How to shop vintage, by Dawn O'Porter

Dawn O'Porter

The presenter and budding designer shares 10 expert tips on vintage shopping

We first knew Dawn O'Porter as a television presenter, but these days we're also appreciating her expert eye for vintage fashion. Her online store, BOB (opens in new tab), is the place to find gorgeous vintage buys sourced from all over the world. It's also home to her own brand, BOB by Dawn O'Porter (opens in new tab), which features retro-inspired dresses and skirts, designed for modern women.

The Indulgence team caught up with Dawn and asked her to share some of her vintage shopping knowhow, from making sure a designer piece is genuine, to how to tackle musty fabric. Click through to read her expert tips.

1. Don't rush

1. Don't rush

"Give yourself time. Vintage shopping isn't like whipping onto the high street and finding a red dress in your size. The shops are chocolate boxes, so by all means go in with an idea, but give yourself time to find something great." Pictured: The Flack dress (opens in new tab), £320

2. Give it a try

2. Give it a try

"Try everything you like on, even if you think it won't fit. If it isn't right, is there anything a tailor can do to make it perfect for you?" Pictured: The Jane Quotes skirt (opens in new tab), £180

3. Make it your own

3. Make it your own

"Be brave. Forget what you know as fashion and focus on your individual style. Buy what you love, not what you think might be trendy." Pictured: The Jane Dog Walkers skirt (opens in new tab), £180

4. Be persistent

4. Be persistent

"Ask the shop assistants if you are looking for a particular style. They know their stock. If they don't have it, don't walk out... Rummage!" Pictured: The Flack dress (opens in new tab), £320

5. Check the fabric

5. Check the fabric

"Fabrics can be a clue as to when the item is from. For example, if someone is trying to sell you a 1920s polyester dress, be suspicious. Polyester wasn't around until the 60s. Likewise, care labels didn't come about until the 70s." Pictured: The Gem dress (opens in new tab), £780

6. Don't worry about shoulder pads

6. Don't worry about shoulder pads

"1980s dresses are so brilliant, but people are often put off by the shoulder pads. Just take them out - the dress rarely loses shape." Pictured: The Jax dress (opens in new tab), £380

7. Read the label

7. Read the label

"If you want to splash out on designer, always make sure the dress has a label. Never buy any designer vintage on a promise from the seller if you're not sure and it doesn't have a label to prove it." Pictured: The Jane Geese In Flight skirt (opens in new tab), £180

8. Keep checking

8. Keep checking

"Check the websites regularly as stock is always changing. If you really are looking for something specific, just type it into eBay and go through the listings. For example: 'Vintage red 60s a line mini dress'. Then take your pick. I LOVE eBay!" Pictured: The Charlie dress (opens in new tab), £280

9. A smell is not a dealbreaker

9. A smell is not a dealbreaker

"Don't be put off by a smell. Sorry, that sounds grim - but the smell of moth balls just means it's been looked after, and most BO can be removed with dry cleaning and natural lavender. Don't use an odour-remover spray - they're full of chemicals and heavy on the fabrics." Pictured: The Jax dress (opens in new tab), £380

10. Tackle moths

10. Tackle moths

"Check for moth damage. If it's minor, then put the garment in the freezer for a few days as soon as you get home. This will kill any lingering moths and their eggs." Pictured: The Gem dress (opens in new tab), £780