Tips to Buying Vintage Clothes Online
Any vintage connoisseur already knows nothing beats that rush that comes the moment you lock eyes and lay hands on that pristine vintage find in your local thrift store. Can it be real? Surely there's a huge flaw somewhere! After inspecting the label and checking for imperfections you can't help but think you are a brilliant vintage goddess for devoting hours of fruitless rack searches to find this holiest of vintage grails.
Realistically, depending where you live, this may be a rather rare experience. I have lived in small towns that never receive a stitch of quality vintage and also in cities where quality vintage is plentiful, but so is the buying competition, so much so that girls fight as though it's the Filene's Basement's 'running of the brides' sale leaving many banned from shopping at any of the local stores, plus the prices on what you still manage to find are already sky high taking all the fun and thrill out of the hunt and gather of it. Bottom line, the thrift store possibilities for decent vintage clothing finds are either picked through, nonexistent or entering the realm of competition sport.
The solution? Buying vintage clothes online.
Certainly there are pros and cons to taking this approach, but some of it depends on the purpose of your vintage shopping excursion. Determined to find the ultimate peacock print, boho maxi dress to rock the club while jet-setting to St. Tropez or scouring isles in search of quantity vintage to resell? Either way buying vintage clothes online can be favorable, but locating fab finds at a price that allows room for profit from reselling gets a bit trickier. Whatever the desired outcome these tips should help you gain some knowledge to buying vintage clothes online.
First, know your key words. If you are new to browsing vintage clothing this may take a little research, but you'll learn quickly; eBay can be a useful tool. If you don't know the exact vintage terms (such a vintage eyelet babydoll or boho indian print batik sundress) then just use the basic generic terms: “vintage dress”. While this will result in more choices then you can possibly ponder, you will being to notice a pattern in the titles of the style you are looking for. Eventually you will be able to narrow it down to 50's cocktail dress with shelf bust or 70's lace crochet mini dress with scarf hem. If there is a particular color or label you would like to go with that will obviously help your search while searching through vintage clothes online.
Next thing to consider for new or regular vintage shoppers: is this real vintage? The best indicator is the label; even though I like to think I have a well trained eye for the real thing, I have been shocked while in store to grab for something I think is a gem only to find it is a retro knock off from (yikes) some trendy mall retailer. Beginners and old schoolers alike need to get familiar with VFG.
The Vintage Fashion Guild (www.vintagefashionguild.org) is a useful resource for many different labels; this informative site includes a history of the brand as well as images of the labels through the decades to help determine if that delicious Lilly Pulitzer find is from early or late 1960's, or simply a retro look that actually came out last year. Look under the VFG Resources Tab for the A-Z Label Resource; it really doesn't get any easier than this.
Last major tip for successful shopping for vintage clothes online is to take advantage of the many trustworthy sellers available. While using online stores or even sellers through eBay or Etsy the price tag may be higher than you would like if your intention is to resell, but really the tactic is the same as a buyer looking for one item for a special occasion, it just may take more hours of searching to find that remarkable, under-priced, authentic vintage gem. The hunt is worth the reward. There are many established vintage stores online, (www.PoshVintage.com happens to be my favorite) and finding an online store that has been around a few years usually equals a safe bet.
Using channels like eBay or Etsy allows you to only shop with sellers who have high rating approval from previous buyers. Just make sure to read the fine print. Many sellers offer retro looks and openly admit that, but buyers distracted by shiny objects may not bother to read the full description that mentions the item for sale is a hand-sewn version inspired by vintage or a Pucci (looking) print which is a lot different than a Pucci print.
Once you are familiar with maneuvering around the internet searching for specific items you will find this approach almost as rewarding as the hours spent sifting through endless racks of disappointment at the secondhand shops; it still takes knowledge, determination and a keen eye to find those to-die-for, It Girl looks that will surely make you the envy of whatever event or location you wear it to. With experience buying vintage clothes online will come to be even more addictive than scouring the musty, dimly lit thrift stores.
Since writing this Hub, and earning a Hub Nugget award for it, I was inspired to reopen my Etsy shop... feel free to take a look http://www.etsy.com/shop/wORNaGAIN?ref=pr_shop