Lulu's Vintage

How To Shop For Vintage Part I : Sizing & How To Take Your Measurements

The Style CouncilLuluComment

Shopping For Vintage Clothing At Brick and Mortar Vintage Stores.

When shopping at a brick and mortar vintage store for vintage clothing don’t look at the size on the clothing label (clothing sizes have drastically changed over the decades [For example a vintage size 16 will be equivalent to around a modern size 10]). Look instead for the measurements on the tag that the store has provided. If the store hasn't provided the measurements on the label you can request for them to take them for you. If they aren't busy some store owners will be happy to point out items on their racks that might work for you.

Don't be offended if you pick up an item of clothing and want to try it on and the owner of the store hesitates. Most owners of vintage stores are very knowledgeable about the sizes and fit of their clothing. They are not trying to offend you when deferring you away from an item. If you oppose a store owner and try something on against their wishes and end up ripping, tearing, or ruining a garment you may be held responsible for paying for the total cost of the garment or the cost of the repairs that need to be made.

With that in mind...KNOW YOUR MEASUREMENTS.

Ladies please take note that your bra size is not your chest size! The measurement for your bra is taken under your breasts. For example if you are a 36 C this does not mean that your chest measures 36”, it is actually larger. To take your chest measurement measure around the fullest part of your chest.

Women used to wear their clothing at their natural waistlines, which is higher than most women now wear their clothing.  To take your waist measurement measure the smallest part of your waist.

To take your hip measurement measure the fullest part of your hips approximately 7-8” below the waist.


Whether shopping in the store or online you will want to allow yourself a little wiggle room in your clothing.


Shopping For Vintage Clothing Online.

When shopping for vintage online you will need to know a lot of additional measurements such as shoulder width, arm length, inseam, etc...

Sellers vary in how they list sizes and measurements. Check their policies to see how they do things and to see what tips they give in terms of getting the right fit. Often times online sellers will recommend that you measure for comparison a piece of clothing that you already own, like the fit of, and is a similar cut and style to what you are looking to purchase.

Be sure to get as many measurements as possible from the seller before making your purchase. When shopping online don’t buy clothing that you think will barely fit!

Be sure to ask questions before making your purchases online. It is common for both online and brick mortar vintage stores to not accept returns or exchanges.


About Lulu

These are all tips that spring to mind from my years of experience in vintage selling, buying, collecting, and blogging. My first experiences of selling vintage clothing were at vintage markets and an antique mall in the mid-nineties. My first brick and mortar store was in Portland, Oregon from 2001-2003. I have had the current incarnation of my store here in Portland since October 2010. I sold vintage clothing online on my own website from 2006-2010. In 2014 keep your eyes peeled for Lulu's Vintage store to return to selling online! I have been blogging about vintage on Lulu's Vintage blog since January 2006.

What are some sizing & measurement tips that you have learned from buying or selling vintage clothing? Please leave a comment and share your advice!

This post was originally published on December 30, 2013.