10 Tips for Buying or Renting the Perfect Vintage Dress

Vintage Dress-Red Pinup GirlWhen searching for the perfect vintage-style dress that suits your taste, you can either end up with a timeless treasure or go home with a worthless garage-sale item that you’ll never wear. Follow these tips on how to find the right vintage dress, and you are guaranteed to find the best dress for you.


Fashion trends come and go with the season but some things never run out of style. This is why vintage dresses are worth looking into, even as everyone else scrambles to find the trendiest ensemble. But while a vintage dress can give everyone a sense of nostalgia, it can also make you look laughable. So how do you make sure you find a vintage dress that will be the envy of your friends?

The key to choosing a vintage dress is finding the delicate balance between old styles and that classic, timeless look. Here are some tips you can follow in choosing the best vintage style dresses:

1. Patience is a virtue.

Finding the perfect vintage dress can be like finding a needle in a haystack, but it will be worth the wait. You just have to be very patient in going through all your options. Remember that unlike contemporary dresses that come in droves, original vintage dresses are like tiny gems that come occasionally. But when a particular vintage dress does come, it will be irreplaceable.

2. Vintage-Inspired Dresses Improve Availability

When you see an original vintage dress, it’s possible that it’s the only dress of the exact same style that you will ever see. What this means is that yes, you can take your time going through your options, but when you find one that you really do like, don’t waste your time thinking about it too much. Once you let go of it, it could be gone forever.

However, you can improve your chances of getting the dress you want by purchasing vintage-inspired dresses. These dresses are vintage in look, design and feel, but are manufactured using modern production methods. For example, vintage-inspired wedding dresses are usually available in a number of sizes, fabrics and styles but are not totally unique, which increases your chances of actually getting the dress you want for your special day.

3. Size matters.

If you’re purchasing an original vintage dress, keep in mind that old dresses were made differently from the dresses we have today. Whoever wore the dress before you may have been sized differently, and you have to take this into consideration. Perhaps the size is a tad too small in some areas, or the dress may not have the perfect fit that you want upon first fitting. But this is where having a clever seamstress comes in. Don’t be too frustrated when it doesn’t fit right in all your body parts.

4. Check once, twice, then check again.

Say you’re looking at your options for vintage prom dresses and a particular dress of a certain color and style catches your eye. It’s understandable that you could be tempted to get the dress right away. Before you lay your claim on the dress however, you have to do a thorough check, if you’re buying it in person. Vintage dresses tend to be more prone to wear and tear, so you will need to be extra vigilant in checking for stains and tears.

5. Don’t overdo the embellishments.

Part of the charm of vintage dresses is that they usually have embellishments – lace, embroidery, sequins, and more.  Sometimes these details add to the beauty of the dress, but there are also times when they have the opposite effect. Just make sure you don’t overdo these details, and that you choose an embellishment that’s still of good taste.

6. Preparation is half the battle.

When looking for a vintage dress, it’s important that you do your research beforehand. You will never know exactly what to expect, so if you’re planning on making some vintage dress rentals, it’s good to do some research in advance. Having even just a slim idea about what you’re looking for is better than going through random dress styles and not knowing where to begin. And again, renting a vintage-style dress may be the best way to go. Online companies like Lending Luxury have a selection of vintage-style dresses that you can view online before you rent or buy.

7. Do a time (and place) check.

Vintage cocktail dresses have a charm of their own, and wearing a dress that looks like it’s from the 50s or 60s or 70s is not a problem. Just make sure you keep in mind the occasion that you’re wearing it to, and whether or not the dress is appropriate. Some vintage dresses might actually work better than contemporary ones for certain events and venues. It’s just important to be aware of time and place.

8. Decide on a period.

When you’re already aware of what styles you want and what’s appropriate for the occasion, you should decide on a period. When you say “vintage,” it could mean anything from the past, and a period dress from the 20s would look very different from something from the 70s. To narrow down your search and make things less overwhelming, decide on a period and sift your options.

9. Individuality is the name of the game.

One of the best things about vintage dresses is that they give you the license to be your unique, quirky self. If you’re looking for a couple of vintage bridesmaid dresses for instance, make sure you really pick a unique style for each of your bridesmaids. Any vintage dress will look very different from what’s available in the market today, and this really gives the wearer a sense of individuality and uniqueness. Take advantage of that.

10. Mirror, mirror.

It’s tempting to buy or rent vintage-style dresses solely because they look pretty, but you have to make sure they look pretty on YOU. This means you have to make sure the color is flattering and not disturbing. You should also take into consideration the cut, the length, and the fit. You need to pay attention to these details but not in a severe sense, because you should also note that some of these can easily be remedied by a skilled seamstress.

The search for the perfect vintage dress is often just as memorable as the dress itself, and you can never take vintage dresses for granted. This is why it’s important to keep these tips in mind. But out of all the tips this is the most important one: search far and wide, but make sure you enjoy yourself. And when you’re finally wearing that very special dress on that very special day, always remember what it took for you to get there.


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