MaryAnn Harris
Ottawa, Ontario

Tips for shopping vintage shows

1. Don't determine size by the number written on the original label.
Sizes have shifted. Size 16 in 1950 is closer to an 8 now. Most vendors will label the garments with today's size equivalents, but do try garments on before buying them.

2. Don't expect perfection. "It's vintage, just wear it!"
The odd flaw is to be expected, but you don't want unhappy surprises. These garments have been previously loved & worn, so it's wise to inspect condition - especially zippers, buttons, seams, hems & underarms.

3. The time to buy vintage fashion is when you see it!
Vintage pieces tend to be one-of-a-kind. She who hesitates almost always loses out to someone else. I can't count the number of times disappointed customers bemoaned the fact that they "just wanted to check out the other booths first" and missed out on something they'd fallen in love with.

4. Wear a camisole and tights.
Change rooms are often communal, so don't expect privacy when trying on that flapper dress. If you're shy, wear undies that will keep you covered.

5. Be gentle.
Vintage garments are often fragile. Help extend their life. Don't force zippers and don't try them on over your jeans.

6. Pay as you go.
There are usually different exhibitors at the sale and no central cash, so don't wander too much in case you forget which vendor an item came from.

7. Bring cash.
Many exhibitors only sell at the one event and don't have debit, Visa or Mastercard.

8. Pace yourself.
With so much clothing, jewelry, accessories and textiles for sale, it can take all day to see everything. Stop for lunch, then go back for more. Some exhibitors reduce their prices in the last hour of the sale, so bargains might be found late in the day.

9. Respect the vendor.
If you're going to ask for a discount, offer a reasonable price, and don't get upset if the vendor declines. Think of the hours of searching and loving preparation that went into sourcing and presenting these treasures. This is not an easy gig for vendors, and it's not a thrift shop.

10. Wear a lightweight coat.
These shows can get crowded; you don't want to boil to death as you shop.


Passion for Vintage Fashion

Ottawa Vintage Fashion News group

Vintage Clothing Sale, Capital Clothing Show, etc.