What's the best way to assess a vintage clothing shop?

There are many vintage shops in London. If I go into one and have a look around what's the best way to assess whether it's a quality shop and worth spending time and money on?

When buying any clothes,

When buying any clothes, whether new or second hand I always recommend looking at the quality of the fabric and construction of the garment to be sure it will last. Vintage clothing has already 'lived' so it is common to see a little wear and occasionally damage or marks. Some of these add to the character and 'story' of a garment.

Hold up to the light (ideally natural light) and ensure you look at areas of the garment that receive the most wear: check seams and lining to ensure they are strong and not ripped; check underarms, collars and cuffs for any staining; zips and hems for stitching that has come undone; check woolen garments for moth holes and evening dresses or suits for cigarette burns.

If you find any damage or marks assess whether it is something that you can easily fix (e.g a hems that's come undone that) or if the flaws or more serious and therefore more costly to repair (e.g serious rips or unknown marks that are likely not to come out).

When I find a vintage shop that has a lot of damaged or marked clothes that have not been priced with the flaws in mind, I tend not to spend much time (or money) there. It indicates that the owners have either not checked their stock carefully or that they are happy to over-charge their customers for damaged goods. If however a price label reads 'as seen' this indicates they are aware of flaws and are pricing accordingly.

Good luck!

Stay true to your shelf!

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