Monday, February 16, 2009

How much are you willing to pay for vintage?

We do a lot of vintage shopping. A LOT. It's all about the thrill of the hunt and getting an original piece for a bargain.

Some pieces are great enough to pay a premium for. But I wonder how much is too much? On our various online trawls for vintage buys we often drop by Damsel Vintage. Her shop is super popular, and deservedly so - her shop is well designed, she takes great photos and most importantly, the pieces are always quality.

So we're watching this dress (I seem to be having an issue with uploading pics to Blogger at the moment, but I'll try to get one up soon), a lovely indian cotton 70s maxi dress. A bidding war ensues, and the dress finally goes for $711.18. That's Australian dollars, by the way. That's about $550US, or 300 British pounds. It's beautiful dress, of course, but I confess my heart broke a little, thinking of all the other fine vintage goodies now sitting un-bought and unloved in favour of this one dress. Now I have been known to overpay for things from time to time because I loved them that much, but I've never parted with $711.18 for anything new, let alone a vintage piece, let alone one without a designer tag sewn into it.

So riddle me this, blog readers, how much are you willing to pay for vintage? What sort of criteria to you apply when making your decision? And if it's not to gauche to ask, how far have you gone in the pursuit of your dream vintage piece? Did you regret it, or are you wearing what you bought right now, as you hang out on the Internet, to get your money's worth?


katiecrackernuts said...

It's a tough one. For me the thrill is in the chase. Like, vintage haiori - $3. Gotta love that. '80s clutch, $4. Fav pair of shoes, 50c. What I am hating at the moment is the price that I am paying for smoke-riddled, unwashed clothes. Store in Sydney, I paid $45 for a great '80s skirt, but it wasn't really until I got it on the train (and out of the store) that I realised it reeked. I am not a smoker, so can smell it more than others, I s'pose, but it's made my entire wardrobe smell and I can't get rid of the stench. I have just done a one-day scour of Ebay (came across your blog by way of a sassy electro-blue '80s number I wouldn't have been seen dead in then, but am weirdly drawn to now). There's better stuff there than I have seen for a while. I got jack of Ebay because I felt I was paying really high prices for stuff I could lay my hands on in op shops. Well, I wasn't paying, but you know what I mean. I'm keen to see what other comments you get.

The Likkle Girl Who Wurves Pwetty Things said...

Hey Ms Q,
Hope your body and mind have settled back in nicely in Sydney.

Now, to answer your questions...
The dress is indeed a hot piece and like you, I'm sometimes guilty of overpaying for things that I want, like, really, really want (but don't really need).

However, I think AU$700 is way too much to pay for a piece of cotton, albeit quite a huge piece. And one that I've seen similar pieces of before, floating around on the internet and in shops. And I believe pieces like that I will see again somewhere one day. Also, I'm sure the garment factories in India are still making things like that.

I would, without a qualm, pay that price for a vintage piece only if it's a near one-off, a piece so unique that I've never seen before, or one that I know I will never see again in the near future. A piece that I know I'll lose many nights of sleep over if it's not mine.

I used to trawl Ebay for old things when I was living in Singapore where real vintage pieces are rare or if they are available, expensive. After I moved here where there are so many secondhand shops and thrift stores at my disposal, I've stopped buying on Ebay. Like katiecrackernuts, I find that nice things on Ebay are now very expensive, more than, say, 5 years ago. The secondhand shops serve my "daily-wear" needs well so I only go on Ebay nowadays if I'm looking for something extra special and specific that I can't find in the shops.

Regrets? I've had a few but not AU$700 ones. Alright, end of essay.

So when is the Bam sewing circle open for recruitment? Or tea? xx

a cat of impossible colour said...

Wow, that is a LOT of money. I tend to buy from op-shops more than vintage stores because - like katie above - I love the thrill of the hunt! The most I've paid for a vintage dress is $90 (New Zealand dollars), and I would be very, very unwilling to go over that. I have made a few buys in that price range that I have later regretted, as well. So now I only buy a piece like that if it's something I would lose sleep over, pine after, pawn my jewellery for. :)

Oh, and buying something that expensive would put me under WAY too much pressure to keep it in good condition ... I'd probably spill coffee on it as soon as it arrived, out of sheer nerves. :P

qooza said...

OK. I think we're unanimously in agreement that $700 is too much for vintage. Gosh I wish the person who spent that money on that dress would drop by here to PLEASE EXPLAIN.

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