In Money, Style

Why I prefer buying vintage or secondhand clothing

Vintage clothing can be a hit and miss.

Frankly, I’d like to miss the entire 1970s – 1980s because that era of clothing is not my style and it’s when polyester started coming into vogue.

I tend to gravitate towards the 1920s – 1950s as my preferred decade and in doing so, I’ve managed to find quite a number of beautiful pieces that I really enjoy wearing.

The best is designer vintage, and from designers that aren’t mainstream.

I do love me some vintage Burberry but if you do your research, equally high-quality vintage clothing can be found at its counterpart Acquascutum, who invented the trench coat at the same time as Burberry.

They just suck at marketing, but their vintage clothing is top notch and extremely well made.

Still, people still probably get squeamish with the idea of buying secondhand clothing be it vintage, thrifted or consigned.

I just see the savings! $_$

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VINTAGE, THRIFTED OR CONSIGNED CLOTHING?

Thrifted is the cheapest of the secondhand lot. It goes to places like Value Village (a for-profit organization), Goodwill (non-profit) and Salvation Army (non-profit) to name a few.

You can actually visit their warehouses before it is sorted, and buy clothing by the pound; I think the last going rate was $2.99/lb of clothing.

Buying thrifted items takes patience and you can sometimes find gems hidden in the rough if you are willing to spend time digging around on those endless racks.

Consigned clothing is when people (like me) know the value of goods and the label, and bring them to a brick and mortar establishment where they sell used clothing and take a cut in return.

Sometimes the store’s cut of the final sale value is 40%, other times it’s higher at 60%, it all depends on the store.

You will find the prices higher than if you were to shop anywhere else. Consignment shops sometimes go crazy because the seller only gets 40%, or 60% at best, and the store pockets the rest. :\

This is why I have started a Shop Section to sell directly and cut out the store so it becomes cheaper for buyers.

Vintage clothing doesn’t have to be decade-specific either because anything that is older than 20 years is considered ‘vintage’.

WHERE TO FIND GOOD VINTAGE / THRIFT / CONSIGNMENT STORES

Google them and then pay them a visit. It’s how I found all the stores I currently frequent.

Some of the stores are in the middle of nowhere so I get rather annoyed because I don’t really have the patience or the inclination to take 3 buses to get there if the wares are not going to be very promising.

Other stores, I visit very frequently which is very bad for my bank account, but I’ve found some lovely things there that I otherwise would not have, had I not spent the time to do so.

If you don’t live in an area or a city that has a lot of choice, you can always try going online. Etsy, Ebay, Craigslist, Kijiji are great spots to find items being sold by fashionistas cleaning out their closets.

Or directly from their blogs (shameless plug plug).

I have a Shop Section but so does Adina! 🙂

WHAT ARE SOME REASONS FOR BUYING VINTAGE CLOTHING?

My top reasons?

  1. Better quality (the stitching, seams, quality of fabric is PHENOMENAL)
  2. Lower prices for designer goods
  3. Less mainstream
  4. Not adding to the growing problem of NEW stuff

BETTER QUALITY

There is no doubt in my mind that things were made better back then.

Not only were they made by hand by craftspeople, they paid attention to detail and were meticulous in stitching things correctly because they build clothes to last for decades, as people rarely tended to refresh their wardrobes on a regular basis, unlike today where fast fashion means that within 3 washings, your shirt is likely to lose its shape and/or colour.

Read:

Even stuff that doesn’t have a modern designer label (e.g. Chanel, Hermes, etc) is better made than a lot of the junk you find in stores today.

LOWER PRICES FOR DESIGNER GOODS

Here are a few examples of my great finds:

A, high quality cotton Burberry navy pleated skirt was only $60!

I have since sold it, but I have an Acquascutum version for sale which has pockets and is just as cute.

