How to shop for the best vintage clothes on a budget


Bermuda shorts, £45, Retold Vintage; Safari shirt, £45, Retold Vintage;Taupe leather boots, £80, Bird On A Wire Studio; Cotton maxi dress, £160, Edit Second Hand; Re:Dream Vintage Levi’s denim jacket, £52.99, Market Place at ASOS; 60s shirt dress, £85, Rex Vintage Store

Well, a gorgeous pastel suit and a bright Seventies silk shirt later, and – in fear of preaching to the choir – I have a few learnings to share.

First, speed is of the essence. Where I’m accustomed to deliberating, being decisive and open-minded is key to shopping vintage successfully. Case in point: the pistachio Bermuda shorts that weren’t meant to be. After faffing with a measuring tape around my waist, then adjusting the brightness on my screen to analyse the precise shade of pale green, another shopper had already concluded that said shorts were indeed perfect. Cue heartbreak and a learning curve.

Had they not have been my exact size, however, I wouldn’t have written them off. Dresses and trousers can easily be taken in or shortened by a great tailor, so you shouldn’t let a few centimetres put you off something you love, but do factor in the tailoring costs. If something can’t be adapted, or has an unreasonable amount of wear or flaws, most established vintage sites do offer refunds and exchanges, though it’s worth being prepared to resell if they don’t.

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