As a fashionista, I’ve always wanted to go to Eastern Europe and explore local fashion in the mysterious region. I feel very lucky because I’ve had the chance to make my dream come true!
A word about vintage clothes:
In my view, vintage clothing is just a way of wearing history (Think Mad Men)! Vintages clothes can be more than secondhand – in fact, they are an art form, a collector’s passion, with a story to tell and sentimental value. Basically, an item isn’t really vintage unless it dates from 1910-1979. Earlier than that, it’s clearly antique; later than that, it’s just thrift or secondhand. When shopping for vintage during the trip to Eastern Europe, I have some interesting findings:
First and most importantly, buying anything with sweat marks is a bad idea. Sadly, a cleaner can’t fix that problem. The condition of the item is very important.
Second, I don’t buy vintage shoes as they usually fall apart easily. Usually, a pair of vintage shoes is too worn out to ever dance again!
Thirdly, if you are keen to invest in designer vintage, it’s important to be able to spot a fake. My advice is if you find a designer garment at a very low price, probably it’s too good to be true. Always check the quality and the craftsmanship carefully. If it’s “made in China”, it’s obviously not a designer garment. End of story.
Next, real vintage clothing has a smell to it (I know this sounds a bit gross, but it’s true). Having said that, you can still easily remove odors from vintage / secondhand / thrift clothing by spritzing them with a mixture of water and vodka.
Further, the safest things to shop for in the vintage department are jewelry, bags, belts and dresses. Wedding dresses can be amazing and unique purchases as well, for they usually encounter less wear and tear. According to my experience, most wedding dresses have been worn once only, jewelry can last for many centuries, and it’s easy to see the condition of a handbag – you know what you are getting. If the bag is a designer item, there should be an authenticity certificate and a dust bag that comes with the designer bag.
A trip to Eastern Europe: where to shop for vintage clothing
There are a lot of sources to find very nice vintage clothing. You may go to a flea market, a dedicated vintage fair or a charity store. Charity shops in affluent areas of many Eastern European cities are a wonderful place to find the designer wares dropped off by millionaires in the local area. Apart from that, you may go to auction houses to bag some vintage items. Some department stores and big chain stores have also started dedicating corners to vintage clothing. But the problem is these items are overpriced and usually embellished & altered by the department store or the big chain store.
Besides, the Web is a wonderful source for vintage clothing as well. You don’t necessarily have to go to Eastern Europe in order to find valuable vintage clothes. In actuality, you may access pieces from around the world without getting up from the sofa. Yet be aware that clothing before the 1960s probably does not have sizing; therefore, it’s better to contact the dealer and ask for measurements in detail. Also, photos could be deceiving; thus, you’d better choose a site with many angles and with clothing displayed on a real model.
I understand that there is a roaring trade in buying & selling clothes on the Internet. You can easily cut out the middle man and get your hands on a quick buck if you are selling stuff online. If you are buying stuff, you can find some real bargains on the Web.
My suggestion is you must include spelling mistakes in your searches because a person’s mistake is another person’s hidden treasure, e.g. if the seller accidentally spelt “YLS” instead of “YSL”, you’ll find that item, whereas other buyers won’t find it in the first place!
Moreover, you should use PayPal because it is the safest and easiest way to buy things online. If something is wrong, you can get your money back, so your money is always protected.
When I went to Eastern Europe, I met several fashionistas who are selling vintage clothing online. They told me that a savvy buyer must do their homework. That means you would be well-advised to read the small print and check the item description carefully. It’s your responsibility to check the seller’s history, other pieces by the same designer and what they are selling for. Don’t forget to check postage costs and contact the seller if you have any questions.
Actually, international deliveries are very convenient nowadays. But you must check the shipping costs in advance because sometimes the shipping cost can be higher than the price of the garment!
A fashionista’s advice on selling vintage clothing:
During my recent trip to Eastern Europe, some fashionistas who sell vintage clothes online have shared their experiences, insights and wisdom with me so that I can get started in this industry as well. If you are curious, you should totally keep reading right now! 😊
A business-savvy seller always checks out the competition beforehand. You are not supposed to out-price yourself by charging more than other sellers for the same item. Timing is so key, so you would be well-advised to close an auction on a Sunday night when most people are very likely to be at home.
Furthermore, honesty is the best policy, always. If your garments have flaws, just admit it. Taking pictures of any damage and posting the photos will help you to avoid complaints. Your description must be brief and crystal clear.
Be sure to send a sale confirmation email to the highest bidder. This will improve your profile and reputation when the buyer gives you feedback!
If possible, you should totally dry-clean stains, polish shoes and steam clothes. I know these may cost you some money, but in the long term this will earn you dollars.
Always snap the right picture because the photo will sell your item. Great lighting is paramount!
The unconventional conclusion:
Putting my vintage pieces into an outfit brings out the inner fashion stylist in me, according to my experience during the recent trip to Eastern Europe. It’s very important to keep the rest of my outfit modern and chic so the look doesn’t become a period costume from Mad Men.
Sometimes the best vintage venues are my mom’s wardrobe and my grandmother’s wardrobe. I remember my mom went to Russia with my grandmother several years ago and they bought a lot of vintage clothes there (and they had already got many vintage garments before that trip to Eastern Europe)! I have the best fun helping my mom and my grandmother to reorganize their wardrobes because they often give me some vintage clothes for free! For instance, I got a vintage Chanel bag from my mom and a vintage necklace from my grandmother.
“Playing around with how I wear vintage clothes is brilliant fun!”