Know your measurements.
“Vintage sizing is different than modern sizing, so you can’t trust tags,” explains Jennifer Mae Harris, showroom director of Amarcord Vintage Fashion. “A size 12 in 1965 could easily be a 2 or 4 by today’s standards. Measure your bust, under-bust, waist, and hips. If you’re going for a dress with sleeves, you should also consider arm circumference.” No. 6 co-owner Karin Bereson notes that there’s another reason not to rely on tags: “You also have no idea how many alterations have been done to a piece in the many decades since the dress was made. It could have been let out, taken in, hemmed, or had any other number of things done to it.”
Don’t be afraid of alterations.
“Tailoring is a big thing that often holds people back,” says No. 6 co-owner Morgan Yakus. “Something might be too big, but if that’s the case, you can take it to your local cleaners and get it tailored. Think about it this way: If you get a less expensive dress, you can put your money towards some simple alterations. You can also get dresses shortened to freshen them up.” Karin adds: “Anything that’s woven is easy to alter. If it’s a knitted ’70s granny dress, that’s harder, but almost anything can be fixed. Even if the waistband is too low, you can get the skirt cut off and move the whole thing up. As long as the fabric isn’t super, super delicate, these aren’t complicated alterations.” You can even alter too-snug dresses, emphasizes Jennifer: “Check the interior seams. If there is a half-inch or more of excess fabric on either side of the seam, a tailor could likely let it out for you.” http://www.teenvogue.com/prom/dresses/2013-04/vintage-shopping-tips
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