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Levi’s, bargains and fur: Vintage shopping hacks 101

‘Oh shit it was 99 cents’

Living in Newcastle can be a struggle if you’re trying to look like you’ve got your shit together. With everyone looking slick in their North Face puffers, flared jeans and Fila Disruptors, the competition is pretty stiff. Whether you’re trying to out-Rah the Rah, shop sustainably or cut down your spending on fast fashion, vintage clothing sales and charity shops might just hold the answer.

Without further ado, here are the insider tips and tricks on how to come out with a brand new wardrobe…

Be prepared

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As with anything, it’s good to show up early. Whether you have something specific in mind or are just browsing, getting to a vintage sale as it opens ensures you get the best pick of the goods.

It’s a good idea to know your measurements beforehand, especially your waist and inside leg. This mostly applies to trousers, which are sized by waist and leg measurements, rather than traditional UK sizes. This will save you some time rummaging through the racks if you know exactly the size you're looking for, and you won't need to try on five hundred pairs of trousers to find one pair which fits.

It's also good to wear some basic clothing which will look good with anything. Think black jeans and a white t-shirt. That way you can whack on a leather jacket or a baggy jumper and judge how it looks with a pretty standard outfit.

Jeans, baby

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Is there any clothing item more coveted than a pair of vintage Levi’s? Didn’t think so. Luckily, vintage sales tend to have an abundant supply of Levi’s (along with Tommy Hilfigers, Calvin Kleins and Wranglers). The most common waist sizes you're able to find are between W30-42, with smaller waist sizes (W26-28) being much rarer.

A good way to get around this if you have a little waist size is by getting the smallest pair you can find and getting them tailored to fit you perfectly. You can snag a pair of jeans for just £10 and get them tailored for around £12. And if your jeans are too long on you? The Levi’s store will alter the length of your jeans for free (providing they're Levi’s) or for a small fee (think £5), no matter how old they are. And ta-dah! You’ve got yourself a pair of perfectly fitting vintage jeans for around £25 which you can strut around Leazes in.

Don't be afraid to alter your clothes yourself

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Found a T-shirt that’s cute as but way too long for you? Crop it. Found a pair of trousers which look like they were made for you but the bootcut fit in the legs makes you want to gag? Turn them into a pair of shorts. And if it doesn’t work out? You’ve only spent three quid on it anyway. Live and learn, babe, live and learn.

Brands, brands, brands

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Looking like I run a ski chalet in the 80's

If you’re into brands but don’t want to drop £27 on a T-shirt, have I got a solution for you. Vintage sales tend to have an abundance of Lacoste tees, Champion sweatshirts and Jack Wolfskin fleeces (amongst other brands), so you can look the part without spending your student loan in Urban Outfitters. The way that most vintage sales operate is that they charge £15 for every kilo of clothing you buy, but you don’t need to buy a whole kilo. This means that you can get yourself a fair few light T-shirts and fleeces for cheap, and basically hack the system. Suck on that, Castle Leazes.

Making a statement

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Have you ever thought about getting a giant fur coat, a tweed jacket or a ski suit, but didn’t fancy spending a hundred quid on one item of clothing? Vintage sales are a great way to get some fun pieces of clothing for a price tag which won’t result in you living off of rice and beans for the rest of the semester. Most fur coats go for about £30-40, whilst tweed jackets and ski suits go for less (around £20-30), since they don’t weigh quite so much. Many of these items are also built to last, so you’re paying for quality as well as looking like a snack.

Vintage Vera are back in Newcastle on the 4th of March, give them a follow on Facebook and Instagram and check out their competition!