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Choosing vintage clothing for children is not very different from choosing vintage clothing for any age group, but if you are unfamiliar with the various eras that represent vintage fashion, you should spend some time acquainting yourself with them. In this way, you will be able to shop armed with the information you will need to make a wise purchase. You should look for quality garments that are free or tears, staining, or evidence of heavy wear. In addition, because children outgrow their clothing so quickly, and will get only a limited amount of use from the purchase, you should probably keep a sharp eye out for bargains. If possible, you should include the child in the experience, and let him or her have some input in choosing the clothing.
For those who need some help defining what represents vintage clothing for children, a good place to start is the library. Many comprehensive books have been written on the subject of fashion history, and those will typically include fashions from most every era. If you have already narrowed down your choice to a specific era, look for books or magazines from that time period.
The Internet is also a great resource for researching fashion. If you have older relatives, you might want to discuss with them what type of clothes were worn during their day. Not only will you be able to learn a lot, but odds are that you will enjoy the time you spend with them.
When looking for quality vintage clothing for children, keep in mind that modern methods of constructing clothing are very different from the methods used even 20 years ago. When examining a vintage piece, keep in mind that seams will likely not be serged and finished, especially if the item predates the 1970s. In addition, you will likely see hems that are done using hemming tape rather than the more common rolled edged method of modern hemming. These differences do not indicate that the item is inferior and they probably should not influence your purchase. You should instead focus on obvious problems such as tears that cannot be repaired or staining that might not be removable.
If money is not a concern, try shopping some high-end vintage shops, where you can often find some of the most well-preserved and fashionable pieces. For those who have budget issues, it is sometimes possible to find reasonably priced quality vintage clothing for children at estate sales, auctions, and even yard sales. If the child is old enough, including him or her in the shopping expeditions could be a lot of fun for you both. Bringing the child along will also ensure that what you purchase will be something he or she likes.