My new favourite way to spend a Saturday morning – shopping at a Vintage Kilo Sale. These travelling sales, that pop up in cool spaces in cities across the UK each week, are a vintage lovers heaven and a must visit for anyone after a bargain. The premise is very much explained in the title – you pay for your vintage clothes by the kilo – normally £15.00 per kilo. How does it work? You go around putting all of your favourite items in a huge bag and then at the end they weigh and you pay. Simple. Depending on the weight of your items a kilo can give you a mountain or a few special pieces of clothing – but either way the items are normally at least a third of the price you would normally pay for vintage clothing in your average shop. Winning! Here’s what to expect when you go and my top tips for getting the best out of the sales…
Five things to expect
1. You will probably have to queue, it’s part of the experience.
If not at the start to get into the event, then almost certainly to pay – queuing is definitely something to be prepared for. But don’t worry, most of the time they are super speedy, I have never waited in a queue for more than 20 minutes at any event.
If queuing is something you really hate there are a couple of ways minimise it. The first is to buy ‘earlybird’ tickets if they are available – these will get you in a bit before the normal admission for a fee and are usually limited to allow a quieter experience – and the second is to go later in the day, not arrive to be there bang on opening time. This means most super keen people will be done and dusted, and don’t worry the staff constantly restock the rails so you won’t be missing out by any means!
2. Bargains, bargains and more bargains!
The clothes at a vintage kilo sale are SUCH a good price. You will be able to get some absolute deals and that is something to get really excited for. To give you an idea of what you might get, here’s a rundown of what I got at my last sale and the price it came to:
2 shirts + 2 dresses + 1 skirt + 1 pair of shorts = 6 items for £21
(Update: See this haul here)
That’s just £3.50 per item! As I said, a brilliant way to shop cheaply, but sustainably. They also cap the prices of heavier items such as coats, so even if you find the heaviest winter coat of your dreams – you will still pay well below the price you could get it for in even the cheapest of charity shops.
3. To need to be a bit pushy
That’s not to say you have to be rude when you visit a sale, but more to say that if you graciously let others visit the rail before you do, you might miss out on your dream find. Vintage certainly means one of a kind, so it really is a race to see who gets there first – if you have your eye on something grab it and pop it in your bag, before some else does it before you. It will be busy, but that’s part of the fun! My technique is always the same at these things and really ensures you don’t miss out on any perfect items:
- As soon as you see something you think you might like, get it off the rail and into your hand.
- If once it is in your hand you still think you like it, pop it in your bag.
- When your bag starts feeling full of potential items pop yourself to one side and get trying them on over your clothes – don’t expect there to be any room in the changing rooms. I have been to many sales and never seen the inside of one of these pop up tent.
- Make two closely guarded piles, a keep and a put back. There will most likely be a rail near the changing room area that you can discard your unwanted items on for them to be put back on the rails.
- When returning the items you are keeping to your bag, take the hangers off and put them in one of the hangar bins, this way on your next go around you will know what you’ve sorted through.
- Repeat, until you feel you’ve got everything you’re after or have reached your budget!
4. The items to be of varying (but good) quality
When you are going through your pile of potential purchases it is really worth going over everything thoroughly, as there can sometimes be little holes or tiny stains hiding where you least expect them. I make that sound vile, but the quality of the clothes is always super good – it is just always worth checking if an item might have slipped through unnoticed. It is the worst thing to get home and realise your favourite item isn’t as perfect as you first thought!
5. For the clothes to be sorted by category.
I wonder if I have made these sales sound like an absolute bun fight when in reality they are very, very well organised by amazing teams of people. The clothes are always on rails in order of what category they come under – trousers in one area, t-shirts in another, jumpers somewhere else – etc. etc. So if you are after something particular be sure to note this and keep checking back on the desired section as the stock swaps and is replenished.
Find your nearest Vintage Kilo Sale:
- Wear something skintight like leggings so when you try items on over your clothes you can really see if they fit. Wearing a pair of easy to slip off shoes will also make your life so much easier if you are on the hunt for trousers.
- The mirrors will be limited, and often in use, so use the front camera on your phone to see how you’re looking. Or if you are with a friend get them to take a picture for you!
- They will most likely stamp your hand so you can come and go, why not grab some bits in the morning and then come back when the stock has changed over later on! Two sales in one day.
- Pre-booking your tickets means you will get in quicker and have less phaff on the day – normally the charge is around £1.50, or a slightly more for early tickets.
- Don’t worry, you will be able to use card to pay for your items! Maybe have some change for the door fee though.
- A lot of sales will let you use your own bags, saving on plastic – so bring the biggest tote, or shopper you can find to help do your bit. Even bring multiple! Don’t worry if you don’t have one though most sales will provide bags, lots of which are biodegradable or even compostable.
- Watch out for scales dotted around the event so you can check the weight of your items – it is cheap, but if you’ve got a lot of clothes frequent weighing as you go along will avoid a shock at the till.
Have you ever been to a Vintage Kilo Sale and if so have you got any more top tips? Shopping this way is so much fun, a perfect morning out in my eyes and if you see any coming up near you I really recommend you give it a go!