How to Shop for Vintage Online
I don’t know about you, but I love the thrill I get from a successful vintage treasure hunt. There is nothing more satisfying than finding a unique vintage piece that was definitely worn during a different fashion era and has a story behind it!
I live 2 exits away from the most popular and recently revamped mall in Orange County, but I still prefer to purchase clothes via local boutiques, small brands I find online, or vintage shops. The research is more of a hustle, but it totally pays off at the end! I personally don’t like owning the same stuff as everyone else and buying from smaller brands that I am 100% sure are ethically made, and giving used items another chance makes me feel so much better about spending the money.
All fun and games aside—buying vintage pieces can also be tiring, a gamble, and mostly intimidating. A newbie in the thrifting/vintage shopping game can easily feel overwhelmed and find it hard to know where to start… which is where I come in!
I know most of you live pretty busy lives and don’t have enough time to drive to a thrift shop, which is why I decided to give you my go-to online vintage shopping tips!
Shop from a website you trust — I’ve broken this rule a couple times when looking for hidden gems. It has worked out at the end… However, more often than not people get scammed or acquire a piece that is not really vintage and is just plainly worn out.
Know the worth of the pieces you’re looking for — The mistake that a lot of people make is over paying for stuff. I can’t stress this enough: just because it’s labeled vintage doesn’t mean it should be marked up to $100 when it’s really worth $20.
Really look into the item’s condition — Make sure you read and reread the item’s description, specially the SMALL font where they usually try to hide the problems with the piece.
Get ready to negotiate — One of my favorite parts of vintage shopping is bringing down an item’s price and really gambling with the shop owner. Use this trick to your advantage and get the best deals!
Study the shipping charges before you bid/invest — I am usually more attracted to European and New Yorker shops which has made paying for shipping not my best part of the online vintage game. More often than not, I get caught up on getting a good deal and forget about the part that makes shoppers cringe and overthink their purchase the most. PLEASE make sure to consider the shipping charges before going forward on an item.
Set a spending limit for yourself — When you’re vintage shopping you will occasionally get the impulsive feeling of: “If I don’t get it now when will I ever encounter this item again”. Let’s just say that thought made me own way too many denim jackets and made my credit card statement higher than it should’ve been.
The return policy is key — I mostly online shop for vintage band tees + oversized outerwear and usually order the items twice my size for an extra “eating me alive” look. I’ve made the mistake of not checking for a return policy because I was sooo overly excited about a vintage gem and ended up being disappointed by it and had to keep it or resell it because I couldn’t return it.
Look around and do your research — Don’t stick to buying from the first shop you find, vintage shopping is all about exploring your options and finding the best deal out there. Buying from the first shop you’ve spotted is basically taking the easy way out and you’ve probably been told to avoid that all costs.
eBay is a secret holy grail — When Amazon took over the e-commerce empire everyone seemed to forget about the OG online site, eBay! I mean, I am more than okay with people forgetting about it because that means more deals for me but since I am being generous here—DON’T TAKE EBAY FOR GRANTED! This site is full of goldmines ready to get discovered and if you don’t jump on them someone else DEFINITELY will.
Establish a relationship with the shop owner and get the inside scoop — Every time I have a great experience with a shop I make sure to communicate it with the owner, tag them on the photo every time I post their item, and leave them a nice thought out review afterwards. It might sound cliche and simple but ohhh myyy the results are groundbreaking. This will make them keep you in mind for future items added to their site, if you specify that you’re interested on that. Many say that shop owners don’t play favorites but this is FAR from the truth. If they know they can rely on you as a constant customer they WILL give you a priority when it comes to bidding on an item and might even select you to be their brand ambassador!
NEVER regret a purchase — If you think you’ll only wear the clothes once or don’t see yourself placing the piece of furniture somewhere around your house, DON’T SPEND THE MONEY!
Know your measurements — Simple and to the point: Learn your measurements!
ASK QUESTIONS — If you’re shy and don’t communicate with the buyer, you might not purchase what you thought you did. Make sure to get all your questions answered by them before bitting the bullet for better shopping results!