3 Tricks to Buying Vintage

July 28, 2017

Part of me has always believed that I was supposed to live decades ago. Whether it be the retro feel of the ’50s, the mod vibe of the ’60s, or the boho look of the ’70s, my soul feels attached to those time periods. It’s where I draw my daily inspiration from, as you may know if you’re a site regular. I can’t even imagine the closets of darlings from these eras like Audrey Hepburn, Jane Birkin, Bianca Jagger, and Sophia Loren. Swoon!

But since I’m an ’80s-born kid, I’ve relied on buying vintage and have a serious affinity for finding gems when doing so. I know it can be overwhelming and even intimidating stepping toes in a vintage store (I’ve been in some bad ones!), but once you’ve got a game plan, it’s well worth the payoff. The gorgeous, one-of-a-kind pieces you can find trump anything you’ll find at the mall, in my opinion! These are my tips and tricks when buying vintage:


Shopping vintage is different than running into Saks to pick up a new dress. Vintage takes time! You definitely need to try every single piece on. Plus, some vintage shops have questionable quality items, which take time to sort through. I always leave my vintage shopping to my leisure days. A slow Sunday at brunch can turn into fluttering around different stores, where I have all afternoon to get lost in the decades. I adore those days! Just make sure you’re giving yourself at least an hour per shop, especially if you haven’t been there before.


Since our style has evolved since the “vintage” eras, the fit can be off. Hems are different, and things tend to be boxier. But if you fall head over heels in love with a piece that doesn’t fit perfectly, scoop it up! A good tailor will be able to make the piece work for you, and it’s worth the extra fees. You’ll have a unique item in no time, and it’ll eventually fit you perfectly. I usually schedule a tailor session the week after I do a massive vintage haul.


Every vintage or second-hand shop is different, which is fun, but it makes shopping harder. If you know you only want to look for ’70s-style bell bottoms, check reviews to get a feel for their vibe. If I’m in a new city and the reviews aren’t incredibly helpful, I simply call the store and ask about their merchandise. I like to ask about their return policy as well, as it’s usually pretty strict. If it is, I make sure everything I’m buying will be able to work.

Who loves buying vintage? Which decade do you belong in?

Photos by Fred Cipoletti 

Shop the post

Miguelina top | Miguelina mini skirt | Mansur Gavriel bag | Unique Milano sunglasses (similar)


I love shopping for vintage items! Since I am a fashion designer and trained in sewing I can do all my tailoring myself which definitely comes in handy. My biggest tips when shopping for vintage are to pay attention to fabric quality, print and details. If all those elements are good, I’ll change the silhouette or totally re-design a piece. I post a lot of my re-designed vintage on my blog and instagram (@emilykfarina) if you’re interested to check it out.

Love the post and tips!


SUCH a good tip my sweets – thank you for your input! will check you out, xx

I am head over heels in love with this two piece! SO beautiful and I love how you’ve styled them with the sunnies x


Thanks so much lovely!


Wonderful tips! Thank you for sharing.


What a lovely outfit Jenny!
I’m loving yellow for this summer! Gives me so much life 🙂


Thanks so much lovely, glad you’re enjoying!


I can find trends form every era that I adore but I’d say I’d be 40s or 50s (think “High Society”).

There’s an amazing vintage store that carries high end as well as off brands around the corner from me in jersey city. Next time you’re in NYC take the Path train to Grove St and check out Another Man’s treasure. It has a huge selection and is set up like a boutique so it’s enjoyable to shop (not disastrous with a weird smell). The one guy that works there said he flies out to LA a lot and picks pieces from the vintage warehouse that are great buys or are back in trend. It’s curated really well and I highly recommend a visit!

I LOVE that era too — the clothes and the silhouettes are incredible. So feminine and chic. Thanks so much for the recommendation, I’ll have to check it out!


Love yellow on you, this dress is just so cute !


Saida - She talks Glam

I only started buying vintage recently and I must say I am loving it already. A great alternative to mass-produced clothes and a way to find truly original pieces that stand the test of time. Love your gorgeous yellow coord and the amazingly beautiful retro vibes. You are stunning as always Jenny!

Saida | She talks Glam

I’ve always thought I belong in the 60s in San Francisco or the 20s in Paris.

I love this 50’s inspired outfit and yellow is the perfect color for summer!


In love with your dress <3


This look is so cute, I love the yellow

Killin’ it Jenny! Awesome photos.

La Bijoux Bella | by mia

Wonderful tips for purchasing vintage. I do love ❤️ the vintage classic look. Something’s just withstand the test of time. A very classy and individual style! 🙂

❤LA BIJOUX BELLA❤ | BY MIA | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

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