I’ve compiled a guide for you on how to shop vintage online, beacuse many of my friends tell me that they really want to start to wear vintage, but they feel insecure about ordering it online. Will it fit? Will I be hustled? How much is tax and fees? How do I return things? Part 1 of the guide will cover how to find the right places to shop vintage online, part 2 will cover how to make sure your garment will fit, and part 3 is all about taxes and returns. I’m thinking about doing a part 4 as well, about finding new vintage stores when travelling abroad. Let me know if you’d like me to make it!
Where do I find vintage clothing online?
There is one very important principle to vintage shopping – the less you are willing to look, the more expensive the garment will be. Take me for example, when I was younger I loved to ramble through the salvation army, buy-a-kilo sales and similar – because I enjoyed the treasure hunting. The past 3-4 years I notice that I tend to buy clothes mostly from curated vintage shops, where I know I’ll find good, but more expensive stuff. Either way, I still search for “dress” on Ebay and Etsy and flip through 5000 garments on a day off to find the right one. Prepare to have to spend some time with vintage shopping online – the reward will be plentiful.
Etsy is my favourite place for vintage. When I sorted my wardrobe the other day I think almost all of my clothes (the ones I love the most) came from Etsy sellers. I enjoy just flipping through different categories on Etsy to source inspiration as well – and save beautiful things in my wishlist for later.
I usually begin with something simple and general, like 50’s dress or 60’s jacket. Then you won’t exclude possibly good garments where the seller has a different thought on which category the piece belongs in. Make sure you’ve ticket the vintage category, or else your forced to sort through tons of crafty stuff people make (nice if you like it but not my cup of tea).
I also like to follow Etsy shops, especially if I find a seller who has the same body measurements as me, because then I know that everything will fit. When you follow a shop you’ll get their newest added items in your front page feed too.
Ebay is the right place for the true enduring tresure hunter. I find that the more specific you are on Ebay, the more treasures you’ll find. Their search system is shit, and I prefer to only look for specific vintage designers or a very specific not so common garment – like culottes. Then I won’t be forced to flip through 6000+ “vintage” kimonos which are actually produced in China, but since they are trying to push their product to everybody they include it in their headline, hence it will be in the category vintage kimono. Annoyingly enough. Ebay has had a big increase in prices, especially on secondhand in bad shape.
When you are shopping for very special pieces or haute couture, William Vintage is a wonderful place to start. This is where true enthusiasts go and I admit that when you invest such a large sum of money you would be better of actually going to his shop in London. I frequently scan Ladoublej as well, because they are on a constant lookout for some of my fav vintage designers, like Oleg Cassini.
A little info on pricing
For very unique pieces you have to prepare fore designer prices. Vintage Lilli Ann, Pucci, Courreges, Pierre Cardin, Lilly Pulitzer, Goldworm and similar will range from 250-400 dollars for a two piece (skirt/top or dress/jacket). I usually buy vintage dresses in the 60 dollar segment – and they tend to made of polyester. Exquisite wool like cashmere is likely to be priced at 60 dollars for a sweater. In between i find treasures for 25 dollars, or amazing hats/scarves/gloves for 10 dollars. When you’ve spent some time researching vintage clothes you’ll know the prices by heart.
Next guide will be all about how to make sure the garment fits and a guide to taking your measurements and applying them.