A couple of months ago I asked Whisty if she would be interested in going vintage shopping with me so I could pick up some tips. Both us girls lead chaotic and busy lives so we only just managed to meet up last week. I’m a fairly useless vintage shopper. I hate having to plough through rails of stuff and don’t seem to have any vision when it comes to customising garments. However I’d like to improve my skills in this area as I have seen so many other stylish women in vintage pieces and it’s an untapped market for me.
Whisty is my heroine when it comes to vintage shopping. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen her in some amazing outfit and queried the details only to be told that it’s a vintage bargain. Tailored white Celine trousers and a Chanel suit are two of her best scores of late, but she also picks up 80s dresses, leather handbags, fringed shawls and all manner of gorgeous clothes on a regular basis.
We met in town and decided to focus our search in Temple Bar, first going to Lucy’s Lounge and then onto Golly Gosh Boutique, which has only been open for a couple of months. I watched as Whisty painstakingly went through the rails, patiently sifting through to find gems. As she browsed I asked her for her top tips for vintage shopping:
1. Check the entire garment for stains and see if they are dry-cleanable or not. If not, then don’t buy it. (Whisty has had some success with carpet cleaner for particularly tough stains!)
2. Check the fabric. On the day we went shopping Whisty picked out a red wrap-around dress she liked. The label stated it was pure new wool, so she knew that once the garment was freshened up and ironed it would hang beautifully and last well. Plus it was only a tenner!
3. Check all zips work.
4. Check seams, lining and stitching. Full lining, weights in the hems, and strong stitching (not merely an overlock) are all indicative of a quality garment.
5. Try it on for proper size. Sizing has changed so much over the decades that the only way to be sure if it fits is to try it on.
5. Patience is key! Whisty goes through all rails methodically, keeping aside potential purchases. This is hugely important as vintage stores are not as obviously merchandised as high street shops so you can find beautiful bargains lurking in the oddest corners.
It was, I am pleased to report, a successful day. I found a cream sequinned cowl neck top for €15. Whisty looked at the label and realised it was 100% silk and from a French shop, so she encouraged me to try it on. It fitted me very well and all I had to do to was remove the shoulder pads to make it perfect. As I’m a sucker for white tops in the summer I couldn’t leave it behind.
Thanks to Miss Whisty for an educational and fun day out. Check out her blog for lots of inspiration and style. Some pics from our expedition below.