Welcome to part one (see the introduction/general tips here) of the Half Craft Thrift Manual! This section will cover tips for buying shoes and clothing. Keep in mind my number one rule: if it’s ridiculous, you should at least try it on.
Part One: Clothing
1. Check the condition. Do the zippers work? Are all the buttons there? Stains? Is anything loose? If so, is it worth your time to fix these things?
2. Check the quality. Clothing made before the ’80s was just made better, with some exceptions. You’ll see nicer fabric, stitching that won’t fray and buttons that have a harder time popping off. Do a full once-over. Try comparing a well-made find with something new you’ve just bought from a cheaper store and you’ll see the difference.
See more tips after the jump!
3. Sizes don’t run true. As you may have noticed, modern clothing sizes can vary from company to company. Vintage sizes also need to be taken with a grain of salt. Vintage sizes tend to run larger than you would expect. A vintage women’s size 6 or 7 is probably more like today’s size 3 or 4.
These ’90s jeans were labelled size 7/8 but are a modern 3/4.
4. If it doesn’t fit, what can you do about it? If you’re crafty, can it be hemmed or taken in, and is the price worth the time it would take? If you’re not into sewing, can you pin it with a decorative brooch so it fits? Can you tie it somehow to fit? I have a silver snake chain belt that’s too big, and I tie a little knot in it to get the clasp to fit.
5. Don’t skip the men’s and kid’s sections. Men’s button downs are good for everything from wearing around the house, to tucking into a high waisted skirt, to chopping up and sewing into something new. A little boy’s blazer might fit you well with a 3/4 length sleeve. Similarly, I got a beautiful purple wool vintage little girl’s coat that fits me well with the sleeves coming 3/4 way.
Be like this girl! Look how cute those 3/4 length sleeves are.
Vintage coat at Treat Yo Self
1. Check the condition. Check for flecked paint and scuffs. Vintage heels were often made with a screw coming up through the bottom of the heel to attach it to the rest of the shoe. Make sure the screw is not coming out, you do not want to walk on that.
Yes, these shoes are adorable. And yes, the screws are a-comin’ out the bottom.
2. Check the quality. Same rules as for clothing.
3. Check for comfort. A lot of the popular Oxford style shoes and loafers can be found in thrift stores, and since they are also a favorite of old ladies, you can find some really cushy pairs.
Cushy loafers, mmm.
Thusly ends Part One! Stay tuned for Parts Two and Three, on odds and ends/kitchen and furniture. Feel free to share your own tips in the comments.