View of warehouse filled with large white-bagged bales containing clothing. Image taken by HOTCAKES vintage clothes pickers during picking visit

| How We Pick And Grade

Our clothing selections are now split between shop floor and online.  In both you’ll find garments ranging from vintage thrift to premium and rare pieces. 

All our stock is handpicked. We curate. We don’t buy blind by shipping in clothing picked for us, or in kilo batches.  That would take the joy away of mining for treasure.  

During a handpick we will dig through thousands of items, we pile up our finds as we go along, and then towards the end of a very long and backbreaking day, we go through each and every item, checking for defects and damage, and rejecting anything that doesn’t cut the mustard.

When our business started it was our aim to handpick and supply as near to immaculate as we could find. Wearing pre-loved wasn’t as prevalent back then and we wanted to show our customers that wearing something pre-worn didn’t mean compromising on quality.  In fact in most cases it was better quality.  That standard still holds today, and we’re still as thorough during handpicking as we were back then. 

We don’t always pick ‘on trend’.  A well-made garment with a beautiful cut which has been made using a quality textile is timeless. Every one of us has their own unique style, so if we love it we’ll pick it regardless of what fashion editors and influencers are telling us all we should be wearing. 

There are some things, rare antique garments, or simply beautiful pieces needing tender loving care, or those which are useful resources for fashion historians, designers and students, which we will include in our pick and bring home with us, and we will include these for sale online or in store.  This is history, it’s lovely to take the time to share it whether it sells quickly or not.

Wherever possible all of our vintage clothing is cleaned before it goes on sale, and we pride ourselves on our customers being able to walk out of HOTCAKES wearing a garment.  

We’re lucky to have been in this trade for some time now, we’ve sold thousands of garments to a multitude of happy people over the years and we have a loyal repeat following of in-store buyers.  And in turn we’ve been loyally buying from the same suppliers from the off.  We are confident in the grade of clothing we offer. 

On the matter of whether it’s vintage or preloved? You are choosing not to buy new, and that is all that matters.  We describe our clothing as vintage if it’s post 1940 with a circa year to make listing it easier all round, and as antique when it’s pre 1940. 

Our grading: 

When we list a garment we grade as such:

Excellent:  Minimal wear, no apparent garment issues

Very good: Minor wear, minimal garment issues

Good: A fair amount of evident prior wear, some garment issues, but nothing to detract. 

TLC needed: this is most commonly used to describe an older, or antique garment needing specialist clean or repair. 

For all our grades any garment issues are described within each garment listing.  We do not sell or list anything we consider to be unwearable with or without a little tlc.




We’re good at what we do.  We’re also human. Vintage and preloved clothing is exactly that, and it has often been worn before.  Should you discover any condition issue with a garment that we’ve missed during grading, cleaning, steaming, photography, measuring, and listing, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re a friendly and approachable bunch and we want our customers to be happy.

Please see our separate blog post on vintage clothing sizing, and why it’s good to know your body measurements before buying vintage/preloved clothes online.  






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