An Expert Vintage Shopper Spills Her Secrets



As the fashion tide turns inexorably away from fast fashion and towards a more environmentally conscious approach, secondhand shopping just makes sense.

Why get caught up in the latest fad, when the fashion carousel is moving so fast that those exact same looks are probably already sitting in your local consignment store?

One woman who knows a lot about vintage is Ali Carey. We asked her to share her tips on how to shop vintage, but keep it modern.

Consider consignment

I bought this ‘80s Escada blazer at consignment store The Sleeveless Society in Bronte, Sydney. Consignment shops tend to be very curated, especially compared to Vinnies or the Salvos where you’ve got to search through all the racks.

“Make the pieces fit you. I got the sleeves taken up and the waist taken in on this blazer to balance out the big shoulders.”

– Ali Carey, stylist

Mix decades

Some people shop vintage because they love to recreate a particular era, like the ‘70s or ‘80s, but I just search for pieces that I love.I got this dress for $50 from Swop in Newtown, Sydney and I believe it’s super late ‘80s or early ‘90s. The shoes are Jill Sander from Di Nuovo in Sydney’s Paddington.

Be discerning

I started shopping vintage as a teenager because it was fun and cheap, but I’ve become better at it as I’ve come to understand my body and style. Nowadays, I’m more discerning about what I buy. You still need to ask yourself: Do I need this? Do I love it?

Get to know vintage store owners

“Often the people in consignment stores are the owners and they know their stock back to front. Shopping in consignment stores is a collaborative process in a way, and it’s worth getting to know the owners as you’ll always get to see the best stuff.”

Everything that is cool has already been cool.

I bought this boiler suit, which is probably from the mid-‘80s, five years ago at the Anglicare warehouse in Villawood where you buy clothes by the kilo. Now boilersuits have become this crazy trend, which just goes to show that you can get contemporary trends from vintage stores.

Meet The Women Making Thousands From Their Wardrobes



Read more of our guide  to vintage shopping at PRIMER.


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