Vintage Shopping Tips for Bargain Hunters

Whether you love to bargain, haggle, find that killer sale, or cash in on a great deal, vintage shopping can offer you endless options for your hunting needs. Savvy shoppers know how to find the best sales and prices, but vintage shopping is a whole new domain since it focuses on second-hand clothes and thrifty steals.

Vintage shopping, or second-hand shopping, is often associated with rummage sales, racks, and bins of old clothes. However, the trend of vintage clothing and digging for some great finds continues in thousands of cities where the vintage look is in full swing. Those cowboy boots, fur coats, moccasins, ’70s vintage t-shirts, and even 60’s inspired jewelry all come at a price, but at one that can be a unique and exciting shopping experience. Bargains can be found at your local Salvation Army, Goodwill store, flea markets, garage sales, and independent boutiques specializing in vintage styles. Scoping out the territory is a fun venture in itself!

Preparing to scour the racks and bins at your local vintage or thrift store is easy with these tips:

1. Wear comfortable shoes. It’s important to be able to maneuver like a cheetah amongst the racks, so all efforts to minimize shopper fatigue will help you!

2. Seek out Vintage Boutiques. These warehouse-style shops can offer the best picks without you having to rummage through stacks and stacks of old merchandise. Some even operate like retail stores, complete with mannequins, display racks, and tables.

3. Learn to haggle and bargain with prices at flea markets and garage sales. Stake out local venues on the weekends and put your bargaining skills to the test! See Master the Strategy of Haggling for additional tips

4. Learn to find ‘true’ vintage. Look for authentic vintage clothing circa 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.

5. Learn what authentic vintage styles truly are. There are some key traits of 1960s and beyond clothing to be observant about. For example, plastic zippers originated after 1960, buttonholes ran horizontally on men’s shirts until the 1960s, and fabric care instructions didn’t start appearing until the mid-1960s.

6. Remember that there are rarely return policies on vintage clothing! Merchandise is sold ‘as is’ for the most part, so it follows the rules of a ‘buyer beware’ transaction. Take your time to really stake out a rare find.

7. Visit the same store on a frequent basis. By going to the store often and consistently, you’ll easily be able to see new inventory and understand which items aren’t, or won’t, sell.

8. Look for versatility, function, and good fit. Make sure that your picks are consistent with your wardrobe in at least one way; you’ll be able to blend it into your look more easily and pull it off with confidence!

9. Make use of auction sites for research and new ideas. Antique jewelry and other pricier items are best found online through auction sites such as eBay and independent seller sites on Although you don’t to see and feel the pieces directly, secure payments and options for refunds are still available through many sellers. Corresponding with the seller directly is your best option, as it allows for a more trustworthy transaction.

10. Set a budget and consider your price points. Learn to shop smart by creating a working budget for even the best bargains. Avoid spree-style shopping with a realistic budget and parameters that work best for you!

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