How to Navigate Vintage Shopping Online
Since moving from Los Angeles to New York two years ago, I’ve struggled to find the unparalleled vintage shopping that LA has to offer. A love of the thrill of the hunt, coupled with the desire to be a more conscious consumer, have led to my voracious vintage addiction. What started as a few perfectly worn tees purchased from etsy, has become a full blown obsession giving the new items in my closet a run for their money. Determined to find unique pieces, I turned away from New York’s highly-curated vintage boutiques and shifted my focus online. With the extra time on your hands and an inability to shop in person, now is the perfect time to search for those hard to find, eccentric wardrobe additions.
We’re all at different points in our vintage journeys, and with individual tastes and styles, there is no one stop shop. Maybe you’re searching for an authentic 1930s slip dress, or perhaps you’ve been trawling vintage sites for a 1993 Chanel runway look for four years. Nothing beats the sensation of ransacking cardboard boxes of musty silk, but stumbling upon a Vivienne Westwood bustier from an unknowing seller in Kansas comes pretty close.
I am going to break this down into levels. Whether you have five minutes of targeted instagram shopping, or five hours of etsy trolling in you, this guide will help you find standout vintage pieces.
Pick your level, and happy hunting.
A quick note on Coronavirus… if you fear a hoarder in Iowa mailing you Coronavius along with your 80’s silk dress, I get it. Although it is unlikely to contract the virus from a package, here are some proactive steps. Sanitize the package. If you know you’re keeping it or the piece is non returnable anyways, throw it directly in the washing machine. If the garment is delicate, send it to the dry cleaner or hand wash in cold water. If you’re still unsure, wait for as long as you can before trying on your item. And maybe jump in the shower post try-on for some peace of mind.
For those seeking a more digestible approach and just dipping their toes into the ideas of purchasing a stranger's old clothes, I introduce you to vintage via a platform you are already too familiar with, Instagram. Numerous vintage accounts sell directly through their stories, simply DM to purchase and pay through cash apps like Paypal. @Madlyvintage is one of my favorites, Founder Maddy Anderson takes garments to her tailor, modernizing hemlines and turning Victorian nightgowns into crop summer tanks. @Iamthatshop is a Portland based seller, you’ll find those leather blazers you keep seeing around SoHo here. For original silk slip dresses and dreamy victorian lace inspiration check out @Eveliinavintage. For Jewelry and delicate vintage La Perla follow @luciazolea. Explore @Eliavintage for a unique version of Inamorata’s mini skirt suits, but be quick! These styles sell out fast.
My mornings are fairly routinized, independent of if I’m leaving the house or not. Wake up, pour a glass of cold brew with oat milk, get back in bed, and scroll through The Real Real’s new arrivals section. I check The Real Real before I even open my email, although I’m not sure I should be admitting that. Level two consists of The Real Real and Vestiaire Collective, online resellers with a curated collection of designers. You have to search, but you’re not weeding through random items or clothing from brands you have never heard of. I’d advise you to ‘heart’ items, you’ll be notified if they go on sale, and search by brand. It’s easier to have something you want in mind, but not necessary.
So you’ve mastered The Real Real, congrats. Ready to level up? Level three sites are depop, etsy, and ebay, in that order. With these three try to have some semblance of what you’re looking for in mind. Depop skews younger, so you’re probably not going to find the same Victorian blouses that Etsy is a goldmine for. Think 90s and early 2000s styles, or fall down the rabbithole of butterfly clips. Clothing and accessories are just a fraction of the hodgepodge of items and experiences that etsy and ebay have to offer. While you might run into some die hard DIY-ers on etsy, ebay requires a new level of sifting, liken to a treasure hunt. Try searching by era, style and material. And be prepared for a bidding war over that early 2000s Fendi Baguette.
Get to know Abigail better, @hirschabby for all her latest fashion endeavours.