Vintage Shopping? Score Steals with These Simple Tips

In big cities like New York, it’s easy to think that finding clothes that suit your style is easy. But this isn’t entirely true, especially for vintage dressers. As it turns out, the millions of fashion-forward individuals who occupy the have already picked through its vintage and secondhand stores pretty thoroughly.

This is the reason I have turned to online vintage shopping. eBay is one portal to buy all the vintage clothing your heart desires, but lately, I have been seeing more cute vintage duds on Etsy. And yes, it’s the same website you visit for rustic home décor and handmade jewelry. From unique trinkets, now thousands of pretty vintage clothes fill its pages.

Finding vintage goods online is a lot like scouring racks IRL to find what you didn’t know you had been looking. Only, you have far more choices. If you are planning to go through Etsy’s vintage section, here are some important tips to help you navigate the seemingly endless selections, from a successful Etsy veteran – me:

1. Have a style in mind.

When I said you’ll find thousands of secondhand products on Etsy, I wasn’t kidding. It pays to have a clear idea of what exactly you’re looking for. If you want, for example, a cinched gingham tie-up dress or a Versace-inspired plaid skirt, take down notes, so you don’t find yourself lost and overwhelmed in a sea of choices.

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2. Maximize the filters.

On the website’s left-hand side, you will see various types of filters. I usually ignore these when online shopping, but on Etsy, taking advantage of filters is the key to success.

Start clicking the tab that says “vintage.” Then, you can narrow your search by setting a price maximum refining your search by style, color, and more. This is why it helps to have an idea of what you are trying to find.

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If you don’t have a specific style in mind, though, you may simply expand your search out to a decade you favor (Mine is the 50s.) Doing your search by the decade lets you come up with surprising results.

3. Find sellers to love

Often, when a product piques my interest, enough to open it up in a new tab, I wander over to the seller’s store, regardless of whether I buy the item. This is my way of finding someone whose vintage sensibility is the same as mine. I favorite these stores and check them out every once in a while, when I need (or want!) new duds but am not exactly sure of what.

4. Use your heart

The heart icon on Etsy, that is. Clicking the icon saves the item to your favorites, or bookmarks it as you browse. The more items you favorite, the more new stuff that are personalized to your tastes, will appear on your homepage. Over time, your homepage on Etsy will become smarter. Instead of dedicating full hours to secondhand shopping, soon, you’ll be able to do quick drop-ins and check out in just 10 minutes.

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5. Don’t be afraid to ask

What I love about vintage shopping on Etsy is that it gets as close as possible to the real-life vintage shopping experience. You may not be able to feel the fabric yourself, but you can get more information about the item you’re eyeing by messaging the owner. Don’t be shy to ask about a garment’s fit, or about the seller’s return policy. You can even ask for additional photos, to help you make a decision. The more specific your questions, the better. By nitpicking with details such as fabrics, colors, and the condition, you know exactly what to expect.

There you go. Go forth and have fun going through the unique vintage pieces on Etsy!

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