When buying second hand, and especially true vintage items, the sizing is not always what you think it is.
For example - you might think that a pair of Levi's listed online as W32 is your size, when in modern sizing it is equivalent to W25. And don't trust the leg length either, as if they are old, they might have been mended. Vintage t-shirts vary hugely in size too. Some tees I have sold in L are more like an S, and a size M can be like a modern XL. French sizes are often smaller than you think, and US sizes bigger, even though they show you the same number sizing you are used to. The list can be made long.
It is very simple what you need to do
1. Go get your favourite fitting tee/jeans/sweater/jacket
2. Go get the measuring tape
3. Measure flat and save these numbers in your phone's notebook.
I normally go for these measurements first, and might request more if I am still unsure.
- Inner leg (crotch to end of leg)
- Pit to pit (back)
- Pit to end cuff (jackets/sweaters)
That's it? Yes, that is it. But you'd be surprised how many people don't know their measurements, and end up having too big or too small clothes arriving through their letterbox. Of course, you might want larger size tops and cropped jeans, but at least you know your baseline.
Top Tips on how to shop second hand like a pro
Bring the measuring tape when out and about. This is what I do when out sourcing for clients. I can in an instant check if the waist is anywhere near what I am after, or make sure a jacket is not too snug over the shoulder.
Don't be afraid to ask online sellers for measurements - a serious seller will be more than happy to share any extra info you request.