After years of mastering the art of vintage shopping, Norbyah Nolasco shared with us some of the things she has learnt while searching for those special pieces through op shop clothing piles and vintage stores
Vintage clothing hunting is a full-time past-time for blogger Norbyah Nolasco (pictured above). She shares some some great tips to bring with you to the Rug Lane Vintage and Secondhand Markets this Sunday!
Where you find it determines what you'll pay
My favorite place to find vintage pieces is in a charity or thrift shop. There, you'll pay next to nothing, especially if they're running sales. Vintage boutiques will be better curated and you'll find some gorgeous pieces, but depending on the item, you'll pay a pretty penny. If you're looking for a specialty piece, head to the boutiques. If you're looking for some fun stuff from the 80s or 90s, go straight to the thrift shops.
Learn to sew and be prepared to repair things
Vintage clothing is better made than those fast fashion clothes that you find these days. That said, vintage clothing has been around for a while (proof of it's better quality). As a result, it may not be in the best condition. You should be prepared to care for your vintage clothing (sew on a button, stitch a hem or a lining). I always have a fix pile on the go. It also helps to have a good seamstress who can help you with more complicated jobs.
Jess wears Chambray shirt on sale at Rug Lane Vintage and Secondhand Markets
This is simple. If you like it, buy it. Trust me, nothing haunts you like the piece that got away. Vintage clothing is one of a kind (the prints, the cuts, etc). You'll never find another quite like the one you passed up.
They just don't make clothing labels like they used to. Sometimes you can just tell it's vintage by the label (often embroidered or stitched).
Jill wears vintage Levis denim jacket and Ralph Lauren white trousers on sale at Rug Lane Vintage and Secondhand Markets
How to know if it will fit you without trying it on
Years ago, I learnt a useful tip for knowing if a piece will fit. Hold the waistband up and wrap it around your neck. If it fits around your neck, it will fit around your waist. I've bought many skirts and shorts this way (especially when I'm in places that don't allow you to try on).
The details make the piece
Similar to the appreciation I have for vintage labels, I have learnt that there is nothing quite as beautiful as vintage buttons. Because vintage garments were made during a time before the rise of fast fashion, more care was taken on the little things. Necklines, frills, the lining, piping, rickrack. All of these sweet details are what makes wearing vintage such an obsession!
Amanda wears Catherine Malandrino lace cocktail dress on sale at Rug Lane Vintage and Secondhand Markets
Polyester vs. Natural fabrics
Over the years that I've been buying and wearing vintage, I've learnt a bit about fabrics. Living in Hong Kong makes wearing vintage a challenge, especially when so much of what I've found is polyester. Those hot humid months are not my favorite. That said, polyester lasts. It's not a natural fabric, so it tends to be a little more durable. And the other good news is that in many cases, you can wash it by hand. It is also good to invest in some Febreeze so you can keep it smelling fresh. Poly and poly-blend pieces hold scents in. Natural fabrics like cotton and silk can sometimes be a little more pricey, but I say wearing natural fibres is more forgiving and can be more comfortable. I've learned the hard way to always take these pieces to the dry cleaners. Older cotton garments are not colorfast like our newer garments are. The dyes will bleed. Be prepared to be a regular at the dry cleaners.
Words by Norbyah Nolasco