Until the pandemic, when I became embarrassed by the amount of unworn clothing in my closet, I never really considered shopping vintage or realized how much fun I could truly have by exploring so many sites and stores. Vintage to me was the Christian Dior jacket that the publisher of Vogue sold me for $200 when she was done with it, or the white mink coat my mother handed down to me that was a gift from my father in the ’60s. The quality of both these items was unsurpassed and made me feel chic and elegant. Other than these glitzy pieces given to me, my definition of vintage was used, ripped, or dirty clothes.
After sending over 60 items to the Real Real, an authenticated luxury designer consignment store, in mid-2020, I discovered that the site provides data on how your consigned clothes can really change your carbon footprint. The Real Real actually has a way to calculate how many liters of water and kilograms of carbon your consignment has saved (this is done in partnership with World Resources Institute, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and Shift Advantage). This continues to be a real motivating factor in my ongoing challenge to keep my closet fresh and devoid of unworn clothes while making room for vintage finds.
So, Why Else Shop Vintage?
Vintage is much more than homemade items, mid-century circle skirts, or ripped, used clothing. Vintage has multiple benefits and very few drawbacks:
🍀 Unique, one of a kind finds
Ever since I can remember, I never wanted to be caught dead at work or at an event wearing the same thing as anyone else. My goal was to be the first to sport a new style or color. I also prided myself on being up to date and on-trend, but never trendy. Shopping Vintage ensures that you will never appear at an event or show up on Zoom wearing the same thing as anyone else in the room. The most special vintage pieces are usually entirely unique and bursting with whimsical details that cannot be accurately reproduced; the prints, the pintucks, the buttons… there just isn’t anything else like them.
🔎 The quality is better than you might expect
The quality of vintage clothing is simply unmatched by that of contemporary clothing, with the exception only of high-end luxury designers. Clothing was a real art and craft before the 1970s when polyester first became dominant, and especially before the early 1960s when clothing was crafted to last. In addition to great quality, buying vintage also offers the opportunity to purchase a designer brand for a fraction of the cost. The craftsmanship of these clothes is hard to imagine if you have never been able to afford luxury or designer prices, which most of us have not. The discovery is addictive!
🎁 Vintage clothing is often new, unworn clothing
This is part of the fun. If you have the time to scour vintage stores or sites, you can often find todays’ styles that have never been worn. So, you are saving money, you’ll often be the first person to wear the unworn garment, and you’ll often find a piece of clothing that has history and a story associated with it. Score!
💰You can make some extra money and keep your closet edited
If you consign, or sell, your old clothes and then shop in the secondary market at places like vintage stores, websites, or thrift shops, you will see how, little by little, your bank account grows. The added benefit of consigning and also buying in the secondary market is having a fresh wardrobe and a clean closet of choices you love.
The Downside of Shopping Vintage
In America, sizes have become larger over the last 30 years overall. So, part of the challenge of shopping vintage is finding your size. The small sizes go fast, as there are not many. As vintage goes more mainstream, there will be more size inclusion. The other notable challenge, which has been improving over the last ten years, is the hygiene factor. Nowadays, more clothes that are in gently worn condition are being consigned, and most of the top resale sites will reject clothes that are in poor condition. Occasionally, items slip through the cracks, but for the most part, vintage has gone upmarket. It is up to you to decide how much wear and tear you can tolerate and how badly you want the item.
So, what are our favorite sites and stores for shopping vintage?
We have many! ✨🛍
The Real Real – the original true luxury consignment retailer
Etsy– Not as upmarket as TRR but has an enormous selection of luxury handbags, t-shirts, jeans, footwear, wedding dresses, and more.
Ebay– the original bargain retailer
Poshmark– More work than TRR due to having to photograph everything
Thred Up– more basic than those above
Beacon’s Closet – three locations in New York City and an easy-to-use website
- Pickwick Vintage Fair – Based in Los Angeles, Pickwick is a show of 65+ vintage vendors that takes place a few times a year. You need to buy tickets.
Our favorite Instagram Vintage Shopping
Personally, vintage has made me feel better about my bank account, and I love the discovery process. I feel empowered about helping planet earth, and I love the quality and unique nature of most things I find. Let us know if you have any fun vintage websites or sources. WE are always on the lookout for more! 👀😍
*Bonus! Click the links to learn more!