Not So Shabby Chic

Post by Amanda Walters for the Kind Kindred series.

photo courtesy of Steve Snodgrass on Flickr

Shop for Second-hand Dresses and Wow in Vintage

Vintage is big business in the UK, and fans of this style are well catered for with thousands of dedicated vintage retail shops online and on the high street. When it comes to a special occasion, such as a wedding or a prom, wearing a vintage dress offers the opportunity to stand out from the crowd, and convey a unique personality and sense of style.

The internet is full of vintage retailers, from independent outlets to old favourites such as eBay. Popular vintage styles include those from the 1940s right up to the 1980s.

The great thing about buying vintage is the seemingly endless supply of stylish one-off pieces. Searching for something extra special is part of the fun of following vintage fashion, and many a happy hour can be spent trawling second-hand sales and specialist markets. Charity shops may be a source of good quality pieces at affordable prices.

Tips for buying second-hand and vintage clothing:

  • Decide on the era: people are generally attracted to a particular decade and focus on this to narrow down their search for the perfect second-hand or vintage dress.
  • Hold clothes up to the light: this reveals any holes or badly worn areas that are likely to need repairing in the future.
  • Check the buttons and zips: vintage fastenings are part of an outfit’s charm, and if a vintage button is missing it may not be possible to source an identical replacement. Also, zips may have suffered damage over time.
  • Buy the best affordable dress: now is not the time to buy cheap quality – a special occasion demands a very special dress, so save up and buy the best one possible.
  • Don’t worry if the size appears too big: clothing sizes have changed over the decades, and cannot be relied on to be the same today as they were in the 1940s. 
  • Carefully check the measurements provided if buying online: although most online retailers offer a reliable returns service, it is worth double-checking the sizes given. 

The Telegraph offers more tips for buying vintage, with some smart advice for both new and established fans of this style.

What about charity shops?

Charity shopping has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years. Gone are the dark and dingy shops with the distinctive aroma of unwashed second-hand clothing. Charity shops these days are bright, well laid out and welcoming, and vintage clothes mingle easily with high street items.

UK urban newspaper, Metro, offers advice on how to find great second-hand and vintage clothes within charity shops. Scouring these shops in search of a little gem has become more than just a hobby for some people, who apart from enjoying the challenge, are saving money and buying something unique for their wardrobe.

Shopping around is key and researching the different styles associated with the various decades can be done easily online, allowing you to plump for the era that appeals most to you.

Amanda Walters is an experienced freelance writer. Graduating with a 2:1 in Journalism and creative writing in 2009, she has since enjoyed five years of creating strong relationships with a range of site owners and is now a regular contributor to Huffington Post. She loves to read, and has a passion for all things weird an wonderful. She strives to reach others through her writing. Follow her on Twitter

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