Fill Your Home With Stories & Soul
From home décor to clothing and even everyday essentials, it’s often easier to shop new. However, the question of whether or not you should buy new has become more of an ethical consideration than ever before.
In a culture of excess, we conscious consumers struggle to cut through the noise. The ease and convenience of having the new now often prevents us from knowing the true impact of an item from start to finish: how was it created? Who was involved and how did they make it? Where is it going once we no longer have a use for it and, more importantly, do we even need it at all? All of this and more can make your simple shopping trip truly overwhelming.
A solution? Shop vintage.
“When you fill your space with vintage items, you fill it with history, stories and soul”, says Amanda DiRobella, co-owner of the boutique vintage and handmade shop, Sojourn. She first discovered thrifting when she was a college student on a tight budget but quickly learned just how much of an impact her new shopping habits made. "Not only do I feel passionate about reusing what some people may consider 'outdated' goods but my home feels more like me knowing that the objects are no longer reproduced and sold to the masses. Otherwise these beautiful pieces end up in landfills," says DiRobella.
Although some of us may love the idea of curating our home and wardrobe with one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, knowing where to start and what to buy can certainly be intimidating. Fortunately, DiRobella has garnered plenty of inside knowledge from her years of thrifting and now, as a shop owner, she has a few tricks of the trade for those of us who are just starting out.
Here are five ways to pick your perfect vintage pieces:
1. Embrace the imperfections
A mass manufactured and “perfect” piece lacks character and interest. Don’t worry about the flaws, in fact, DiRobella encourages you to embrace them, “I like it to be comfortable, inviting, thoughtful and mismatched!” It’s the tiny design details that can make the biggest difference.
2. Go for real, not ideal
A savvy vintage shopper is one who shops for the space they have, not just the one they want. “Control your impulse to buy every single thing you like in the moment. Think about your space. Logic and quality over quantity, always.”
3. Do your research
Not all high-quality vintage is expensive, DiRobella warns, when buying vintage items, “don't fall for the price gouge—just because some vintage shops sell a 1970s Levis denim jacket for $150 doesn't mean they should. Do your market research before you let them swipe your card.”
4. Meet your shopkeepers
“Make friends with your favorite vintage sellers. Tell them about that dream and potentially rare item you want for your home and your budget," suggests DiRobella, “Chances are they will be able to find it faster than you because they have the connections. In this business, us sellers love what we do and it’s always a good day when we can find a deserving home for a work of vintage art.”
5. Shop for basics and essentials
Don’t pass up the vintage basics for the more eccentric, standout piece. Chances are, if you aren’t comfortable with it in your everyday you probably won’t get much use out of it. Oftentimes, it’s the everyday items that are a more rewarding find because of their versatility and high-quality.
Great Shops For Unique Vintage Home Finds
Other Times Vintage
Run by two Brooklynites with a passion for hunting down the ultimate vintage find, Other Times Vintage is an Etsy shop that offers Mid Century furniture and home decor. Their self-described, “Tropical Bungalow” aesthetic makes their shop the perfect destination for all things rare and retro.
Found In Attic
Owner and curator of the online shop, Found In Attic, proclaims their “deep passion for forgotten items with a history” and that’s exactly the kind of thing you’ll find here. Shop a wide selection of refurbished furniture and home decor that has a rustic and industrial feel.
The Los Angeles shopkeepers behind The Hunt have an eye and a love for Mid Century style. Proof that all the best vintage shops can be found on Etsy, check out The Hunt for a handpicked selection of high-quality designs with a little bit of Hollywood glitz and glamour thrown in for good measure.
About The Author
Katherine Oakes is a professional writer, editor and aspiring environmental advocate based on the East Coast. Her passion for sustainability and the outdoors comes only second to her love of really good tacos. She has written for various publications and brands including, Huckberry Journal, REI’s Adventure Projects, Pure Green Magazine and more. Offline, you can find her teaching yoga or blogging about her wholehearted attempts at sustainable living at The Basic Goods.