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Vintage: How to Shop

how to shop vintage whippoorwill road home company

Once upon a time shopping was totally my thing. Weekends at a mall were just who I was and it brought me so much joy. I was the girl who worked at her favorite store and used the discount for more than her paycheck. But times, priorities and people change. Now my clothes are much less of a priority and my dollars have to go much further. Plus the older I get the more I want things that are full of charm and character.

I might shop differently these days but I think it’s even more fun. I shared earlier this week how Vintage shopping has been our thing for a long time but today I’m sharing 6 tips to help you in your own Vintage search…

1. Shop with your heart first. Unless you are trying to invest in priceless antiques, just go for what you’re drawn to. I honestly think this is the best tip I can give you. If your heart skips a beat when you see it and it’s in your price range, take it home. You’ll find a use for it. This might be contradictory to all those decluttering, minimalist advisors out there but I’m not telling you to hoard everything you kind of like, I’m telling you when you are looking for something vintage, get what you like. Easy enough?


2. Check your Expectations: If you are going looking for something that is super specific only, you might never find what you’re looking for. Let me explain this one. You might need a dresser that is a specific size, that is not what I’m talking about. We must be practical. What I’m talking about is taking a picture of a 1920’s empire dresser in a mahogany finish with brass hardware that is 2 inches wide and only accepting that. You’re never going to find it. Go with the expectation  “I need art for my bathroom,” and be open to what that art might look like. It could be a painting, a basket, a piece of fabric, or an architectural piece. When your expectations are in check, your success is more achievable.

3. Do you need to use it now or are you willing to DIY? Really think about this before purchasing. This is going to affect your price range too. If you need to take it home, put it in your home and live happily ever after you’re looking at very different things than if you want a project piece you’re willing to refinish, paint or just clean up. Go in knowing what you’re willing to do (and not willing to do) and you’ll have an easier time finding what you’re looking for.


4. Really check it out: Not all pieces are created equally and not all dealers are either. The more you shop specific places, the more you’ll really get a feel for the quality certain stores offer. This really goes in line with what you answered in #3. Check to see it it’s sturdy? Is there cracking veneer? Do the drawers work? (Some sticking or resistance is normal in a vintage piece, just make sure it’s functional) Will it fit where you need it? Thee are just a few questions to help you inspect.

5. Know where you’re shopping. There is a difference in thrift stores and antique/vintage stores but I think the internet voices confuse these. They are both “Second Hand Stores” of sorts but a thrift store is usually donated or salvaged items. An Antique or Vintage store is typically a collection of small businesses and dealers under one roof who carefully curate their goods (often “second hand,” but also handmade, refinished and a mix of new too) The prices will vary because the shopping experience will vary. Now, some thrift stores are super nice and if we’re being honest, some “antique," stores are just are really just things that haven’t sold in a bajillion years; aka an indoor yard sale. I’m not saying one is better than the other, I’m just saying be aware of what type of store you’re in and check your expectations accordingly.


Bonus Tip: Get to know the dealers at your favorite antique and vintage stores. If you are looking for something specific there is a really good chance they can help you find it!

6. Be consistent. Yes, there are those days when you can walk into your favorite store and find exactly what you need but there are also droughts in shopping. Don’t give up your hunt; that is part of the fun. Keep  at it and you will find some amazing treasures!

But here is a bonus, bonus tip- shop with us! Online anytime and in Eagleville and Woodbury! We’re also glad to help you find just what you need. Let us know how we can help! 


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