Five things to always buy vintage

The days of fashionable travel...

The Union Pacific Pullman car, circa 1950s

Living the vintage life is fun for a variety of reasons, but one of the thing we love most about it is that it’s welcoming by nature. You can engage in collecting as much as you feel comfortable with. For some shoppers, that might mean incorporating a handful of retro items into their life. For others, they aim to create a true time-capsule look, where nearly every detail in their home is period-specific. The only true rule is to buy what you love. When you follow your heart, you shop for joy in addition to purpose.

We admire and respect all points on the scale from a little bit of vintage to the whole enchilada, but there are some things that just make so much more sense to purchase retro. We’re excited to hear your reactions to our list of five things to always buy vintage.

Designer items

Image by David Hilowitz, in San Francisco

Yves St Laurent gown, designed for Dior in 1958

Second-hand designer items are just as exciting as a brand new piece (and in some ways – even more so!). We love the design ideals of Christian Dior, so why not seek out an ensemble that his hands touched rather than a new item that just represents his legacy. It’s amazing how often you can find a designer piece in the thrift shops. Even if you purchase it at your local shop, it’s still possible to get an incredible deal. So go out there and get yourself a bit of history!


You’ve probably noticed a lot of the styles and profiles popular today are the ones made famous during the 1950s and 1960s. While it may take a bit of work to repair a vintage sunglasses find, you often times will save money in the end. And you’ll have a unique set of specs to boot!

As our collecting guide notes, when it comes to these purchases you want to look for six key things.

Look closely at frames – if you see cracks, steer clear; be careful with cleaning to protect your investment; purchase a few different frames – by keeping a rotation you’ll help make them last and be able to create more looks; remember you don’t have to spend a fortune; think about what you really love; and figure out what profiles look best with your face shape.

Image by mollybob

1950s chair and table


Despite all the furniture store discounts and financing options available today, new furniture is still seriously expensive. (Not to mention made with cheaper materials and streamlined construction techniques.) Buying older furniture means you’ll get better quality for typically less money.

While some items may require a bit of TLC or elbow grease, that minor time investment won’t outweigh the economic benefit. The other side bonus of buying retro furniture – you acquire unique pieces with a legacy you get to expand upon.


The best thing about jewelry: it dresses up any basic outfit. Change the jewelry and it’s like changing the outfit entirely. We think you’d be hard-pressed to find another accessory that does more work. In other words, it’s a great bang for your buck.

When it comes to jewelry, the more unique – the better. With vintage, you get so many options to choose from as each decade has its own style personality. Retro jewelry is a staple at flea markets, shops, and thrift stores so happy hunting!

Image from Wikipedia

Bonbon platter

Dishes, platters, and barware

So this last item is three things in one, but you get the gist – when it comes to great dinnerware and entertaining you can’t beat going vintage. The range of colors, quirky designs, and amazing variety make it a great collecting genre.

Set the stage for your next dinner party or cocktail hour with some vintage selections and impress your guests!

Cause A Frockus would like to thank the people who post their images without restriction.

For our readers: What do you always buy vintage?

Replies for “Five things to always buy vintage

  • Ellen Dial

    Vintage is the very best way to get designer and couture pieces at a more doable price point – jackets and dresses are key purchases for this vintage fashion maven. Where else can you get a couture cocktail dress for under $75 – sale shopping is awesome! Even a modest label piece is significantly better constructed than its modern counterpart, IMO.

    Same holds true for vintage/antique furniture and decor pieces. If you’re diligent and patient, you can get some really special things!
    My personal decorating style incorporates more modern, antique and upcycled items.

    Also, NO ONE in the room will have on the same dress! It’s awesome!


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