Vintage Series: Best Ways to Shop
New or vintage? That can be quite the question when looking for new pieces to add to your wardrobe. While I love perusing the new collections of the season, vintage shopping is it’s own kind of treasure hunt.
There are plenty of options when it comes to shopping for vintage clothes. You can try your luck at your location thrift store, visit the vintage shops in your area, look for estate sales near you, turn to curated Instagram vintage shops and online shops, check Etsy, or (if you have something specific in mind) search Ebay. Here’s a basic rundown of each option.
This is great option if you have a tight budget and lots of time. Finding an item that is indeed vintage, in good condition, in your size, and that fits your style will take lots of sifting. But the thrill of the find is what makes this option so exciting. You never know when you’re going to come across that perfect Chanel blazer or the Farragamo slingbacks of your dreams. Try calling your local thrift stores and asking when they put new inventory out (what days and times) so you can be the first one to sort through. This will help you avoid racks that have already been picked through by other vintage-seekers. Also, make sure to take a look in the often-forgotten mens and kids sections. This is where a lot of those lived-in graphic tees and denim jackets reside.
These are speciality stores that typically sell only vintage items, which takes some of the guesswork out of the process of finding the age of a garment. These stores are often pickier when sourcing their inventory, which means you can shop with confidence. Bonus points if the store owner’s style aligns with yours. The one downside to vintage shops is that since the inventory is carefully chosen and merchandised, pieces often come with a hefty markup, so be prepared to pay for the convenience.
These are a lot like garage sales and yard sales except instead of being confined to one area of the house, you can shop the home’s entire contents (yes, including the closet). Estate sales can be vintage clothing treasure troves. Check your local paper (or the website equivalent), EstateSales.org, EstateSales.net (I highly recommend the app), and even Craigslist. Sales are typically posted a week to a few days before the actual sale, so check often.
Many listings will include photos so take a look through to see if there are any photos of the closet. If there aren’t, don’t lose hope. Check the description to see if '“vintage clothing” are mentioned. You may also see an email address so you can ask if there will be vintage clothing at the sale. Make sure to take a look at the terms and conditions so you know when to show up and what to bring. Be warned - show up earlier than you think you need to.
Instagram or Online Shops
Similar to brick and mortar vintage shops, Instagram and online vintage shops take the guesswork out of looking for vintage pieces, but they can come with a slight markup. The great thing about these options is that you can get amazing vintage from pretty much anywhere in the world. I recently bought a dreamy floral vintage dress from Fripouille Vintage in Paris and an amazing structured blazer from Nanin Vintage in Virginia. I just launched my own online shop, Wornable (view the online store here and the Instagram here) so I could further share my love for vintage pieces.
The best thing about vintage Instagram and online shops is that the pieces are carefully curated based on a specific style. So, if you find a shop you love and follow the account, chances are your feed will always contain the perfect new vintage finds for you without you even having to search.
Etsy is a marketplace solely for handmade and vintage goods. This is the perfect place to discover new vintage shops, search by keyword or filter by style, pattern, color, price, and occasion. Etsy is a great place to start building up your list of favorite vintage shops because new shops are easily discoverable based on the items you like.
eBay is a great place to go when looking for a specific brand or item. I use eBay less for browsing and more for directly searching, which makes it a great resource when I’m already inspired and on the hunt.
So there you have it - the five best places to look when searching for your next great vintage find. Thanks so much for reading and happy hunting!