1. Don't bother with vintage stores
    I've been to the vintage stores on Melrose and I can never find anything. Thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.) are cheaper and better, even if it's not a curated selection. The white section of the Rosebowl Flea Market is 💯. There are also some awesome vintage shows in LA throughout the year, most notably Vintage Expo downtown and Vintage Clothing and Textile Show in Burbank.
  2. Go to thrift stores late on a Sunday
    If you're going to a thrift store like Goodwill, never go during the day on a weekend because it'll be packed and largely picked over. Go late because the new stuff will be out and it's a much more relaxed atmosphere to shop in.
  3. Tags
    An easy way to tell what decade something is from is to look at the tag. Look at the material, font, whether the words are embroidered or printed on, level of wear, etc.
  4. Big E Levi's
    Really old vintage Levi's jeans that are actually worth hecka $$$$ have an ORANGE tag that reads "LEVI'S" not "LeVI'S" like the new ones do.
  5. YKK
    A lot of designer brands (Gucci, Chanel, etc.) use zippers from the Japanese zipper company Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha because they're the best quality zippers on the market. They'll read "YKK." A great way to tell if what you're looking at is actually designer and not a knockoff is to look at the quality of the zipper. Luxury brands won't skimp on a plastic zipper that breaks; they'll probably go with YKK.
  6. 70s Coach purses
    I didn't know that anyone made counterfeit coach purses, but apparently they do. The zipper rule doesn't really apply here; some zippers are YKK, some aren't. But if it's supposed to be from the 70s or 80s, be sure it says "Made in USA" on the inside embossed label.
  7. Bakelite
    You can tell if a piece of jewelry is Bakelite by putting Scrubbing Bubbles on a paper towel and rubbing it. If you get a yellow streak on the paper towel, it's Bakelite.