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How to buy vintage + win a vintage voucher

16 August 2016 11 Comments

Fashion and Dress History graduate Gemma Cockshott turned her passion for vintage into a business last year when she set up Just Vintage Clothing Co, selling 1930s to 1980s womenswear online and at vintage fairs. Here she shares her top five tips on how to buy vintage and gives you the chance to win a £35 voucher so you can put your skills to the test.

Just Vintage Clothing Co vintage clothing stall

  1. Date from the detail

“It’s not uncommon for styles to repeat themselves over time, for example did you know in the 1960s there was a resurgence of ‘20s style? There have been a few items over the years that have made me think twice about the dates and it’s always been the smallest details that have given the age away – a hemline or fastening.”

Just Vintage Clothing Co vintage clothing stall

  1. Look for labels

“When sourcing I look for labels as they tell me an awful lot about an item of clothing or even more if they don’t have one. But I am always keeping an eye out for quality, as a label-less dress if made by a gifted dressmaker is often better quality than I can find on the high street.”

Just Vintage Clothing Co vintage clothing stall

  1. Study the social

“The social impact of dress can help give you and any buyer respect for an item – it offers context. When dating an item it’s also really helpful to have an understanding of what a garment would have represent socially at the time. A prime example of this is fashion from the 1940s; if you remember that fabric was on ration, when you start to see where the designer has made clever savings.”

Just Vintage Clothing Co vintage clothing stall

  1. Take good care

“Brighton Museum proved a very valuable resource when it came to learning about storing, cleaning and repairing vintage clothing during my studies.

I’ve learned to be cautious when washing – take a good look at the fabric, some will wash and others won’t. There is a lot of advice online and if in doubt take it to the dry cleaners, who will be able to offer advice. Bringing vintage clothing in always has a risk of moths so freeze everything for 2-3 days to reduce this as there’s nothing worse than seeing a beautiful dress nibbled. Delicate dresses should be stored flat as a hanger can damage the straps of a heavy or fine dress. And finally if folding, use layers of acid free tissue through the garment.”

Just Vintage Clothing Co vintage clothing stall

  1. Find sport in sourcing

“Think outside the box when sourcing vintage. Doing a short internship at Kerry Taylor Auctions made me really appreciate that the source of vintage fashion can be from all manner of unusual places. My best buys have been in charity shops, general auctions and even a church hall sale. Recently I found a Dorset Rex handbag for pittance at a general auction! The problem is, when I find something like that I want to keep it for myself!”

Of course you can’t go far wrong with a local vintage fair, which brings together dozens of sourcing experts, and Gemma is a girl in the know when it comes to events all across the South. To find out where she’ll be popping up next visit www.justvintageclothingco.co.uk. Here are just a few dates for your diary:

9-11 September 2016: Goodwood Revival

18 September 2016: Hammersmith Vintage Fair, PA Antiques

29 September 2016: UCLC Freshers Vintage Fair, Judy’s Vintage Fairs

16 October 2016: Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair

30 October 2016: St. Stephens Vintage Fair, Pop Up Vintage Fairs

6 November 2016: Brighton Racecourse Antiques and Vintage Fair, Love Fairs

27 November 2016: Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair

Just Vintage Clothing Co vintage clothing stall

Win a £35 vintage voucher

Feeling inspired? For you chance to bag yourself a £35 voucher to spend on vintage clothing at www.justvintageclothingco.co.uk simply leave a comment on this blog post telling us what you look for in vintage clothes.

The competition will close at midnight 23 September 2016 and a winner picked at random and contacted via the email address they use to leave the comment during the week commencing 26 September 2016. Contact details will then be passed on to Just Vintage Clothing Co. to fulfil the prize. One entry per person.

Start the conversation...


  • Cath English said:

    An item of clothing that is so individual and that you’ll never see anyone else wearing.

  • Scarlett said:

    I get most of my vintage from charity shops, so the main thing I’m looking for is quality fabric. There’s no point buying a 50s-inspired prom dress that was made in the eighties if its from pure polyester and won’t last the long haul. It’s also good to inspect for damage and wear-and-tear before purchasing, though sometimes this can actually add to the character of a piece! I’m a particular fan of moth-holes in lace for a real Miss Havisham look…

    I also second freezing clothes — everything I find goes straight in the freezer!

  • Anna Birch said:

    I look for flattering, classical pieces in a bold color which I then tome downs with the accessories.

  • Carol said:

    Id look for a lovely dress 40’s style in a really vivid print.. x

  • Mary Baldwin said:

    For me, in shoes and bags it’s the style – whether I like them or not. In clothing however, it’s the fabric – even if the style isn’t right for me, I may well be able to alter it to fit or shorten it and add sleeves from the cut off fabric etc.

  • Kirsty Fox said:

    I love classic pieces but I also like individuality, something that stands out.

  • Ellen said:

    I look for all number of things but unusual fabric and drape are top of the list as they are the reasons I prefer vintage.

  • Melissa Lee said:

    I look for quality – good stitching and craftsmanship which will stand the test of time

  • Daniela said:

    I looking for old memories

  • Anna said:

    I look for anything older than ready-to-wear mass production, i.e. older than 1950s, but still in wearable condition. I love handmade clothing and accessories: the craftsmanship is just beautiful to look and study at, especially garments that date pre-WWII. I also love CC41 items for their history and the clever ways rationing shows in the items. Every vintage item tells a story, and it’s wonderful to be a part of that story by taking care of your vintage and preserving them!

  • bella lauren said:

    This collection of 1940s is really unique ,I just love all the collection.It’s really adorable and amazing

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