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Vintage shopping is a great way to fill a sustainable wardrobe and create your own unique style. It is more durable than fast fashion brands. If you hunt in the right places you will most definitely find those hidden treasures. Here are 5 tips to shop vintage clothing with fashionista Zoé Léger.

Words By Jen McDonald

January, 8th 2021

Why is vintage fashion so popular nowadays? Well not only is shopping from second hand clothing stores good for the environment, but there is also something enchanting about wearing garments filled with memories. All of us have our favourite decade that we wish we were born in. Whether you reminisce about the 1920s (the Gatsby-era), which was filled with all the glitz and glamour. A decade like no other where girls wore flapper dresses accessorized with string pearls and feather boas, under the influence of huge fashion icons like Chanel. Or maybe you are more of a ‘60s lover who is into jiving to the Beatles or Elvis Presly whilst wearing your favourite miniskirt or drainpipe jeans paired with your retro geometric printed top. 

Whatever style you have, embrace it, and own it! Searching online for fashion inspiration can be daunting, with thousands of Instagram pages it is easy to lose track of time and spend hours scrolling endless feeds and getting nowhere. But do not fear, Staiy is here to help! If you like the idea of vintage clothing but have no idea where to start, no need to pull your hair out or get your knickers in a twist. These 5 tips from fashionista Zoe Leger to shop vintage clothing will help you out! We teamed up with fashion icon Leger to guide you in the right direction! Leger is a Parisian model and founder of her own Vintage brand ZLV (Zoe Leger Vintage). Her style is very much a mixture of classic and vintage with a chic twist. Staiy talked to Leger and shared with us the ultimate guide to build a vintage wardrobe:


1. Be Patient!

This is the most important thing when shopping for vintage clothing, as Léger explains. “One of my top tips for vintage shopping is to start off with plenty of patience. You can go into different shops and find nothing you like; you need to be calm and try again”. When shopping, you need to really explore around. Go into local charity shops and vintage stores to see what’s new; you’ll most likely rummage through lots of rails before you find that hidden gem. The best way to avoid getting bored and tired is to set yourself a time limit in each shop. If you don’t find anything within half an hour to an hour, call it quits and leave that shop and hop to the next. It is good to keep in mind that more often than not you will leave without a thing but when you do get lucky it will be well worth the wait!

2. Look everywhere

“If you look everywhere then you will find the best pieces” explains Zoé Léger. From vintage boutiques, to consignment stores, and discount thrift chains, there are many types of vintage clothing stores out there. The best way to start is to search online for places which are local to you, check boutique shops, markets, or flea markets. Another good option is to purchase vintage wear online, there are so many second-hand clothing sites like Depop. You can find a lot of great pieces at affordable prices, you just need to shop around. Alternatively, you can go into second hand charity shops and pick-up bargains. Another excellent way to shop sustainably is to swap clothes with your friends! By supporting all these ideas, you are being sustainable and helping safe the planet in the process!

3. Be open minded

“ Be open minded – Sometimes people are afraid of sizing etc,but try on the clothes, you can do a lot of things with them”, Léger tells Staiy. Sizing between brands varies widely—especially when it comes to vintage clothing. The best thing you can do is try on everything you like. Vintage pieces get passed around, and they can sometimes vary in size. Do not go by the size on the tag, this is just an estimated size, you need to try it before you buy it. Unlike other stores that sell new clothing in every size and colour, vintage stores are stocked with one-of-a-kind pieces. Do not go vintage shopping if you are looking for a specific item, because the chances are you won’t find it. Instead, before you shop, scroll Instagram and check out vintage influencers’ outfits you like, and then go on Pinterest and create a mood board for your style inspiration. That way you might leave with some great vintage pieces!


4. Transform it

This year has been a strange one for all of us. But now most of us are working from home and have more time on our hands, why not get your wardrobe in order? Do you have that piece of clothing that you have had forever, but you are fed up wearing it all the time? Well, why not upcycle it? “I love to experiment with clothing to transform it and customize my clothes”, Zoé Légar tells us. You can create your own unique garment by adding details such as embroidery, buttons, or even patches to change the look. You can get lots of inspiration by checking on YouTube or Pinterest for tutorials and ideas on how to customize that retro t-shirt or buy fabric paint pens to draw on an old leather jacket! The world is your oyster, vintage clothes are great to experiment and bring the old and new together!


5. If you fall in love with something, buy it!

“ If you see something you love then by all means go for it, trust your intuition, and buy it”, Léger explains. But there are a few things to keep in mind before you make that purchase. When shopping, always feel the fabric and check if it is in good condition. That way you do not buy something that will later fall apart. Do your research and learn how to tell if an item is in good condition. Vintage pieces are an investment in any wardrobe, they are a valued garment that could be collectible in the future. If you are still unsure what is a good buy or what is not, you can ask people who own high-end vintage shops, or dealers who specialise in this area. They will be more than happy to help out. If you love something, but it doesn’t fit, just remember that vintage piece can always be nipped and tucked to fit your body. Just take it to a seamstress and they can do the altering for you. Before you go shopping, know your own measurements. It is always a good idea to take a measuring tape and some pins with you. Vintage clothes aren’t always true to size and tend to be a lot smaller than modern-day sizes, so ignore the size on the tag. This is just an estimated size made by the shopping assistant. 

Vintage clothing is an essential part of anyone’s wardrobe because it never goes out of fashion. You can create whatever look and style you want by adding your own unique spin on it. Nowadays, there are lots of people who are embracing the retro look by wearing 90s sports t-shirts, like Kappa or Ellesse, because it reignites the memories of their childhood. Vintage clothing represents romance, nostalgia, and a special era in time. It tells a story, every stitch takes us back in time and every pocket holds a thousand memories. That’s what makes it magical. We hope these 5 tips to shop vintage clothing with fashionista Zoé Léger will help you shop till you drop!