style’d by kyle: vintage vs. “mainstream” shopping

May 23, 2013

Vintage vs. “Mainstream” Shopping

By: Kyle Starks, AFROPUNK Fashion Contributor 

It seems like buying used clothing has become very popular recenty, like it’s this “new cool thing”. Everyone from A-list celebrities to regular people like you and I have caught onto this “trend” even though for me, buying used clothing has always been the obvious choice.

Buying from vintage stores and/or thrift stores save you SO much money and it IS possible to find those great one-of-a-kind pieces. When you have to dig for your clothes, at least you know you’ll be the only one wearing them.

That’s one of my favorite reasons that I prefer buying secondhand instead of mainstream gear is because it ensures me that no one else is going to be wearing what I’m wearing. Think to yourself, how boring would it be if everyone wore the same thing and shopped at the same store? That’s not style, that is a cop out! Sadly enough, this is the way of the world. I can sometimes expect this from teenagers that still shop at Abercrombie and go to the mall, but not from grown adults. No offense to the people that still buy clothes from chain retailers, but c’mon!!

It’s possible to find so many great things at a fraction of the cost you’ll pay from a mainstream store. Express yourself through what you’re wearing! It’s a lot different than shopping at a mainstream store that carries S, M, L, XL; it gives you the opportunity to wear the clothes how you want. Trust me, SHOP VINTAGE it’s way better!! Here are a few pointers on vintage shopping and a few helpful tips of my own to help you get digging!


Go with an open mind!

For some people it helps take an idea of what type of thing they’re looking for. I can help you focus. Because Vintage shopping can be overwhelming with SO many choices, sometimes you have to buckle down and just say “Im only looking for jackets, or dresses, or T-Shirts!” you can always browse later, but this will help keep get you started.

Shop early in the day!

It helps to start early in the day so you can have the top picks and fresh finds before the entire neighborhood has picked out all the good stuff!

Try on Different sizes!

A lot of cuts are different than we currently hold to a standard. A size 6 from the 1980s may fit like a size 10 today. But a size 10 suit may fit more like a size 6 of today. And besides that, you’ll see that the fun in vintage is wearing oversized items, cropped blazers, and oversized jackets! Don’t let the numbers hold you back!

Stop telling yourself “You Can’t Pull It Off”

Get your ass in the dressing room! You can pull anything off you want to, believe that! If you don’t embrace the look, it will look silly no matter if it’s vintage, target or custom– you have to believe in the outfit and confidence in yourself!


Only go with someone who also like vintage shopping

If you’re new at this, you may want to go a thrifting buddy your first time on the racks! They will encourage you to try quirky things you may not have a developed eye for. But once you get comfortable, go by yourself. You can go to the dressing room as many times as you want without feeling like you’re holding someone up, you can take your time and REALLY dig for the special pieces and of course, first dibs!


Kyle Starks is a personal stylist and vintage consultant from Detroit living in Brooklyn. You can find Kyle at 10ft Single Vintage by Stella Dallas in Williamsburg and right here on