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Vintage Finds of Summer 2018

It's been a good summer for thrift shopping, both at the monthly 613flea markets and my local thrift stores so I wanted to dedicate a blog post to my summer vintage finds. I especially enjoy vintage items in the summer because they're a lot of fun to wear: big full skirts perfect for twirling, whimsical prints and colours to match the cheery, sunny weather.

I also wanted to share some tips when shopping for second-hand vintage that I like to call: How to tell Vintage Finds from Old Crap. Read on for my tips + outfits from a weekend trip to Niagara!

Tip #1: Look at the tags to understand the materials - cotton, silk, etc.

Even some solid quality polyester has been good to me, like the skirt in this outfit below.

Vintage sunhat from Lady Arkenstone Vintage at 613flea
Mustard ruffle top from H&M (thrifted)
Pleated skirt from vintage Liz Claiborne (thrifted)
Brown sandals from Massimo Dutti

This navy pleated skirt was an awesome find. As previously mentioned, one big reason I go for vintage skirts is that all the waists are "high-waisted". The length is ladylike but not dowdy, and the full skirt is definitely suited for twirling. It's 100% poly and completely wrinkle-free, holding up its pleats even after being shoved into a suitcase. Perfect for travel! Additionally, this sunhat is another wonderfully vintage find from one of the summer's 613flea markets. I already had other sunhats but this one with its lighter and brighter colour, vintage feminine shape (more oval instead of round and front brim slightly wider for better coverage), and the navy grosgrain ribbon bow, all made it very hard to say "no". I actually walked away from the vendor but ended up going back for it! If you can't tell, a sunhat is my go-to summertime accessory and I like to thoughtfully select the right one out of my collection to flatter each outfit.

Tip #2: Look for unique details such as intricate buttons and good stitching.

Even though you can always replace buttons, good buttons are usually a sign of quality. Furthermore, as with the outfit below, lots of times it's those little details that make the ensemble stand out!

Porkpie hat from Urban Outfitters
Coord set from Rinude at 613flea
Vintage gold knot earrings from Sarah Coventry (thrifted)
Sandals from Massimo Dutti

This blouse + high waisted palazzo pant combo was my only clothing purchase at July's 613flea, but I still left that day a happy shopper. I immediately fell in love with the poofy sleeves and the big collar, but it was the little round buttons that perfectly matched the striped and dotted print that sealed the deal! Plus, I love how when worn together, it's a seamless, romper-like look, but they are still separate pieces so I'll be able to mix and match with other tops and bottoms to create different looks.

Tip #3: Look for classic styles that will stand the test of time. 

One of the click-baity listicles I always click into are those where daughters wear their mom's old prom/wedding dresses. I really enjoy seeing how stylish items stay stylish throughout the years! This dress below reminds me of the dresses that my mom wore when she was younger that I wish we could've brought with us so she could pass them onto me now.

Sunhat from Winners
Vintage gold knot earrings from Sarah Coventry (thrifted)
Vintage midi dress (thrifted)
Sandals from Massimo Dutti

This dress has been my go-to for long car rides because of the comfy material and the longer length. White buttons down the side and the matching white buckle on belt speak to Tip #2 as well!

Tip #4: Don't be afraid if it's not perfect off the rack. 

Take a closer look to 1) see if there is good potential for the garment (see first three tips), 2) assess the skill level required for alterations (can you do it yourself? or do you need to take it to a tailor? is it worth the additional tailoring effort/cost?) The blouse below had these horribly long, boxy sleeves, but it looked like it was a good piece (100% cotton, Made in Canada tags, cute pearly buttons and fun summer print, classic button-down blouse shape) and it was a super quick alteration (fold the sleeves twice and stitch in place).

Vintage dotted blouse (thrifted)
Garage high-rise distressed denim shorts (thrifted)
Aldo brown cork sandals (thrifted)

This blouse is actually one of my favourite little pieces, I call it my strawberry blouse. I went for the obvious "Daisy Duke" look here but it'll also look cute under a pinafore dress or layered under a sweater with just the collar peeking out.

In addition to the 4 "Do's", there's a couple of "Don'ts" I want to share as well:

Beware of the following pitfalls!!

  • Avoid items that have stains, rips and tears. Garments that are damaged are rarely worth the restoration cost or effort. No matter how cute it could've been, tell yourself to move on! 
  • Avoid items that look too "costume-y" (unless it's for a costume). In my experience, costume-y pieces are items you might wear once for photos but they don't ever really get integrated into your closet, so you never end up wearing them again. 
  • Don't be blinded by the brand. Sure, checking the tags to see the brands can be one way to get a sense of the quality of an item, but it's not a guarantee, and you might find yourself in the pitfall of "but its [designer]!" 
BTW I'm not immune to these pitfalls and I'm only able to come up with this list based on my own experiences.  Once, I saw a pair of Burberry boots in Vancouver but the soles were completely worn out. It was an internal struggle of "omg it's my size, it was meant to be" and "it's going to be so expensive to try to fix...if it's even possible" and "BUT IT'S BURBERRY asdjkflsdjf". Somehow I convinced myself to walk away but that was a year ago and I still think about those boots sometimes :(

More recently, I tried on this vintage Neiman Marcus dress that I literally had to laugh myself out of purchasing:


"THAT BOW IS BIGGER THAN MY HEAD LOL" -- was the point I kept reminding myself when the other little voice was like, "but B&W is so classic" and "it's in great condition" and "omg it's so unique" YEAH BUT THE BOW IS BIGGER THAN YOUR HEAD GIRL MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE.
It was hard but somehow I managed :P

Hope you enjoyed this post! Thanks for reading :)