Vintage Shopping 101 – Coats and Jackets

Vintage Coat Photo

Finding amazing vintage clothing is one of my favorite pastimes. In this post, the first in a series dedicated to vintage shopping, I’ll share tips and tricks for finding beautiful vintage and resale coats and jackets.

Coats and jackets are a fabulous thing to buy second hand since they give you a way to add a unique look to your modern wardrobe, often at a reasonable cost.

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Vintage vs. Resale vs. Thrift

First let’s talk about the difference between vintage, resale and thrift. To be clear, I think all of these are terrific options, but they are not the same.

Vintage is typically 20 to 100 years old, as opposed to resale which is less than 20 years old but is still purchased second-hand. Vintage offers a way to incorporate fun styles from the past into your wardrobe in a modern and unique way, whereas resale offers an affordable option for buying high quality items on a budget.

On the other hand, thrift clothing is simply extremely affordable second-hand clothing. If you enjoy the thrill of the hunt, you can often find both vintage and high-quality resale items in a thrift store. But you’ll also find plenty of gently (or not so gently) used inexpensive clothing as well.

While I like all three genres, this post focuses on vintage and resale. However, if you’re into it, don’t rule out a good thrift store rummage every now and then. It’s a lot of fun and a great place to find super soft t-shirts!

Tips for Finding Awesome Vintage and Resale Coats and Jackets

Look for Timeless Styles

French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent is known to have said “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” And, I couldn’t agree more. When you’re shopping for vintage or resale items, look for styles that hold up over time. You simply can’t go wrong with an elegant A-line coat, a classic vintage trench coat, a cool leather motorcycle jacket or a sporty vintage bomber jacket.

Avoid Items That Were Extra Trendy at the Time

Items that were extremely trendy at the time they were made can accidentally make you look as though you’re wearing a costume. For example, a full-length patchwork denim coat from the 1970s might be a bit much (even if patchwork denim is making a bit of comeback at the moment). If you choose something extra stylized, be aware of how you’re putting it together and choose it with care. Extremely trendy vintage should be an intentional choice, not an accident you’ll regret when you see photos of yourself wearing it later.

Try Everything On and Use a Measuring Tape

Proper fit can make the difference between looking stylish or frumpy, so try on your vintage purchases if you can. Remember that sizes change over time, so a size 8 today is not the same as a size 8 in 1975. If you can’t try on your vintage treasures, rely on measurements rather than sizes. And, don’t be afraid to have an item altered at the tailor.

Aim for High Quality

One of the great things about resale, is that you can often find high quality designer fashion at an affordable price. Seek out cashmere, wool, 100% cotton, silk, linen and soft leather which will hold up over time and continue to look luxurious and classy even in their second debut.

Inspect for Wear and Tear

Old fibers can get brittle, lose their shape and begin to deteriorate. Carefully check the linings of coats and jackets, put you hands in the pockets to check for holes, button all the buttons and zip all the zippers. Also, check carefully for small holes that may indicate moths have been having a feast on your beautiful jacket and check under the sleeves for discoloration.

My Perspective on Vintage Furs

These days, most of us buy synthetic furs, including me. But the furs used in vintage clothing are often the real deal. My personal opinion is that some poor animal died for that item, so there’s no harm in giving it a second life. In my opinion, a vintage fur is a sustainable decision, since you’re giving the item a second life. However, that’s just me. I won’t judge you if you don’t judge me!

I hope you found this post about vintage and resale coats and jackets helpful! Stay tuned for the next installment coming soon about Vintage and Resale bags!

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Interested in learning more about vintage fashion? Check out these interesting reads on Amazon!

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