How to Find "Diamond in the Rough" Vintage Clothing Stores

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Celebrities and style bloggers are always rocking vintage clothes – but how do they find those diamonds in the rough? I don’t know about you, but every time I go vintage or thrift shopping, all I find are ketchup-stained tees and the bad kind of mom jeans.

However, even you can be lucky enough to score some vintage Levi’s or silk dresses. You just have to know the right places to shop (and be just a little lucky).

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Where To Shop

Thank you, Internet, for bringing vintage shopping to my bed. However, there are tons of different places you can shop for vintage clothing.

  • Thrift Stores: Shopping at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army is very easy and inexpensive. Sometimes they’ll even price items by the pound!
  • Flea Markets/Consignment Stores/Antique Malls/Vintage Shops: All of these options are usually more curated, so you can easily avoid the donated pieces that have seen better days.

Online Vintage Stores: If you’re a fan of easy online shopping, online vintage stores could be your best friend. Shops like ThisBlueBird are great for all different kinds of vintage pieces, while places like TheRealReal are great for vintage designer pieces.

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What to Look For

There are a few tell-tale signs a piece of clothing is vintage, i.e. 20+ years old. If the tag says “Made in the U.S.A.”, it’s probably vintage. Faded or worn tags are alsoa good sign it’s vintage (think of a worn-in Levi’s leather tag). Plus, the item of clothing in your “size” will usually appear smaller. Can’t forget vanity sizing!

Additionally, shopping for classics is a great way to ease into vintage clothing. Leather jackets, vintage band tees, rigid denim, and silk kimonos are all great finds. Sticking to natural fabrics will also ensure the pieces will continue to last throughout additional wear. Be sure to double check the fabric for any wear, holes, or stains. While some usual wear and tear is alright, you don’t want to invest in a piece that’s about to fall apart.

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 Other Tips

Be sure to do some research on the items of clothing you’re bringing home. If an item’s material is dry-clean only and you can never be bothered, it might not be the best idea for your closet. Additionally, having some basic supplies at home can remove small stains or make minor alterations to pieces you otherwise wouldn’t have bought. 

Don’t be afraid to shop in other sections of the store either. In the lingerie section, you can often find vintage silk kimonos and other robes. In the men’s or kid’s section, you can also find jean jackets or chunky sweaters. Thrift and vintage stores aren’t as organized as your traditional retailers so work your way through the whole store.

Finally, don’t be afraid of tailoring! If the perfect dress or blouse doesn’t fit quite right, you can spend $20-30 on alterations and still have it in your wardrobe. If that extra bit isn’t quite in your budget, learning some at-home tailoring skills can help bring your dream wardrobe to life.