Shopping For Vintage Coats & Jackets

Shopping tips for vintage coats and jackets, including where to find them, and condition of products you encounter in your search.

Times were, that if you were searching for a vintage coat or jacket, your choices were extremely limited to stores such as your local St. Vincent DePaul or Goodwill. Both of those are still logical places to include in your hunt for the perfectly styled classic coat, but are definitely not the only ones.

Resale Stores

Consumers today are much more money minded than in times past, and quality clothing is often offered at resale shops, providing the seller with the opportunity to put a few dollars back into their pocketbook. An advantage of shopping for a particular jacket or coat at a resale shop over stores such as Goodwill and St. Vincent DePaul is that the stores will gladly take requests, and often have a board dedicated to customer requests.

Online Outlets

I often wonder what we did before the advent of Ebay and similar online auction sites. An assortment of vintage jacket and coats is available any day, or night for that matter. Disadvantages do apply though when shopping this way. Unless you are familiar with manufacturers sizing, or a jacket or coats particular cut, knowing if a purchase will fit properly is a guess at best. There is also the challenge in knowing if the investment will be rewarded with a coat in as great a condition as was advertised. If you choose to shop this route, be diligent in how you deal with sellers; Shop sellers with high ratings, ask questions before you bid, and do not be afraid to ask for additional close-up photos if you think this can clarify your decision.

Tips for an Online Search

If you have a brand name, such as Pendleton or Marks & Spencer, or a style specific, such as herringbone, tweed, bomber, wool, or leather, that you are looking for, use that in your search. Be as specific as you can be to narrow your search. If you are not able to find a match in this way, then broaden your search.

Estate and Yard Sales

Some of my best finds have been at estate sales. Inexpensive prices matched with the availability to try an item on, only increases the thrill of finding the perfect vintage coat or jacket.

Purchasing Tips

Quality counts, more so than ever, when purchasing a vintage item that cannot be returned. Knowledge of the product's condition can greatly benefit your satisfaction. For example, if the jacket is leather, does it appear that it has been properly taken care of? Is it soft, or does it seem to be stiff to the point that it is cracking? Is the stitching intact, and if not, is it a repair that can be done easily? Are all the buttons intact? If the coat has a zipper, is it functional? Are there any stains or odors that cannot be dealt with? If you are a non-smoker, and the previous owner was a smoker, be aware that this can be a hard smell to remove depending on the coat or jacket's fabric. If the jacket is made of an animal skin with the hair intact, such as a deerskin or cowhide coat, check to see if the hair is falling out. If a jacket such as this has not been worn for decades, and has been in storage, it may appear, at first sight, to be in good shape, but once it has been handled, damage from not being properly stored may be more noticeable.

Size is so very important, especially if purchasing online. Know not only your size, but also your measurements. The more specific you are in this area, the better.

© High Speed Ventures 2011