Enticed by the thought of “vintage shopping” but not quite sure how to proceed? Providence has a great assortment of vintage shops managed by professionals who have been in the business a long time. Here are some tips for how to take advantage of the vintage scene in the city:

1. What does “Vintage” mean?


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Typically the term vintage is used for items at least 20 years old. Yes, this may mean that what you wore in high school is already “vintage.” But remember when you were in high school and 50s sock hops and 60s love-ins seemed so vintage and cool? They took place 20 years earlier. 20 years is typically the most recent, however, it can range to decades before. 

2. Is everything dirty?


The #cathrineholm gods have been guiding me at my last two fleas.

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Absolutely not!  Most vintage resellers spend a LOT of time looking for items in good shape, and also laundering, cleaning, scrubbing, mending and repairing items so that they are in the best possible condition for resale. If you have concerns about fabric content or wear, or whether a plate or bowl is safe to eat off of or can go through the dishwasher, ask the store owner. Most proprietors are very knowledgeable about their merchandise and want to be sure you are happy and can enjoy your purchase.

3. Is “Vintage” only clothing?


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Heck no! Vintage is a more contemporary word that is often used in place of the word “antique,” which can sound old-fashioned to some. Many vintage resellers sell clothing, but many also sell art and antiques, mid-century lighting and furniture, cool tabletop items, collectible linens, toys and games, advertising pieces, ephemera, industrial items, books, holiday and so much more!

4. Is it OK to buy “Vintage” as a gift?


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Certainly you should be aware if the recipient is open to items that have been previously used, but many vintage items make lovely gifts. Art is something that always ages well and is appreciated. Vintage cocktail glassware and serving pieces in good condition are very popular for housewarming and wedding gifts. Ask the shop owner for any “new old stock” items. This means something that is vintage, but has never been used or worn. Jewelry or linens with the original tags make perfect personal or household gifts because they are both vintage and new at the same time.

Providence for the Holidays