1. Don’t worry that much about busted soles on shoes.
A shoemaker can always resole them. Messed up leather uppers (the top of the shoe) are a bigger hassle to get fixed.
2. Know your measurements.
Sizes aren’t always listed, and what a size 6 or 10 translates to has changed a lot over the years, for various reasons, so measurements will be a lot more helpful.
3. Hold items up to the light.
A lot of vintage stores (and stores in general) are dark! So it can be hard to discern quality, condition, and…stains. Find a light (or the flashlight on your phone) to perform a dutiful inspection.
4. Check the armpits.
It’s gross, I know. But you know what’s grosser? Someone else’s decades-old pit stains on your new blouse.
5. Check out the Goodwill or Salvation Army in a nice neighborhood.
Nice neighborhood = people with nice clothes, that they just may have given away.
7. Always inspect the seams.
As in, don’t buy something that’s going to rip after the first time you wear it. Turn the piece of clothing inside out to see how the stitches are holding up.
8. And the buttons.
Consider whether you’ll need to sew new ones on. If they’re unusual, will you be able to track them down?
9. Bring a Tide To Go pen.
Find out if small stains are permanent, or just a little spot the previous owner/store didn’t bother to remove.
10. Wear a bodysuit.
Well, leggings and a tight T-shirt will do. Anything that’ll let you try stuff on without getting naked, in the absence of a dressing room.