Whole Parenting Family

Vintage Shopping Tips from My Girlfriend

I took a little field trip with my two great girlfriends (and one babe) over to Rewind, a vintage boutique with two locations in Minneapolis. (They were kind enough to let us snap pics inside!)

vintage fashion

Mary has a flair for hunting out the best styles and deals. She’s a believer that you don’t have to shop the mall to find high quality deals, in fact you probably won’t find them there. Treasures abound in vintage shops! Cynthia & her babe, Mary & her baby belly, and I set off to find some of those treasures together.

We entered the shop and I was pretty overwhelmed. So much everywhere!! Good thing Mary reviewed her quick list for vintage shopping rules with me that are so helpful for the mom on a budget who wants to still look fashionable.

1) Look beyond the size of the article of clothing.

vintage fashion

vintage fashion

Buy “off sizes” for deals.  Use a belt to turn an extra large tunic into a flowing shirt dress with leggings. Don’t rule out petites or longs. Tailoring is always an option. Tunics and sleeves that flow: always a chic look (regardless of how bloated you feel that day;). If you are pregnant or nursing, you can avoid many of the costly maternity items by simply finding a larger size that’s flowing.

Buy fewer items, but buy smarter. A quality wardrobe is best built one item at a time.  Go for that “gem.”

2) Rock the pattern.

vintage fashion

vintage fashion

Look for patterns that draw the eye in different directions. Confidently wear zigzag or diagonal stripes. Timeless looks are great! If it’s never in style it will never go out of style.

{Can we all agree how gorgeous this glowing mama is in this dress??!!}

Foreign is fabulous. Snag anything that is clearly from another culture. Unique & eclectic, it’s a conversation piece. Hand knit sweaters, handmade purses–learn the story behind the culture–it’s a great way to engage globally.

3) Real fabrics, real materials.

vintage fashion

vintage fashion

Real the labels and try to find whole materials, meaning it’s really leather, silk, 100% cotton, or 100% wool. They last longer than rayon and lycra, and will keep their shape and classic feel! Old is Gold. Root out those classic pieces that were made before the dawn of cheap clothing. Check Grandma’s closet.

4) Accessorize boldly.

vintage fashion

vintage fashion

vintage fashion

Spruce up with a few accents pieces.  Think outside the ‘utilitarian’ box while eyeing durability and longevity.  Good sign when a purse has a liner! Love handmade items. It’s okay to go for the costume jewelry that’s fun and inexpensive and perfect to dress up an outfit!

But when you’re examining vintage jewelry, keep an eye out for natural “from the earth” wood, rocks, marble, beans, feathers, shells, pearls, amber, metals. They’re going to last you a long time.

Accessories bags/shoes/scarves. Punch items. Bold colors. Fun patterns. Previous rules apply.

5) Quality staples.

vintage fashion

vintage fashion

Always keep fresh plain white T’s and camisoles. A quality bra goes a long way, as does a regular restocking of cotton undies. Wool socks for the Midwest winter will earn their appreciation from warm toes. A favorite boot is Frye–a quality investment in a pair of boots that can withstand a lot of use. Minnetonka Mocs are some of the best moccasins around, too!

If you know a brand of pants {hardest item for me to shop for!!} fits your body shape, hunt those down! 7 jeans, Banana Republic, whatever your body likes!

6) Take your girlfriends with you.

These gals–such great advisors! They picked a stack of fun things and we all had a great time encouraging each other to do more and go further into vintage lurve. I realllly wish this velvet navy dress had fit me!

vintage fashion

vintage fashion

Maybe you’re a vintage genius too–any tips to share with me?


  1. Megan on October 29, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Fun! I have so many memories of Mall-shopping with Mary. It’s funny how we went our separate ways in our early 20s and now we are both rocking the Vintage!

    • Mary on October 29, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      Megan!! We had to hit the malls, it was the 90’s-ha! Fermenting, herbs, spirit, vintage clothing..girl, we’re soul sisters.

      • Natural Mama Nell on October 29, 2015 at 8:49 pm

        Love it!

    • Natural Mama Nell on October 29, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Love it so much.

  2. Susanna on October 29, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Well, next time, I want to come! 🙂

    • Natural Mama Nell on October 29, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Heck yes!

  3. Katie on October 29, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Nell, I love this! I only wish that awesome looking shop was a little closer to Illinois! I am a huge fan of finding second hand and vintage treasures and mixing them in with basic staples- I get so many compliments and people are often bummed that they won’t be able to find the item in stores :). I recently inherited some awesome clothes from my Granny and the advice that I give people about wearing vintage clothes is to 1. clean the item carefully, 2. don’t be afraid to repair/dye/alter the item, 3. wear it with confidence, and 4. find accessories that compliment the era/style. If you are interested of some pictures of my Granny’s dresses I regularly wear, I blogged about it here: Granny’s Closet Let us know if you find any more vintage treasure troves!

    • Natural Mama Nell on October 29, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      LOVE it!

    • AnneMarie Miller on October 30, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      Katie, thanks for linking up your blog post! I loved it!

  4. AnneMarie Miller on October 29, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    YES!!! This is wonderful!!! I especially love finding those “dives”-the small shops that nobody really goes into or knows about, because you can find some killer deals and it’s a lot more intimate (I love getting to know small business owners as I look around in their shops!).

    I would expand off of #1 on this list and say that looking past the very clothing item itself (even if it’s something that you don’t think looks attractive on the rack) is really important, because things can surprise you! I once saw a dress that at first didn’t grab my attention, and I wasn’t sure I liked the fabric. The tag stuck out at me, though, because it mentioned “for the barefoot flowerchild of yesterday and today,” which pretty much sums me up. I knew I HAD to try it on then, which I did, and totally fell in love with and bought the dress!

    • Natural Mama Nell on October 29, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      So smart. Love it! Such a flower child 🙂 Kindred spirit!

      • AnneMarie Miller on October 30, 2015 at 12:29 pm

        Yes! Catholic hippies unite! : )