How To Buy Vintage Fashion

Do you want to invest in good vintage clothes but have no idea where to start? We spoke to model and vintage lover Elinor Weedon to get the low down on how to buy vintage fashion.

Elinor Weedon is a British Model whose face you’ve probably seen if you have ever shopped at Ninety Percent or Peopletree. Of course she also shoots for glossy mags like Grazia, Phoenix and the Telegraph but she’s more than a pretty face. Ever since childhood, thanks to her Grandmother, she’s been a passionate vintage lover. Summers in Cornwall were spent sourcing vintage fashion with her Grandmother to sell in her boutique. She recently launched Vintage Elinor to express her creativity through vintage. As well as styling inspiration, many of the pieces that she features are also available to buy and rent through Loanhood. We couldn’t think of anyone better to take us through the tips and tricks to buying good quality vintage clothes.


Be prepared to travel to find good Vintage

For my vintage Instagram site, @VintageElinor I travel back home to Cornwall and go to the car boots and markets there in the Summer. When I’m away, my Grandma, who used to own a vintage shop, goes to them for me and I collect them when I’m home.

Heading outside of London, go to a small country market or car boot sale. You’re bound to find something amazing and unique for an affordable price. A seller in London is more likely to know the value of an item so you’ll often pay more.

In London, it’s really worth looking in charity shops in expensive areas. They are normally peppered with modern clothing but I have found some real gems. I really love the Mary’s Living and Giving shops too, one of the best is on Upper Street in Islington. A friend of mine owns a vintage shop in Walthamstow called Gigi’s Dressing Room, that is really worth going to.

Dip your toe in by purchasing something timeless

I think a good place to start is a winter coat. You can’t go wrong buying a good wool coat or a Burberry rain mac if you can find it. I also think shoes are a good way to start, such as leather brogues that you can wear with jeans and dresses.

If You’re a vintage virgin, Buying In Person Is Better

Buying in person is always better because you can get a feel for the fabric and fit. Get a taste for what you like and what fits you well and then move on to online shopping as there is often more choice here.

If you do purchase online, don’t be afraid to ask questions

If you’re buying direct from Instagram or eBay try and look at the reviews of the seller. Are they responsive? If you’re not sure about an item ask for more photos before you buy it. Ask specifically for the care label with the fabric content. It’s also important to ask if there’s any damage to the piece.

Look for designer labels or handmade pieces

I tend to prefer a 60s/70s look because that’s more my style. I really like vintage Chloe or Isabel Marant but they can be hard to find. In general, it’s always a bonus if there is a high end label on a garment because it means its good quality therefore it will last longer. I always try and look out for brands that are no longer available like Frank Usher or Biba. It feels like you’re buying a piece of history. I also like looking for handmade items. You can tell this by the way that it’s stitched together. I love the idea that someone put a lot of effort into making an item.


How To Buy Vintage Elinor Weedon Velvet Jacket

Image: @vintageelinor / Nic Ford

Fabric is a good sign of quality

Always, always, check the label for what the fabric is, or ask before you buy online A lot of sites or shops selling vintage will say something is silk, for example and try and charge you for silk but really it’s a blend or something else entirely. You want to know what you’re paying for. Check if a label has been deliberately cut off too, as that often means it was from the high street with a vintage look. If you like the item anyway and you want to buy it, that’s fine, but make sure you haggle the price.

How To Buy Vintage Elinor Weedon Dress
Vintage pieces can be styled to feel fresh and modern

I really think it’s about mixing it up and playing around until you find your style. Vintage is amazing because it’s a great way of discovering a new look you want to try without breaking the bank. Try boyfriend jeans and a lacy Victorian top or a vintage dress and white trainers. Be careful with the shapes you buy. The 80s style is coming back but make sure those puffy shoulders suit you before you take the plunge!


Look past pieces with damage, these can be mended

For a lot of vintage, because of obvious wear and tear, it will need to be fixed or altered. My trick is to use a tailor or dry cleaners in an up and coming area so that it’s cost effective. Ripped seams, buttons and hemlines are the easiest to fix. If there is a broken zip make sure it’s not on a lined item, as that is more work to replace. Try Clothes Doctor for convenient mending and alternation services


Disclaimer: The people and models in the images featured are not associated with The Vendeur and do not endorse it or the products shown. This post may contain affiliate links. Prices correct at time of publishing.