How to Dress Vintage on a budget

Scarlett Osborne

I have a guilty pleasure: I love buying old clothes. I love an authentic 20s or 50s style. I don’t go out dressed in them very often (lockdown has made it worse :P) but my collection is endless. 

The problem is, these can be quite pricey. If you want an authentic 50s dress, you might have to pay over $50 for one, and that’s still on the cheaper side. I’ve seen them go up to $500, sometimes more. 

I’m sure you can understand why they cost so much! They’re pretty much fashion history and could even end up in a museum someday. 

For people who want to dress vintage and are on a budget, finding affordable items that embody the kind of style you want seems like a daunting task. 

Fear not, for I’m here to help 🙂

Thrift Shopping!

This might sound like common-sense advice, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t actually consider it. Second-hand clothing, in fact, has proven to be one of the best ways to find items that resemble your favorite era. 

They’re cheap, they’re authentic, they’re everything. 

This shopping method does have its fair share of issues, especially when the pieces you want might be torn, stained, or particularly hard to find. For that, I recommend tailors or DIY if your hands are skilled. 

You can alter those clothes by looking at pictures and correcting what’s wrong with them. Or using parts of them to mix and match them. 

It’s not an easy feat, but one that’s worth it! Skirts are easier, so I recommend them the most 😉

Sewing Items Yourself

So, I know some of you might say that you aren’t skilled and you’re scared you will fail. But it doesn’t matter! 

This remains the cheapest way to make anything. If you have free time, you’ll find that it’s more fun than expected. And there are tons of tutorials online that show you how to do it step by step if you’re a beginner. 

The good thing about this is that fabric is dirt cheap depending on where you live. You can buy 2 yards for as little as $4 and that is more than enough to make yourself a skirt! 

The best thing is that you choose how to make it, what color to use, how to design it e.t.c So not only can it look authentic, but you’ll feel very proud to be wearing something you made 🙂 

Great way to show it off to your friends!


You’re probably thinking…Scarlet, what are you even saying?

Hear me out on this, though! One trick of looking vintage is underwear. As many of you already know, the undergarments they wore back then differ from what we wear today. 

The bras are different; the underpants are different. So one thing you can do is invest in buying vintage underwear 🙂

The thing about them is that they give your figure a silhouette that’s unique to each time. Sometimes they might enhance a certain part of your body more. (Looking at you, bullet bras!)

Whatever it is, I found that whenever they’re worn with modern-day clothing; they offer a vintage style you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise!

Best part? They’re just as cheap 🙂

Family Clothes!

I’ll admit it; I sometimes wear my mom’s clothes 😀

They’re old and they give that off. Old doesn’t mean bad, by the way. Old is many a time synonymous with classic, and classic never goes out of fashion.

I have even taken some of my late grandma’s clothes to wear 🙂 They’re amazing because they cost nothing. Not only do they give you the opportunity to keep things vintage and fashionable, but they also allow you to keep a piece of your relatives with you <3

So there you have it! Your own guide to keeping things vintage on a budget! It’s easier than we all thought 🙂

What do you think? Are you going to enter the vintage world? I’ll wait for you with open arms!

-Written by Scarlett Osborne

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