage is how well it stands the test of time. If you are unsure whether an item is vintage or not, check the tags. The inside tag should have a dated appearance. The colors and fonts are dated and the stitching is secure but may have faded a bit.
Market Days and Antique Fairs
I had never heard the term “Market Days” until I moved to Texas. In case you are like me and not “in the know,” Market Days are a set number of days a month, usually a weekend, when vendors rent out stalls to sell there wares. The ones near me in Austin like Wimberley are chock full of vintage clothing, if hunted for. The primary items sold are household items and furniture, but I always find gorgeous vintage clothing from $1 to $10. Accessories and jewelry are also found in abundance.
The famous flea market in Paris, affectionately known as, “Le Puces,” or “The Fleas” gives the idea of flea market a whole new identity. Flea markets are regularly given a bad rap in America, but they are hiding gems. Rows and rows of merchants display their wares and you will find anything from bananas to vintage Chanel. Look carefully and take breaks often. It can be a bit overwhelming!
Maybe not the most obvious choice here, but garage sales have luckily gone digital. Most garage sales are advertised on craigslist or other online classifieds and you can regularly get a good look at what they will offer. Search “vintage” in craigslist garage sale category to pull up garage sales in your area with vintage duds.
Good luck on your hunting and let me know what you find!
Photo credit: Fashion Hookup