How to Shop for Designer Vintage

1 - Look for labels with a history. Fashion houses such as Chanel, Hermés, Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent date back as far as the 1920's and beyond, so look for labels that have a rich past in order to find a real bargain, and real vintage finds. 

2 - check for old labels. Versus by Versace may have recently made a comeback thanks to Christopher Kane, but back in its Gianni Versace days, it provided quirky, cheaper-end fashion pieces that are becoming increasingly more relevant. Look for vintage dresses, bags and sunglasses.

Vintage Chanel chain bag
3 - Find the designs by the designers you love from the past. Tom Ford's stint at Gucci from 1994 - 2004 went down in history, and even though the pieces he designed go for above average prices, it's still possible to find a responsible bargain from time to time. This is just one example of fashion's past making an impact - search out pieces by designers who created their own fashion houses that have stood the test of time such as Yves Saint Laurent for classic, wearable chic.

4 - Check Quality. Make sure the vintage item is in top condition before spending big bucks. Items such as bags and leather goods can even look better after wear and over time, but make sure to check zippers and stitches so it's still a usable (or repairable) piece, for a real bargain, buy something on a low budget and have it reworked or repaired by a tailor - you could even make it into something new inspired by the catwalk.

Vintage Dior cat-eye sunglasses
5 - Scout out vintage stores. You'd be surprised how often you could find a Prada bag or a Burberry cashmere sweater for next to nothing in a good vintage shop. Search for stores that are renowned for selling high-quality, off-beat pieces or speciality stores (such as Chanel vintage) for the best finds - there are many of these stores online, and some online stores have even expanded to include a range of vintage items, such as ASOS who sell vintage jewellery pieces and MatchesFashion, who sell vintage Chanel bags.

Vintage Dior Mens blazer
6 - Know your names. Some labels have changed their name through time. Instead of searching for Burberry, check 'Burberrys' their older name. Rayban is another example of this - they went by 'B&L' back in the day. Hit up the label's Wikipedia page for more information - these lesser known names often go un-noticed.

Vintage Louis Vuitton trunk

7  - Get inspired by the catwalk. Look to the current season for hints at what's made a comeback. Spring/Summer 2011 saw the 70's take over at Marc Jacobs, while Fall/Winter 2010 had a clear 50's influence. Make like the models and look for timeless pieces from these eras that can easily be updated with another trend piece.

Marlon Brando

8 - Search for vintage icons. Stars such as Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot and Marlon Brando had classic, unforgettable style that simply won't date, these stars wore simple classic pieces and sophisticated designer items - a look which is simple to replicate and can easily be affordable when mixed with some high-street classics and your vintage finds.
Vintage Gianni Versace printed tie, still with tags

Some places to look:

Marc Jacobs' 70's inspired S/S 2011 collection

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