(Acquascutum as mentioned before is the old-time rival of Burberry back in the day. They just totally suck at marketing but their quality is just as good as Burberry. Article here.)

https://www.savespendsplurge.com/january-2014-what-i-bought-watched-and-read/

My Chanel ivory tweed skirt suit was a whopping $400 instead of $13,000 (the price of a modern Chanel suit).

Chanel_Vintage-Tweed-Suit
A vintage Cole Haan briefcase I bought was $350, originally $1200 way back when.

https://www.savespendsplurge.com/september-2013-what-i-bought-watched-and-read/ https://www.savespendsplurge.com/september-2013-what-i-bought-watched-and-read/

These vintage finds are some of my most cherished ones!

Not all designer labels are well-made, mind you… but all the same, I’d rather buy something used of high quality from a good designer who is unknown (or even a piece that is no-name) than something of low quality from someone who is a well-known designer just because they’re a designer.

Acquascutum skirt & jacket both US 10 for sale right now as of this post:

 

Or this Max Mara wool camel coat for $200, normally thousands of dollars:

shop-sss-max-mara-6

 

Here’s another great Jaeger blazer I have made out of the softest camelhair for only $25!

https://www.savespendsplurge.com/january-2014-what-i-bought-watched-and-read/

LESS MAINSTREAM

You aren’t really going to find someone else wearing the same thing as you, and if you do, it’s likely they won’t be wearing it in the same way.

I like looking for things that are vintage because they tend to be one-of-a-kind an once they end up in my paws, I tailor it to make it even more personalized to my body like this really cute blue and white striped sundress that I got for $35 where I had the straps made out of the belt because I hated how cheap the original white elastic straps looked:

https://www.savespendsplurge.com/january-2014-what-i-bought-watched-and-read/

https://www.savespendsplurge.com/adventures-in-tailoring-adding-ribbed-cuffs-to-a-vintage-camel-hair-coat-and-straps-to-a-dress/

NOT ADDING TO THE GROWING PROBLEM OF NEW STUFF

Fast fashion destroys the environment, from having to pump out new clothes 6 – 8 times a year in huge quantities because they no longer last, and our landfills keep growing higher and higher with junk.


Even thrift stores are overrun with fast fashion labels from Forever 21, H&M and other places where their owners (after a few washes) became dissatisfied with the look of a garment and donated it.

They say someone’s trash is another’s treasure, but it is starting to spiral out of control.

We are using up the Earth’s resources for … nothing. For clothing…. so buying secondhand to me, is something I don’t have to feel guilty about.

At the very least, even if I buy brand new at retail, I plan on keeping the item forever.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

DO YOU SHOP SECONDHAND? WHY OR WHY NOT?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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10 Comments

  1. SarahN

    Agreed – but I have to say, I do think ‘easy for her, she’s tiny, skinny, most things can be sized down’. Ah, grass is always greener right?

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Well but a lot of vintage items are also very big on me.. so on someone larger, it would not need to be sized down.

      Reply
      1. SarahN

        True both ways isn’t it?

        Reply
  2. Izabela Michalska

    i don’t buy in secondhand, because I can’t find anything interesting. I know people who can and I envy them, but it’s not for me.
    Instead – I found a small max mara outlet in my city. The prices reduced more than 50% and i love it.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      It wasn’t for me until I realized you have to do it fast by flipping through the racks and spending a good 2-3 hours each time.

      Reply
  3. Taylor Lee @ Yuppie Millennial

    I try to shop almost entirely secondhand for the environmental reasons you outline (underwear and the like excluded). I love shopping vintage when I can which also works really well for me since I’m petite and apparently people were smaller back in the day?

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Smaller back then, but also vanity sizing. a US 10 I found recently fit me like a US 6.

      Reply
  4. NZ Muse

    Honestly, all my nicest clothing is probably secondhand. You get much better stuff for your money and it lasts… I still buy some cheap things from chain stores but I hope I make up for it with my op shopping.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      The quality of vintage is incredible.

      Reply

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