There are so many reasons to love vintage shopping: the finds are unique, the prices are lower, it's kind to the environment, and it's a heck of a lot of fun but, any seasoned vet will tell you there are a few tricks that can help you shop smarter as you time-travel. In Saskatoon, Owner Sarah Gaudry of The Knick Vintage has a knack for beautifully curating pieces from every decade which has made her little riverfront boutique a beacon of style. Sarah and I recently spoke at DoSask's clothing swap in support of YWCA and her tips for vintage shopping were so spot on, I had to catch up with her after hours to chat a little more. Here are Sarah's ten secrets to getting the most out of your vintage shopping:
1. Know Your Measurements
Sizes have changed over time and some pieces are in 'junior' sizing, making it frustrating to find the right fit just by looking at a tag. But a measuring tape doesn't lie-- take your measurements and store them in your phone so you'll always have them with you.
2. Start with clothing that suits your personal lifestyle
Often when we vintage shop, we buy things that are unique but don't fit into our everyday lifestyle which means that we don't get to wear them much or at all. Keep it simple, with a dress or top.
3. Buy what you love
Make sure that you love it and don't spend too much time thinking about buying it (mulling it over for ages usually means you should just put it back). It's easy to go overboard when we say to ourselves, "meh it's only $15...why not." It's still your $15.
4. Check for quality of items
Although at The Knick we curate well, when you're at a thrift store, a lot of the time an item might be stained. Check well for imperfections and decide if a rip is worth fixing or if it's better left on the shelf.
Most of the time, vintage may not fit perfectly but if you score a deal on the price, you can put your saved money into getting the perfect fit. People often wonder how others find things that fit so perfectly and it's because they have a regular tailor with whom they've built a relationship. The more you work with your tailor, the better they'll know your body and how to fit it.
6. Check the fabrics
Natural, whole materials are best such as wool, cotton, and silk as often, blended fabrics are weaker as are manmade fabrics. Do a stress test on the item to know how much resistance it has by squeezing a handful of fabric and seeing how the wrinkles fall out.
7. Pick clothing that looks like current trends
'80 and '90s fashion is big right now so think denim, bodysuits, white sneakers, fanny packs, slide sandals, mini backpacks, track pants, overalls, shortalls, and matching sets whether it's a pant and top or a short and top. If you're just starting out and don't read blogs or have somebody you look to for fashion advice, fast fashion sites like Zara or H&M can give clue to what is trending.
8. Mix and match vintage and new separates
For a casual look, a vintage band t-shirt alongside a new pair of jeans keeps your style feel current. Or for a formal look, try a vintage dress paired with new shoes and accessories, keeping your look simple with contemporary makeup and hair.
9. Jeans Can Tame Anything
If you choose a bold item, pair it with a denim jean. It's a super easy way to tone down that statement piece from the '60s, '70s, or '80s.
10. Wear items from different decades
Rather than sticking to a full-on 1950s look, throw in a 1970s T-shirt, or balance your 1940s dress with a 1990s leather jacket. An outfit composed of items from different decades is a great way to find harmony between seemingly contrasting eras, ultimately creating a fashion-forward look.
Thanks so much to Sarah Gaudry of The Knick Vintage for sharing her secrets. You can visit The Knick in Saskatoon, located at the Farmers' Market site but wherever you are, I wish you happy vintage shopping!