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Secondhand Chic: Finding Fabulous Fashion at Consignment, Vintage, and Thrift Shops Paperback – July 1, 1999


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Secondhand Chic: Finding Fabulous Fashion at Consignment, Vintage, and Thrift Shops + The Little Guide to Vintage Shopping + Virtual Vintage: The Insider's Guide to Buying and Selling Fashion Online
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671027131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671027131
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In recent years, increasing numbers of people have become aware of something that impecunious but savvy folks have known for a long time: You don't have to be rich to wear high-quality, high-fashion clothing. You just need to know how and where to shop for it at incredible, bargain prices--secondhand, vintage, consignment, and thrift stores.

Christa Weil goes the whole nine yards here, explaining how to spot quality, understand labels (and fakes!), and find your size when labels are missing. She knows which flaws are easily fixed, how to organize your wardrobe, how to look "done" without looking "overdone," how to care for your clothing and accessory treasures, and even how to make money on your unwanted clothes.

For anyone who likes to dress well and get an incredible bargain in the process (and who doesn't?), this is an indispensable guide. Weil's light, conversational writing style and her numerous hilarious asides (like "Why Socks Disappear in the Wash") make this an entertaining and lively book to read or browse. --Mark A. Hetts

From Library Journal

What woman wouldn't want to find a designer original at a fraction of its original cost or some long-gone artifact from another fashion era? With that goal in mind, Weil packs her guide to the secondhand clothing market (consignment, vintage, and thrift) with so much detail and coursework that one should have a Ph.D. by book's end. Weil insists that a good secondhand shopper needs to study fabrics (hard to do on paper), design qualities, and designers to make the most of the shopping experience. She recommends field trips to high-end department stores and boutiques to evaluate specific designers, with note-taking essential. Part 2 covers proper fit, and Part 3 discusses garment care. Weil tends toward the cutesy in her headers and superfluous sidebars. And would a woman really carry a kit containing a pocket flashlight, pocket mirror, and white travel soap in order to detect permanent stains? It all seems a bit cloak-and-dagger (oh, is that cloak Armani Couture?). At this price public libraries could certainly consider a copy or two of this tutorial, but most shoppers probably won't want to delve this deeply into their wardrobes.ABette-Lee Fox, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I really learned alot about vinatge clothes after reading this book.
JBogue
This is a comprehensive, funny, well-researched resource book on the fabrics, markers of quality clothing, labels, and flaws in secondhand finds.
Donna D Cameron
Weil has not only great information, but a way with words and the turn of a phrase, which made the book that much more enjoyable to read.
Mary Ann Aquilino

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Happy on July 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Packed with helpful information for the avid shopper from cover to cover, this book goes the extra mile by giving pointers not just on finding great buys in consignment, thrift, vintage, and resale shops, but for quality shopping in general.
Beginning with the advantages and disadvantages of buying secondhand items, the author walks the reader in a delightfully personal way through finding clothes that are flawlessly constructed and give perfect fit regardless of name tags. (There is a section which discusses famous name tags in fashion, too, by the way.) Guidelines on how to spot quality accessories are likewise given. The book successfully guides the reader in finding his/her personal style, gauging one's figure and the possible remedies for these, looking for the right fabric, color, and fit, and garment features that indicate excellent quality (the author calls this "quality hallmarks"). This book also outlines what flaws are considered "not-so-bad", "bad", and "very very ugly". There is also a whole chapter which is devoted solely to maintenance and organization, which is a big help especially for those who find themselves clueless in terms of clothes care, and for those who have major closet space problems. You also have a section which helps you sell what you own at secondhand stores. All these, and more! For the ardent shopper, you will find that the wealth of information in this book is invaluable, and may all be that you'll ever need for your every shopping spree. Two thumbs-up!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By starspangledgirl on October 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
I think this is the only book of its kind on the market now, so I would recommend it if only for this reason to women who like to dress well at low cost. However, it's better than I expected, thanks to an author who gives very detailed information about what makes a garment well constructed, down to the buttons. This book is useful for anybody shopping for clothes anywhere, new or not. It's probably even a great gift for someone who sews their own clothes, that's how detailed it gets about garment construction. This book's main audience are women who want to get bargains on designer clothes (it even gives helpful lists of designer names and their "poor cousin" lines), and therefore are more likely to shop consignment rather than thrift. It's still helpful to vintage/thrift shoppers too (especially section on stain removal) but I wish she had included more tips for those shoppers, as well as more info on shoes. I think a sequel is in order because I think the author probably has a lot more to say. If so, please include a chapter on shopping for clothes online. This book has nothing on this topic, which is an art in itself! I'd also like to recommend Al Hoff's Thrift Score.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. Albrecht on February 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
I received this book as a Christmas present from my mother last year. It was so fascinating that I ended up reading it cover-to-cover on Christmas day. My mother has been sewing for almost 40 years, and Weil included many details that even my mother didn't know. I really liked how Weil included a section on fibers and their origins (including synthetics). I'm not much of a consignment shopper, but the information on construction and spotting quality have been more helpful than I could ever imagine. Not only did it help me go through my closet and spot things to dontate to Goodwill, but it also helped me spot a beautiful vintage raincoat at Goodwill today for $5.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mary Ann Aquilino on February 27, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is oneof the best books to read if you're interested in, or if you collect and wear, vintage clothing. From how to read the quality of materials and workmanship in a garments, to how to take care of cleaning them, the information is presented in a witty, informative, useful way. Weil has not only great information, but a way with words and the turn of a phrase, which made the book that much more enjoyable to read. While I personally would love to have seen more illustrations than the many that are already in the book (e.g. of the different button holes styles, zippers, etc.) and pictures of some outfits having the design elements discussed, as I'm greedy for more vintage info all the time, not having these included doesn't detract from this book in the least. One can only hope that Weil continues to write about this subject, as she's thorough, knowledgeable, and writes well. Her book is a pleasure for the senses in all ways. If you buy one book about vintage clothing, buy this one. You won't be disappointed.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "dayglo" on July 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is just amazing-- I can't believe how much I learned about not just secondhand shopping but all shopping in general. I will NEVER AGAIN buy something just because the label says it's by so-and-so, who's supposed to make quality clothes. From now on, I will be the one to determine what a piece of clothing is worth because I now know exactly what to look for when evaluating clothes. Hats off to the author and a genuine "thank you" for saving me time and face! P.S. Though it's not as thorough as the book, there are some free courses with some of Secondhand Chic's information at dreamlife.com in the creativity and fun section. i'd definitely reccomend the book but those classes are good too.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. M. Flis on November 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a great resource for anyone who wants to find unique fashion in unusual places. Christa Weil not only provides good advice on how to spot fabulous finds but she provides terrific tips on taking care of quality clothes. Everyone who loves clothes will love this book. But the best result of getting this book is the reaction of my 12-year old daughter. After reading the book she has been motivated to take better care of her clothes and has turned her room into a clothes boutique...dress forms and all!
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