Ask me who makes my dress/skirt/bag and nine times out of ten I’ll say “it’s vintage!” With a closet jam-packed with pieces from the 50s, 60s, and 80s, I was able to find the best places to buy vintage online.
Vintage die-hards might tell you that to get the good stuff, you’ll have to go offline. Typically, vintage dealers do not sell online. In addition, you must touch, smell and (above all!) try your vintage before giving it new life. But that said, there are corners of the internet that offer a wealth of vintage. In other words, if you know what you are looking for.
Just like the word “fashion”, “vintage” encompasses many things. It is loosely interpreted as clothing and accessories created 20 or more years ago. And to deserve the label of antiquity, an object must have aged 100 years or more. At press time, anything pre-2002 is indeed considered vintage, but the nuances don’t stop there. There’s also resale, consignment, second-hand and archival, all of which are terms used in the world of fashion PR to describe things that aren’t. enough vintage, but on the way.
Personally, I gravitate towards incredibly dated pieces, and to find them I have to be strategic about where I shop. While I love The real real, I’m not likely to find my ingenious ’60s summer day dresses there. Instead, I’ll find seasons-old Marc Jacobs for a steal. When I’m looking for museum-worthy pieces, I head to Shrimpton Couture. And when I feel like shopping in stylish It girls closets, that’s it Dora Mar. (And if I ever find myself craving a TikTok fit, then maybe I’ll end up on Depop.)
Since it’s so easy to get lost in this space, here’s a little map (compiled with help from Liana Satenstein) to help you find your vintage treasure. A list of our favorite and best places to buy vintage (or used) online, below.
Let’s start with the most lively. You probably already know and love The RealReal for its painless checkout process and easy-to-use app that makes second-hand shopping easy. Launched in 2001 by Julie Wainwright in San Francisco, The RealReal offers authentic second-hand luxury. Think Balenciaga’s pre-loved it-bags and recent Oscar de la Renta sundresses. The RealReal really stands out as a place where selling is as fun as shopping – a circular fashion destination indeed.
Have you ever loved someone’s style so much you wished you could raid their closet? Well, that’s precisely what Lauren Wilson, CEO and Founder of Dora Maar, set out to do. Named after the French photographer, poet and painter, Maar was also the lover of a certain Mr. Pablo Picasso and featured in many of his paintings. In a nutshell, she was his muse, and muses are the essence of Wilson’s site, which launched in 2019. Hand-picked people (like Natalie Bloomingdale’s, Lauren Levison, Edward Barsamian, editorial content manager for vogue México and Latinoamérica Karla Martinez de Salas, and yours truly) will list their treasures on Dora Maar for everyone to shop. For shoppers, it’s the perfect way to access a style you admire. Expect immaculate Erdem dresses, feminine handbags, rare Alaïa and a bit of vintage. For sellers, you can also sell anonymously, but better yet, name yourself as DoMa Muse! You will be in excellent company.
Looking for that aughties Tom Ford Gucci? That Todd Oldham from the 80s? This Comme des Garçons of the 90s? Look no further than James Veloria. A true vintage store, James Veloria is one of the few purveyors of vintage fashion that’s just as fun to shop online as it is to shop in-store, located in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Founded by two vintage-obsessed fashion enthusiasts, Collin James and Brandon Veloria, the store is known to attract many vogue editors. According to Liana Satenstein, “James Veloria has long been a vintage haven. They have the best designer pieces, sometimes sung and overlooked. Although a New York landmark at this point, James Veloria offers an equally stellar selection online, so you can get a slice of downtown in your wardrobe no matter where you live.
While not exactly a vintage store, Etsy is the platform used by several small business vintage stores across the country and one of my favorite destinations for vintage. It’s especially great for shoppers looking for pieces from the early 40s, 50s and 60s. Looking for that Betty Draper dress to wear to a garden party? Just search for exactly that and the results are plentiful. Or how about a bolder change from Edie Sedgwick? You will find it too. Simply filter your results to search only vintage and you’ll be presented with pages and pages of retro parts. Plus, buying Etsy means supporting local small businesses.
Consider 1stdibs Etsy’s most demanding older sibling (and eBay and any other marketplace style e-merchant). Museum-level vintage dealers (most without a physical store) flock to 1stdibs to fill their online stores with pristine Pucci kaftans and let’s not forget antique jewelry. Bonus points go to 1stdibs for provenance and historical information provided by sellers. To buy 1stdibs is to follow a little fashion history lesson. After all, Michael Bruno founded the market after visiting the famous Paris Flea Market.
If a social app and a thrift store had a baby, it would be Depop. Beloved by GenZ, Depop is one of the younger destinations on this list. Started in 2011 in Roncade, Italy by Simon Beckerman, Depop is now a global peer-to-peer marketplace based in London and sometimes these “peers” are followed. Olivia Rodrigo caused a stun when she threw her closet on Depop last year. Raising money for charity, Rodrigo sold items worn on his music video sets, all of which sold out instantly. Megan Thee Stallion, Princess Nokia, Dita von Teese, Lily Allen and Paloma Elsesser are some of Depop’s best-known members.
Fashion historians have long followed Shrimpton Couture. Even if you’re not interested in buying a metallic Zandra Rhodes dress, you should probably find out a little more. Fashion is all about credentials, after all, and no one knows that better than SC founder Cherie Balch. Based in Canada, the boutique and its Instagram account tell the story of an individual garment’s provenance and if you weren’t sure why Rhodes (for example) deserves your attention, Balch is here to tell you why. Following the store’s Instagram account is an experience in itself, but head to the website to witness a top-notch selection of high-end vintage.
Last year, when fashion conglomerate Kering (parent company of Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta) invested a pretty penny in French resale site Vestiaire, it marked a turning point in history. of fashion. Brands have tended to turn a blind eye to the used market, but Kering has been in on all the action. Founded in 2006, Vestiaire is called a collective partly because the inventory is generated by users, but also, there were six founders. What distinguishes Vestiaire from a traditional resale platform is that Vestiaire acts as an authenticated intermediary. Upload your Gucci bag to the site with your own photos. Once sold, you send it to Vestiaire to authenticate before it reaches its final destination. Shoppers can expect all the designer brands they’re hoping for.
Rebag’s second-hand handbag deals are as good as it gets. Since so many bags are in pristine condition, you may wonder if something has ever been transported or not. But the beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the novelty isn’t too different. Launched in 2014 by Charles Gorra, Rebag stands out with its instant offer technology. Those looking to sell or trade their luxury handbags will receive payment upfront. And just this month, Rebag launched its partnership with Operating mode— head to Moda to shop for second-hand luxury bags for the very first time.
This next recommendation also comes from Liana Satenstein. “Fun fact: I only met Olivia Haroutounian once, it was for a story for vogue when she was in town from Texas. But I’ve been buying from her for over two years. She’s still in college but has a veteran’s eye for vintage and impeccable taste: fun, chic and something extraordinary. sex and the city. She does not buy according to trends but according to what she personally likes. Her designers are often iconic but under the radar and every item from her is a piece of fashion history.