Goodwill Hunting: 7 Ways to Incorporate Vintage Pieces into Your Everyday Style

I'm a vintage lover and thrift shopper at heart. I've been collecting my wardrobe from thrift shops, vintage boutiques, and my grandma's closet, for nearly 20 years now and I love wearing one-of-a-kind pieces that no one else has. Vintage clothing, accessories, and those special pieces I've found over the years makes my style unique in a time when fast-fashion makes it easy for everyone to own the same exact items.

I prefer the bigger and grimier thrift shops like The Salvation Army and Goodwill because part of the fun for me is finding that gem of a piece for very little money. Flea markets are great too, as are specialty vintage stores for unique finds, but they're far pricier than your run of the mill thrift shop. Owners of such specialty shops scour the bigger stores where everything is less expensive, then turn around and mark them up double, triple or far more than their original price. Now maybe they are worth it, but again, I want to be the one to find that treasure myself. It's part of the fun!

For online vintage shopping, Ebay and Etsy are the best, but remember when searching, to be specific in your keywords.

My Tips for Shopping and Buying Vintage…
  • Disregard sizes all-together! Throughout the decades, sizing has changed dramatically. Just try on anything you like. If it's too large, you can think about accessories to help it fit better, altering it yourself, or dropping it off at your dry cleaner or tailor to fix it for you.
  • Check for spot stains, underarm stains and moth holes. If the items has any of these, skip it.
  • Look for classic brands and designer labels.
  • Think about washable fabrics vs what you'll have to immediately take to the dry cleaner.
  • Look for one of a kind and unique pieces that will work with your wardrobe.
  • Check for missing buttons and working zippers. These are both replaceable though buttons far easier than a zipper. You can always take the item to your tailor to fix.
  • As a rule, I generally avoid buying shoes at thrift shops unless they are so unique I'll probably just use them for display or they're brand new. Many times you find brand new items, even from 30 years ago, in thrift shops like I did with the 1960′s dress I wore for my wedding reception. With a bit of altering, I made it modern and fit like a glove. Think of all the items in your closet with the tags still on them.

Related: 12 conventional fashion rules you should totally break

Here are some life-changing tips on how to easily incorporate vintage into your wardrobe:

1. Start with Accessories!

The easiest place to begin adding vintage into your everyday style is with accessories. This beaded clutch belonged to my grandma and adds the perfect touch of glam to this little black dress.

2. Coats

Another great way to ease into vintage style is by pairing found pieces with your basics. I found this amazing military coat when I was about 19 years old at the Melrose Flea Market for about $30. It remains a favorite to this day and is more durable than any new coat you'd find in the same price range.

3. Vintage Scarves

This simple green vintage silk scarf works as a pretty belt and adds a pop of color to my shapeless little black dress. Scarves are great because you can wear them in your hair, around your neck, on your handbag, and as seen here, on your waist. Look for stronger fabrics without any holes or stains.

4. Costume Jewelry

If I'm looking for costume jewelry I ALWAYS search for vintage first. Older items are not only better quality, made with better materials and stones, they're usually a fraction of the cost of new costume pieces and are one of a kind. I found these vintage rhinestone necklaces on Ebay for less than $10 each. At that price, you can buy a few and pile them on together to create one statement piece.

5. New Trends from Old Styles

When I started thrifting in the 1990's, clothes and styles from the 1970's were trendy... and now, a few decades later with styles from the 90's trending, it's easy to find pieces at a fraction of the cost of new items, like this vintage floral skirt from the 90's I found for under $5.

6. Blouses

My favorite place to find blouses with great prints are at thrift shops. I've worn this leopard blouse nearly one hundred times, with a variety of different looks and since it's polyester, I just toss it right in the washing machine and dry it with no problem at all.

7. Vintage Sunglasses

Another great accessory to find at vintage shops, are sunglasses. For all the great reasons like they're made better and they're one of a kind, they can also give your outfit a great retro look. These vintage sunglasses were $2.

-By Maegan Tintari

For 5 more ways to incorporate vintage pieces into your everyday style, visit Babble!

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