How to Bag a Bargain, According to the Queen of Vintage

For those who consider themselves vintage fanatics, Bay Garnett has long been regarded as an oracle of second-hand inspiration. Having worked as a stylist, editor and author for over 20 years, Bay is credited as one of the earliest proponents of the thrifting movement, helping to introduce vintage to the world of high fashion. Over her career, she became known for her use of pre-loved clothing in glossy magazine shoots and her regular collaborations with Oxfam (of which she is a senior independent fashion advisor), through which she helped launch everything from vintage runway shows to boundary-pushing initiatives, such as Secondhand September. 

Bay Garnett vintage shopping advice

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Courtesy of Bay Garnett

"I remember when I was younger, growing up in Somerset, my mum used to take me to a vintage shop in the nearby town of Frome called Vipers. It had amazing 1930s bias silk dresses, lace and beautiful floral tea dresses. I remember it so clearly. A small little treasure trove of a shop", Bay explains. "It's been amazing to see how much the public's perception of vintage has changed over the course of my career. People did always love it, but now it has become so mainstream, which is great. It's amazing to see how huge it's become."

Now with a podcast, This Old Thing, under her belt and an accompanying lineup of A-list guests (recent names include Paloma Faith, Rachel Weisz and Emeli Sande), Bay's influence within the industry shows no sign of fading. Of course, with her extensive knowledge of the market, both online and offline, I couldn't not get the insider intel from the queen of vintage. Scroll down to read her top tips for where to shop second-hand, what she's buying this season and her dream vintage find.

Bay Garnett vintage shopping advice

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Getty Images

Where are your favourite places to buy vintage, both online and offline?

I love eBay and Oxfam online—those two are enough for me online. And I love love love Portobello Market on a Friday morning. The British Red Cross in Chelsea and Portobello Road are good, and Traid is also great. But I always just pop into any of them when I can. For a more curated lineup, I would recommend Relik, Found & Vision and Resurrection in New York. 

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Bay Garnett vintage shopping advice

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@baygarnett

What items will you be buying second-hand this season? 

Actually, nothing specific. I'm not looking to buy so much as enjoying trawling Oxfam online and eBay. Although at the moment I'm really into men's vintage designer shirts. 

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Bay Garnett vintage shopping advice

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@baygarnett

What are your top tips for those who are shopping vintage for the first time?

Go with a sense of purpose. Think about finding something you would love to find and be tuned in! Even if you don't find that piece, you will almost certainly find something else that you love. Have focus! Even in the most relaxed way. 

What would be your dream vintage purchase?

Good question. It changes a lot. At the moment, the most perfect faded beaten up, (slightly oversized) denim faded shirt. Frayed and worn. Think the American West.

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