Wednesday, 17 November 2010

How to shop the vintage fairs

By guest blogger Laura Davies, visit her exquisite blog here

Vintage fairs can be pretty scary places to the novice shopper; endless stalls, piles of clothes everywhere and manic bargain hunters with sharpened elbows. As a hardened vintage shopper I’ve developed a few techniques that have helped me score some real treasures, all with military precision:

Set A Budget: It’s all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all and want to spend spend spend. The best thing is to work out your absolute maximum you can spend, get it in cash (keep it in a safe place obviously) and LEAVE YOUR CARD AT HOME! This means that you’ll really consider what you’re buying and you’ll end up with wonderful things that you’ll wear year after year. And your overdraft will remain untouched, hurrah!

Go With A Group: It’s always lovely going shopping with your friends but at a vintage fair, they really come in handy. When you get into the fair, split up. Especially if the fair is huge, it can be difficult to see all the stalls so if you and your pals spread out, you can cover more ground. Look out for things your friends might like and get them to do the same so that when you get together, you can direct each other to that stall with “the amazing dress that would look amazing on you”

Know Yourself: I did just quote Ashlene from Big Brother but it’s important to know what you like and you don’t, what suits you and what doesn’t etc. All too often I’ll be persuaded to buy something that doesn’t quite fit just because it’s cheap and I’m buzzing off all the bargain hunting. Don’t fall into that trap! It may seem like a good idea to buy that 80s sequinned batwing jumper because it’s only £1 and it’s got a zebra on it but will it go with that 70s maxi dress you just bought? No. Buying things for comedic value is also not good.

Do Your Research: Research is the best way to find the real gems. If you’re on the quest for an early 60s dress worthy of Betty Draper, look into the fabrics and the patterns of the dresses of that time. That means that you can do a quick scan of a rail and spot what you’re looking for instantly, just by looking at the sleeve of a garment. A seasoned shopper can tell a ‘good’ rail from a ‘bad’ rail at 20 paces.

Always check bargain buckets: This is pretty self-explanatory but it’s really worth having a quick look in bargain boxes and sale rails. Most of the time you’ll resurface empty handed but once I found a pair of 1960s cream vinyl ankle boots at the bottom of a basket. Got em for a tenner, cracking.

I hope these tips will serve you well when you hit the next fair near you. Good luck and God speed!

This blog post was brought to you by Laura Davies (guest blogger of the week!)


  1. Thank you for posting this!
    If you liked this (please like this)have a gander at my vintage blog here:


  2. oh Laura, so sorry, I've now posted links to both ends of the blog, loving your work, you should do more for us and we salute you!

    Judy x

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  4. awesome tips! i just loved reading this! =)