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Top 10 reasons to shop vintage
Mix vintage pieces into your wardrobe or your home to create a personal style that is uniquely yours. Photo: Mauro Grigollo/Stocksy

Top 10 reasons to shop vintage


There are so many reasons to shop secondhand at vintage and antiques stores! Here are 10 of our favourites

1. You’re supporting small businesses.

Shopping at vintage and thrift shops in-store, online or at markets usually means you’re supporting small businesses or charities. These sellers are often local to your community. Some will ship across the country as well, so if you live in Halifax but see a cool find from a Victoria-based business, you just might be in luck.

Beyond making you feel good about helping your neighbours, these decisions have deeper economic impacts, too.

Consider this: According to a study conducted for LOCO BC, the province’s shop-local advocacy group, for every $100 spent with local businesses in British Columbia, $63 dollars stays within the provincial economy. For multinational companies, that number drops down to $14.

2. It’s a sustainable way to shop.

Shopping vintage means you are keeping products out of landfill, at least for the duration of their usable life.

Canada has one of the highest rates of waste generation per capita in the world, which the Conference Board of Canada partially attributes to rising levels of disposable household income. Shopping vintage is certainly not a fix-all solution to the country’s waste problem, but there’s often a lot of mileage left in clothing, furniture and household items that otherwise would be destined for the dump.

In addition to recycling products and giving them a second (or third, or fourth) life, you can also “upcycle” them — repurpose them for other uses — or take on a DIY project to make them your own.

3. You can score “one-of-a-kind” items.

Chances are, whatever vintage object you’re eyeing was mass-produced at one time, or there was at least more than one made. It’s rare to come across things that are truly “one-of-a-kind,” but the thing about vintage, antique and thrifted pieces is that they seem one-of-a-kind.

When you’re shopping vintage, it’s unlikely you’re going to visit a friend and see your coffee table in their living room, or that you’re going to show up to work in the exact same outfit.

4. It can be a less expensive way to shop.

Obviously, if you are a serious antiques collector in search of rare finds, or you’re buying consignment designer couture, or you’re looking for a vintage Eames chair, there are price tags to match. This kind of vintage shopping can be more expensive than traditional retail — but you’re also getting what you pay for in terms of quality, rarity and cachet.

But for a wide variety of things, it is cheaper to shop for secondhand products. Whether it’s clothing or home decor, you can get more for less if it’s used (we like to say “pre-loved”). And that’s not just when it comes to quantity — shopping vintage delivers big on personal style, too.

5. You become part of a community.

The more you get into vintage shopping, the more you get to know the sellers and fellow aficionados. Everyone has a tale to tell about an acquisition. And people are genuinely supportive of each other and appreciate a good find (even if they’re a little envious).

And if you’re on Instagram, following your favourite sellers means you’ll be a part of their communities too — you’ll get to participate in story sales, polls, live Q&As, and meet new online friends.

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6. You get a history lesson.

With vintage and antiques shopping, you’re always learning. You become interested in where your pieces came from, and as you start to recognize their provenance, you can better spot their contemporaries from the same era.

This helps to understand their value — and helps to spot when someone is trying to hustle you (for example, Facebook Marketplace sellers listing a “vintage” item that’s actually from Wayfair).

The more discerning you get, the more deliberate and selective you become. You’ll know whether a piece speaks to you or not right away.

A woman with short blonde hair dressed in a denim shirt admiring a collection of hanging light fixtures made of glass and metallic gold elements displayed in a shop with teak furniture and a brick wall behind.
Whether it’s clothing or home decor, you can get more for less if it’s vintage. Photo: BONNINSTUDIO/Stocksy

7. You learn the art of patience.

You know the saying: Good things come to those who wait. When you take on vintage shopping as a hobby, you become more patient and prudent as you wait for that perfect piece to come along.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a near-empty office because I’ve spent the last few months looking for the right bookcase and credenza to complete the room.

This can be frustrating! I understand the urge to hop on Amazon to see what’s available just to get it dealt with — I’ve done it myself in the past. But I stop short of adding-to-cart, because I know it’s not truly what I want for the space. Now, I try to buy for both form and function, not just one or the other.

Being patient brings a sense of mindfulness to your search, making you hyper-aware of what you see and if it will work for you or not. I promise you, the wait is worth it.

8. You can develop a broad sense of style.

Mixing and matching styles from different eras can be a lot of fun! Pairing a dress from a local boutique or a large retailer with vintage jewellery, a vintage belt and a vintage bag instantly makes the look your own. So does layering vintage clothing from different eras, like topping modern jeans with an ’80s blazer and a graphic T-shirt from the ’70s.

One of the best style “rules” of the post–2010 era is that there aren’t really any rules at all. Sure, there are trends, but we’ve moved into a place where people are more confident to wear what they want and decorate their homes without adhering to a particular theme.

Most people aren’t looking to re-create an entirely 1980s Art Deco Revival room — but incorporating a few 1980s pieces among your other things is something that is very now. When you mix vintage pieces into your wardrobe or your home, you’re creating a personal style that is uniquely yours.

9. You appreciate your things more.

Find some vintage pieces that speak to you and you will likely love them the most. When you light your vintage candlesticks at dinnertime, think about all the parties they lit up before you came to own them.

When you put on that vintage power suit and think about the person who bought it and what they might have accomplished, use that energy.

You’ll find that you have greater respect for your pieces when you do — and in turn, you’ll take better care of them.

10.  It’s fun!

Going out to thrift shops and flea markets in your own community is a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with friends or family. Another fun thing to do is to plan a day trip or a weekend trip to a surrounding town to check out their antiques shops.

Grab a coffee, make a list of vintage stores to visit and get out there!*

*(Safely and adhering to COVID-19 restrictions, of course).

Why do you love shopping for vintage? Let us know in the comments!

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