Saturday, March 17, 2012

How to Shop Vintage

This is a March of the Bloggers guest post!

"How to Shop Vintage"
by Augusta of Runs with Lipstick

Ah, finally it's the weekend! Hopefully everyone is out enjoying some lovely St. Patrick's Day festivities and spring weather. But if you're stuck at home or after all the fun is over, be sure to check out this next blog post because it's got some really useful info in it!

Today's blogger is the lovely Augusta who runs a blog called "Runs with Lipstick" - a title I adore. She talks all about her life, style, and even has a little shop along with her site. She's here to help all you thrift shop loving ladies make the most of your next thriftventure!


Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Walking into a huge room full of second-hand garments may not seem appealing to fashionistas who want the best, latest, and trendiest. What many people don’t know is that vintage items have been known to inspire designer’s collections, and many items you find from expensive retailers can be found at consignment stores! But trying to pick the good-crap from the crap-crap can be time consuming and frustrating if you don’t know what you’re doing. I put together the best tips I know that have helped me over the years to look chic for less.

What you see is not only what you get.

One important part of vintage shopping is to remember that what you see is not the only thing you get. When I’m dress shopping, I’m also maxi skirt shopping. You can easily transform an old evening gown into a silk, slim-fitting maxi skirt—and how cute would that be with a button up blouse?! The same goes for shirts. Sometimes XL button-ups can be transformed into t-shirt dresses, or extra long tees into mini dresses. The key is to focus on the fabric of a garment, and not so much the shape.

Get your tweak on.

In addition to turning a shirt into a dress, you can also change/add to the garment itself. I love to buy a $2 shirt and then sew or cut it to totally change its look. For example, I once bought an oversized clutch in a tacky yellow color. So I painted it gold and glued turquoise jewels to it—ta da! Or you could buy an old denim jacket and transform it into a distressed, bleached, and studded cropped denim vest. Sew shiny gold buttons onto a denim blouse to make it seem more expensive. Glue vintage earrings/brooches onto flats for added appeal. My personal favorite all-time transformation is to buy a pair of high-waist jeans and cut those suckers into high-waist cut off shorts. Or just find a garment inspiration from, , or another expensive retailer, and try to imitate the design. It really is amazing what you can do with vintage items!

Get a clue.

Don’t walk into a second-hand store without some sense of fashion/trend knowledge. I once found a great mint tie-neck top at a local consignment store, but if I hadn’t known that pastels and tie-neck’s were a trend, I would’ve looked right past it. It’s so much easier to go into a world of used clothing when you have a rough idea of what you are looking for/what’s in.

Back to Basics

Make like X-tina A and get back to the basics. What I mean is, if you see a blazer in a timeless design at a second-hand price, GET IT. I don’t care if you have 8 blazers already. The same thing goes for classic white button up blouses, or a basic slim-fitting tee. Assuming there are no stains or rips, you cannot go wrong buying these items for these prices. As much as I love Joe’s soft t-shirts, I just can’t let myself spend $70 on something so basic that I could get anywhere. Even if the colors are a little drastic (I once bought a bright red blazer), you usually wont regret it (now bright blazers are huge!). Keep your eyes peeled for basics like blazers, button-ups, denim shirts, leather jackets, fur jackets, silk tops, cable-knit sweaters, and cardigans.

Shoes, and jewelry, and purses, oh my!

You can’t forget the accessories! As I’m sure you already know, loafers have been huge on the fashion scene lately. Why spend over a hundred on a label (which I’m not saying you shouldn’t if you can) when you can find these by the dozens at your local vintage boutique?! My little ol’ town can’t be the only place like this. Vintage jewelry is also great because it’s so versatile. Certain necklaces can double as headbands, while others can be taken apart completely and the jewels can be saved for other DIY projects. Purses can be a bit more tricky, because used purses tend to look…well, used. God knows us women are more than hard on our handbags. But don’t exclude them completely—I once bought a fabulous tribal clutch. Lastly, don’t forget belts! I have a friend that shopped the little boys section and came out with the cutest turquoise/silver waist belt. It definitely worked with the Navajo trend!

Now that you’ve got an idea of how to hike that vintage mountain, grab a friend and start saving money!


I'm a big proponent of thrift shopping so I'm so glad Augusta chose this topic for her post. I think the biggest thing when you are thrift shopping is that you have to take the time to go through everything to find these gems. Just like she said - you can totally change items easily so always look for the item's potential, not just at the item's first look!

Leave comments for Augusta below! We're giving away more jewelry tonight so don't forget to add your twitter name or e-mail on your comment!

Also don't forget to check out her fabulous blog as well!

<3 Loren of Frock Stock


  1. This is excellent.
    I am always so terrified of vintage stores, my eyes just blur and I can't distinguish good from bad. Or I go in with no idea and find nothing - because I'm looking for nothing.
    But they're often so beautiful!
    Time to try again with your tips, thanks :)

  2. great tips on thrifting! i love coming upon little finds that you can make uniquely you! :)

    thanks for sharing augusta!


  3. Hi Augusta! I really found your blog inspiring. I love working with vintage materials. Now I have a few more ideas in my back pocket! Can't wait to check out my Thrift store again. Great ideas :)

  4. I love the concept of re-purposing the clothes you find, great post thank you! pamela @soapsstyle

  5. Great tips!!! Get me to a thrift store!!!