Have you ever had that embarrassing moment when you walk into a bar rocking that super cute dress from your favorite store only to find someone else wearing it too?!? Yeah, kinda ruins your night – especially if the other girl looks better than you (ack!).

Talk to almost any stylist or designer, and they will likely tell you one of their favorite ways to get a unique look is to combine new with old. It’s also a great way take some fashion risks without breaking the bank. Finding the right pieces can be tricky, though, so we’ve come up with a few tips to help the novice vintage shopper get started.

Tip 1: Know Where to Go Every good vintage shopper has her favorite places to find the best pieces. We’ve found some amazing designer items at estate sales, but don’t be afraid to hit your local thrift stores for some great finds. Or, if time and location are problematic, shop from your mobile device. We love the eBay Fashion app because it’s SOOOO EASY to find awesome vintage clothes. All you need to do is open the app on your phone or tablet and browse by the “Vintage” category. You can then refine your search by product, price, color, condition, and more! Seriously, doesn’t get any easier than that! We also love that we can get notifications from the Fashion Vault of when there are special sales from some of our favorite vintage and non-vintage eBay sellers.

Tip 2: Examine Your Items CarefullyThis is critical. There’s nothing worse than throwing on that awesome leather jacket for a big date and realizing there’s a hole in the armpit. Here’s a quick checklist:

  1. Check for holes all over the piece, under arms, in pockets, around button holes, and in linings. Some tears can be easily repaired, and maybe some add to that vintage look, so don’t let them be a total deal breaker.
  2. Check for missing buttons – while buttons can be replaced, you probably won’t find an exact match from a vintage piece. And if having an item in original condition with all original pieces is important to you, you don’t want to skip this step.
  3. Run your hand over anything with fur to make sure there’s no shedding.
  4. Check pockets for unsavory items that might have been left there (ew).
  5. Make sure zippers work, but if you simply MUST have that item, zippers can be very easily replaced at your local dry cleaners.
  6. Smell the item – yeah, it’s kinda nasty, but not as nasty as realizing the stink is rubbing off on you!
  7. Check for proper fit. You gotta make sure your items fit and look good on you! As humans, we have evolved over the years – and not just in a psychological or emotional way. Our bodies have physically changed through the years. It’s important to know that a Size 8 from 1958 is NOT going to be the same as a Size 8 today.

Note: Be extra cautious of return/exchange policies when shopping online. Another reason we love shopping with the eBay Fashion app is because of the buyer protection program. If you have any issues with the seller, eBay is there to help resolve them.

Tip 3: Don’t be Afraid to Spend a Little More We know one of the best parts of vintage shopping is getting the awesome deals! That said, sometimes spending a little more on a unique designer item is well worth the investment for serious fashionistas. Do some research, and save up for that awesome pink Chanel coat or other amazing item you found on your eBay Fashion app. Those are the items you’ll treasure the most!

BONUS TIP: Keep a Few of Your Favorite Current Pieces OK, so this isn’t really a ‘vintage buying tip’; rather some good and timeless fashion advice. Hold on to some of your favorite pieces you are wearing now. We know it’s hard to believe, but EVERYTHING always comes back in fashion at one time or another. Just ask our friends from the ‘80s about their neon wardrobes. And, don’t laugh, but we’ve actually seen some acid washed denim in the magazines recently. Even if you don’t have any desire to wear them again, your kids might really appreciate them one day!

Download the eBay Fashion app now!

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