Hattie’s Guide To Vintage Shopping
Hattie’s Guide To Vintage Shopping

Hattie’s Guide To Vintage Shopping

Known at SheerLuxe for her fun and eclectic sense of style, Digital Designer Hattie Cotmore is a vintage magpie. Here, she shares how she got into it, her best shopping tips and her current saves…

I've loved vintage shopping for as long as I can remember. As a teenager, I would get the train into Leeds and spend afternoons poring over the rails of Blue Rinse and Pop Boutique. My first vintage purchase was an oversized pastel pink Ralph Lauren shirt with a structured collar. I still have it in my wardrobe at my parent’s house.

I've only scratched the surface in London – there’s a lot to explore when it comes to vintage. Camden is one of my favourite areas to shop. Rokit Vintage is great. Last year I stumbled upon a pink Sandro letterman sweatshirt for less than £20 there and it instantly became one of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe. If you're in the mood to hunt, visit Camden Market. You’ll find a few vintage and antique shops as well as my favourites The Vintage Collection and What Goes Around Comes Around

Don't disregard charity shops. There are some really good ones in London. Traid is one of my absolute favourites and you can find them all across the city. They stock a lot of high-street brands, but many also have rails of more unique pieces. I love vintage shopping on Northcote Road in Battersea – I start at Traid and work my way down to Fara. I also rave about Oasis in Clapham Common. With four rooms of clothing, books and accessories, I rarely walk out empty handed. It also has a rail by the till dedicated to evening wear if you're looking for something formal.

Usually, I’ll find a vintage shop wherever I go. Whenever I'm out of London I simply open up Maps on my phone and search 'vintage' to see what pops up. It's a real lazy girl hack to vintage shopping – not always as fool-proof as doing proper research ahead of time, but it can be more fun. I was in a tiny town in Brittany, France, a few weeks ago and did just this. It resulted in a chic vintage sweatshirt purchase. 

My favourite vintage find came from Paris. It’s a pink floral maxi dress and it’s the ultimate LoveShackFancy dupe – only for €20. Any holiday find is just a bit more special. I (wrongly) thought vintage shopping in Paris would be expensive, but there were some absolute steals to be had. I'd recommend The Kilo Shop and Coiffeur if you're ever there.

I’ve definitely learnt some tips and tricks. For one, always look in the 'bargain buckets' – one person's trash is another's treasure. Also, try things on if you can. Instinctively you'll know if it's right for you, probably before you've even looked in the mirror. If you don't feel good about it, it isn't worth paying for it.

It is worth getting pieces tailored if you really love them. Personally, if I need to take a pair of trousers up an inch or two, the likelihood is they'll be pushed to the back of my wardrobe. However, sometimes you only need minimal alterations, and it is an option worth bearing in mind. I’ve never taken the time to learn how to alter clothes myself, but I’m lucky to have a very talented friend who has brought pieces to life for me.

Always inspect the quality. Check for any hidden stains, missing buttons, rips etc. It's easy to get overexcited and run to the till – I was guilty of this behaviour in Paris and ended up buying a blouse which had only one button! Trust me, it's easy to make a mistake. 

There aren’t any hard and fast rules around price. Try to trust your gut. Look at the brand, if it's high street it's not always worth paying the same price you'd pay new. If you don't know the brand, check the quality and Google the RRP to gauge its value. 

Don't be lured by a good deal. Think about how you'll wear the piece and if it works, or could work, in your wardrobe. Above all, it's about finding something you love, not just finding something for cheap.

Online vintage shopping is great way to dip your toe in. Depop has always been my go-to. Use it like you would a social media app by liking and saving items, and the algorithm will start to reflect your style pretty quickly. Vinted is also great. I find it helps to be specific with search terms: name the exact trainers or the cut and wash of the jeans. It also helps to remember that sometimes product names are misspelt, e.g. if you aren't having any luck with 'crochet dress' try 'croche dress'.

For designer, Vestiaire Collective is your best friend. While I haven't taken the plunge yet, I have an extensive wish list. Keep authentication in mind if you are looking at designer, as most sites offer this service nowadays – including eBay.


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Shop hattie's current vintage saves...

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