Love scouring thrift stores and yard sales for unique, retro finds to boost your wardrobe? You’re not alone. If you haven’t noticed the vintage clothing craze over the past couple of years, you haven’t been paying attention. This latest trend offers many benefits, with especially Gen Z and millennial shoppers seeking pre-worn clothes to save on today’s higher clothing prices, to help the environment by recycling clothes — and to enjoy the sheer fun of discovering truly unique retro items that look amazing and connect to a history, whether of an individual or an entire fashion movement.
If you’re one of the many shoppers on the vintage trend bandwagon, here are some tips to help you find and enjoy your next discoveries.
1. EMBRACE THE TREASURE HUNT Shopping for vintage wear in specialty boutiques can often miss one of the main goals of the pre-worn clothing craze: finding amazing bargains. Instead of visiting pricey boutiques or spendy online marketplaces, search for your next wardrobe must-haves in places like flea markets, clothing swaps, costume shop sales, estate and garage sales — not to mention the closets of your relatives! Family members looking to downsize, de-clutter and give away clothing may be grateful if you take some items off their hands.
2. REFRESH YOUR FINDS A major downside of vintage shopping is that the clothing you find can have a musty smell after years in a closet or drawer — and a single wash may not get rid of it. Fortunately, you can use a product that’s scientifically formulated to remove the source of odors trapped in the fabric: Downy Rinse & Refresh, a deep cleansing fabric rinse safe for every load, designed to remove odor three times better than detergent alone.
One in three households surveyed say their number one laundry issue is malodor — in other words, unpleasant smells. Downy Rinse & Refresh helps combat malodor, is safe for all fabrics including specialty garments, and is gentle on skin. Just pour Downy Rinse & Refresh directly into the fabric softener drawer or agitator cup, or add directly into the rinse cycle (depending on your machine) to eliminate deep-set odors in the first wash, every time. You can even use it to refresh all your clothing — especially items like workout gear. Using this product can help your vintage finds smell fresh and new, without heavy dyes or perfumes, while also helping improve fabric color, softness and brightness.
3. TREAT UPCYCLED GARMENTS WITH CARE For garments that have been around for a while, and may even be missing washing instructions, it’s best to treat them with extra special care to make them last. Wash vintage items in cold water and make sure to use the delicate cycle to help prevent damage. Depending on the type of fabric, drying on a lower-heat cycle, hanging up or laying flat to dry may also help your garment stay beautiful even longer.
4. REVAMP AS NEEDED Some retro finds may be missing a button or two, or may not fit you perfectly, but because they’re unique it may be worth a little effort to make them work. If you can’t match a button’s appearance, consider using a variety of vintage and/or whimsically mismatched buttons instead, as long as they’re the right size. And if the clothing needs a shorter hem, another minor alteration or repair, and you can’t sew, perhaps a relative or local tailor could help out.
Use these tips to find and care for whatever you discover the next time you search for amazing fashion pieces from a previous era. Adding vintage clothing that really speaks to you helps your wardrobe better reflect your unique personality, and after all, the hunt is half the fun.