Another Man’s Treasure: A Beginner’s Guide to Vintage Shopping

In today’s world, we are becoming increasingly aware of where our clothes are made. With young people particularly taking a vested interest in where their clothes are coming from and where they are going once they’re finished with them. Fast fashion is still a thriving industry but many are turning to more practical fashion picks. However, this isn’t limited to popping down to the local op-shop to see what treasures lie within in its glass doors; there are so many different avenues to take when it comes to looking for vintage, ethical pieces. Here, we will detail the differences between the various kinds of stores as well as the tips and tricks to watch out for. 

Online Second Hand

A tried and true choice when it comes to purchasing vintage clothing without any hassle, or fluorescent change room lighting, is by simply turning to the online route. Firstly, there are second-hand retailers like eBay allowing you to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points while shopping. These platforms give you the chance to check out an item’s seller first to ensure they’re a safe and vetted person to purchase with, and have a huge selection of vintage goods ranging from high-end accessories to one-of-a-kind statement pieces.

In recent years, we’ve seen alternative iterations of the online op-shop pop-up, via stores like Depop and even Instagram boutiques. Just be certain to do your research and ensure you’re getting the high-quality piece that you paid for. 

Op-Shops

Op-shops are the original gold mine, they house a huge variety of products and as such are often laced with hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Whilst you may have to do a little more work to uncover what you want, it’s well worth it for the unbeatable prices and the pride that comes with sourcing a unique piece all on your own. Due to the sheer volume of clothing and miscellaneous pieces within these stores, there are usually more unique clothing within.

Whilst curated vintage stores may find popular pieces of high quality, op-shops hold one of a kind items that could be specific to you and your own tastes. It’s important to dedicate time if you’re looking to find something within these second-hand meccas, as they are generally large and packed tightly with clothing from every time period and in every shape, size and colour.

Curated Vintage 

Op-Shops can be found here, there, and everywhere. However, you have to be willing to do the time if you wish to strike gold. So, if you’re not willing to spend your whole afternoon hunting through a bargain bin in a bid to find a designer tee, opt instead for a curated vintage store. On the outside, these shops may present similarly to an op-shop. But, don’t be fooled, as inside they hold the very best of higher-end pieces, sourced and vetted before being presented to you in one easy-to-access place. These shops may have a slightly higher price tag but it’s incredibly worth it when it takes out the time and effort that comes with self-sourcing the products yourself. 

Consignment Stores 

If quality is what you’re after then a consignment store is the place to go. Consignment stores are the new age personal shopper, they carry not only vintage items, but also modern or harder to source pieces. This makes them very popular for their curated, quality picks. However, though they’re generally at a slightly more discounted price considering their quality which makes them more accessible to varying ages, they are unlikely to match the prices of an online second-hand store or even curated vintage shop. But, if a luxe purchase is what you’re looking for and you’re wanting to incorporate a sustainable element into your shopping experience rather than simply buying something brand new then a consignment store is an ideal pick.

Understand That Sizing May Be Different 

One thing to note when shopping vintage, in any capacity, be it eBay, op-shop or even consignment store, is that sizing may differ from what you’re used to. Vintage sizing is completely different to what we know now so if you manage to find something in-store it’s important to try it on prior to handing over your hard-earned money, and if it’s in person then make sure to do your research. 

In Australia alone, we consume on average, 27 kilograms worth of clothes and dispose of 23 kilograms of that. So ensuring that we purchase ethically and responsibly to minimise what ends up in landfills is so vital. On top of this, vintage shopping gives older clothing a second life and means you can feel good about your shopping habits. So whether you’re prowling through eBay, sourcing sizing in an op-shop, or popping in your credit card details for that final purchase in a consignment store, you’re sure to find something you love, happy hunting!

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