Being a vegetarian, I often joke that I would have been a poor hunter back in the day but it’s funny because throughout the years, hunting has become one of my favourite hobbies, and my favourite species are vintage and preloved!
I developed an appreciation for vintage and preloved treasures, as I like to call them, in my early twenties when I moved to Dublin to study PR. I remember stumbling across Oxfam on George’s Street one Sunny Saturday afternoon, whilst searching for an outfit for a fancy dress party and walking out five minutes later with a whole host of other purchases. Needless to say, I was still no closer to finding an outfit for my fancy dress, unless I was considering turning up as Madonna sporting the shiny gold jacket I’d just picked up- circa 1980.
Of course, I didn’t need any of these new purchases and had no idea how I would even work them into my wardrobe – particularly concerning me was the cropped floral jacket that resembled my granny’s couch- but I felt such an overwhelming sense of achievement at having found all my little treasures and for a grand total of €35.00! The feeling was addictive and it’s been one which I have adored repeating over the years.
I realize this might be how many people feel about finding a bargain in Penny’s – and I get that, I do – but lets face it, there’s nothing unique about finding this season’s aztec jacket, and then finding half the country wearing it.
I’m very proud of the precious preloved pieces which I have carefully collected over the years and I really believe in the value that they can add to your wardrobe, just like this dress which I picked up recently for €25 in the Vintage Section at SVP.
I’m often surprised at how many people have never even ventured into their nearest charity shop so I’ve pulled together my top tips for finding these treasures as well some of my favourite shops to hopefully motivate any vintage virgins out there. Here it goes – hope you enjoy!
Clear Your Diary
My first tip is probably the most important one. With the growth of online shopping, we are so used to having fashion at our finger tips but these kind of shops definitely require a lot more patience and most importantly, time. Charity shops especially can at first seem fruitless and often require some heavy rooting before you find something worthwhile. Make sure you aren’t rushing so you can just potter and enjoy the experience.
See The Potential
The majority of items which I find in charity shops do need some after care, a zip here and a tuck there. It’s really important to keep an open mind when it comes to shopping for preloved pieces as you need to see the potential in something. I’ve often bought a dress that’s 6 sizes too big for me, bring it home, take it in and voilà, it’s like it was made for me. Your dressmaker will be your new best friend.
Don’t overdo it
It sounds crazy but I’ve often gotten a bit too carried away on trips to charity shops only to come home afterwards, spread it all out on my bed and realize that I have bought a whole load of junk. It’s definitely better to stick with getting unique and special pieces that you know you can’t get anywhere else – leave the leather jacket that has just seen better days.
Say No to the Shoes
Whilst I have no issues buying an item of clothing in a charity shop and washing it before I wear it, I draw the line at shoes. I purposely just ignore the shoe section in any second hand shop – just no.
Step out of your Comfort Zone
I am often surprised at how many people are prisoners of what they call ‘their style’. Just because you’ve never worn a peach frill taffeta dress doesn’t mean that you can’t start. Sure we all have our signature styles but it’s so much fun to explore different trends and eras and a vintage shop is the perfect place to do so. I love to try on dresses from all eras and imagine the glamorous women who wore them. Don’t be afraid to be different and just keep experimenting. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but what if it does?
When spending money on vintage, you need to be savvy. Some labelled vintage clothes can often cost a fortune when in reality you could get the same thing in a charity shop for half the price. If you are buying an expensive vintage piece then look at the label. If it doesn’t provide info about the era on it, then make sure to ask the relevant questions regarding the origin of the piece, designer, as well as the period. You will know fairly sharpish if the piece is genuine vintage (20-50 years old and up) as any buyer worth their salt should be extremely knowledgeable about the stock in which they are carrying.
Mix Modern with Vintage
I just adore mixing vintage pieces with contemporary fashion like I’ve done here. As all trends come back around, any vintage piece you buy is such an investment and I often find that these pieces look much more authentic that the contemporary hybrid version of the same trend.
Go fourth and explore my friends, and don’t forget to tell me where I should add to my wishlist……
Some of my Favourites
Goose Boutique – Tralee – have yet to call but am following avidly on facebook and instagram.
SVP/Oxfam/Irish Cancer Society- your nearest local is always worth checking out.
Will Flog it – Kenmare – Will has a small preloved/retro section along with antiques.
Hazel Nuts About Vintage– vintage blog and sometimes pop-up shop in Killarney.
Miss Daisy Blue – English Market, Cork – don’t get me started, could spend the day trying on the entire shop and that’s just the downstairs.
Kahlo Apfel – Cork – on my wishlist for the past couple of months- cannot wait!
North Main Street & Castle Street are havens for charity shops and include a unique SVP that specializes in Vintage items.
Harlequin Vintage – South William Street- Vintage Boho heaven- think peasant skirts and cowboy boots.
Siopella– Templebar – very cool designer exchange so bring your unwanted.
Tola Vintage – Templebar – always worth a visit.
OMDiva– Dury Street – gorgeous shop and definitely the place to buy an occasion dress.
2nd Space– Sister store to OMDiva which I have yet to visit.
Lucys Lounge – Templebar- these guys are a vintage institution and have a separate thrift and vintage room.
Oxfam (Vintage Section)– St. Georges Street
St. Vincent De Paul’s – St. Georges Street- it’s rare I go in and come out with nothing- this place is nuts, they even have a random sale for an hour on Saturdays, where they just reduce everything!
FlytheFly Vintage – we found this beautiful Vintage store in Malta this year and they sell online too!
My Outfit Details
Vintage Floral Dress – St. Vincient De Pauls – Dublin
Large Black Choker – Folkster
Gold & Brown Dangle Earrings- Zara
Gold Navigator Sunglasses- Superdry at DV8
Gold Perspex Mules- New Look
Photos by http://www.PawelNowak.ie