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One look at Weepah Way owner Constance Baker's perfectly worn vintage Levi's—or for that matter, one look at the curated stock in her Highland Park shop (which at any given moment might include floaty nightgowns, show-stopping 1970's maxis, or breezy blouses)—and it shouldn't be surprising that we'd come to her to learn how to shop for prime previously-loved pieces.
As a longtime vintage vet (before Weepah Way, she was a purveyor in the music festival circuit with her pop-up, Sew It Goes Vintage), Constance knows a thing or two about what it takes to find mint-condition goods, whether it be when sifting through overstuffed cardboard boxes at a flea market or browsing racks at a local thrift store. So if you're game to find that needle in a proverbial haystack, but don't quite know how, read on to learn the babely boutique owner's top tips for tracking down vintage gold. And if all else fails, you can always just head into her shop—where she's already done the dirty work.
What: Have a game plan
Why: Whether you're hunting for that perfect vintage pair of denim or a dress for a special occasion it's best to have a strategy in place. Thrift stores, flea markets, and even well-organized vintage shops can be incredibly overwhelming. It's easy to get thrown off course when there are racks upon racks, piles upon piles that may have hidden treasure lurking in their midst. I can assure you if you stick to what you are looking for it will be less time consuming and far more rewarding in the long run.
What: Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty
Why: Shopping for vintage clothing is not always as glamorous as the frocks themselves. Wear something you're not afraid to get gritty in. It would also be well within your best interest to carry hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial wipes with you—trust me you'll be glad you did! Be sure to thoroughly inspect each potential purchase. Certain types of stains, holes, and even smells will be impossible to correct, but others might have a simple solution. In order to decipher the best course of action you'll need to spend a little time handling your find.
What: Don't fake the fit
Why: Now you've found some pretty special items, but the fit isn't quite right. If you've found something you feel you absolutely can't live without, but it's just too loose or too long then I suggest finding a tailor to create the desired fit; some items are worth the investment. On the other hand, if an item is too small or snug it's time to move on, make room in your life for clothing that compliments you.
What: It's all in the fabric
Why: It can be relatively easy to balance your everyday wardrobe with key vintage pieces. Focusing on natural fabrics such as cotton and silk will help build a well-rounded collection. Polyester and other synthetic fabrics can be found with some pretty spectacular designs and prints especially synonymous with 60s and 70s fashion. Be sure it's a fabric you intend to wear beyond the look of the print. Whatever the fabric is, if it doesn't feel good against your skin you'll never wear it no matter how amazing it might be.
What: Can you live without it?
Why: It's tempting to talk ourselves into pieces we're not completely sold on. Instead of getting caught up in a collection of "maybes," which can also overwhelm the process, take a moment with the items you're on the fence about and honestly ask if you can live without it. At the end of the day you want to walk away with a purchase that inspires you.
You can keep up with regular additions to Constance's shop by checking out Weepah Way's Instagram account here.