Hunting for vintage clothing while on a budget can result in you getting the best thrift store finds ever. Even though 1960s clothing can be tricky to find outside of shops and fairs, it can still be done.
However, while you’re out there trying to spot a hidden fashion gem, there are some things that could scupper your plans altogether. Here are a few of the most important no-nos for you to remember.
Leave your cash at home
Now this may sound like a strange thing to say, seeing as so many people use debit and/or credit cards to make purchases as a matter of routine.
Despite this, there are a lot of charity shops and thrift stores that still only take cash. This is especially true with smaller shops. Even though the more well-known shops do offer card payments, it’s best to have some actual cash money with you. Better still, make sure you have some small change in case they’ve run out.
With luck, you may be able to ask the shop assistant to hold that fantastic psychedelic print shift dress until you locate the nearest bank. If they can’t or won’t, that incredible find may have been taken by someone else by the time you find a cashpoint and rush back!
Haggling, while a requirement in a Marrakesh market, doesn’t work so well in a charity shop or thrift store. If the price of the item is a price you’re happy to pay anyway, why negotiate it down? Besides, the thrift store may not be always be willing to change the price.
Haggling is an even worse option in a charity shop. A few weeks ago, I was in the changing room of a smaller charity shop when I overheard someone trying to ask for a reduction on the price of a suitcase. The assistant took it in good humour, but gently reminded him where he was.
The whole point of charity shops is to make money for the relevant charity, be it for medical research, housing advice, or for supporting vulnerable groups in society. You may think you’re bagging an even better bargain, but that money you’ve withheld could make the difference between the charity being able to help someone and having to turn them away.
Pay over the odds
Having said the above, it’s really not worth paying an exorbitant amount of money for something that’s marked as ‘vintage’ but actually isn’t. A handful of charity shops are guilty of putting (say) an 1990s blouse on sale for £20 and labelling it as something from thirty years earlier.
Therefore, it’s all the more important to check out before you go how to tell what’s what. If you’re not sure, why not look at this post for some help?
If you’ve done your homework already, but are sceptical about the ‘1960s’ item you’ve picked up, simply put it back on the rail and walk away.
Buy without checking the condition
I know I’ve talked about this before, but it’s just as important when looking out for vintage clothing in charity shops. Both charity shops and thrift stores get their share of less-than-quality items, and they may not have the time or resources to do as thorough a check as they’d like.
In particular, look out for stains (especially at the armpits) and snags to the fabric. Also watch out for any sign of moths having had a nibble or the fabric having been faded by overexposure to the sun.
If you’re happy to repair your vintage find despite all of that, make sure you have the time to actually do it. There’s been many a time when I’ve bought something with the best of intentions to fix or alter it, only to still have it in my pile of ‘things to fix’ months later!
Finding and securing a vintage bargain from the 1960s can be tricky if you’re not careful. From not having any cash or change on you to paying too much for an item, there are a lot of things that could go wrong. Check out one of my previous posts for five tips on finding that treasured garment!
Have you fallen into these traps before? What do you think of these tips? Do you have any others? Please leave any comments below.
If you know someone about to chase after vintage clothing at charity shops or thrift stores, please share this post with them!