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07.12.2015
Shopping for vintage clothing online can be as confusing as trying to find a needle in a haystack. But when it comes to knowing where to buy vintage online, not every vintage lovin’ gal wants to just go by word of Google. Knowing where to buy vintage online can seem daunting with so many websites to shop from, so I broke down the top 5 online vintage marketplaces to give you a clearer picture for deciphering how best to take advantage of each.
While each site has their pros and cons, these vintage marketplaces share the common ground of providing vintage lovers like you with the opportunity to shop vintage clothing online from the comfort of your own computers. Which of the online vintage marketplaces described below do you prefer using to shop vintage and why?
Let me know by leaving a comment on the post, or saying hello via Facebook, Twitter or Email! The best pro for buyers when shopping Ebay is their buyer protection service, an Ebay-guarantee that you’ll receive the item you paid for or be reimbursed in full by the seller. THE BASICS: Next to Ebay, Etsy is the second biggest online vintage marketplace, attracting an average of 8 million people to its site monthly. Etsy is a great site to shop for vintage in a more streamlined and aesthetically pleasing experience than Ebay.
Additionally, Etsy has a handmade goods section that complements a vintage lover’s homespun personality. PROS: In addition to affordability and aesthetics, shopping Etsy allows you to connect with a vintage seller in a more personal way.
Make sure that you have registered successfully for and understand how best to use Paypal before purchasing through Etsy. I love spending an hour or so shopping on Etsy because the site allows you to focus your search by also inspiring how you might search, too.
Additionally, after you search for an item you are given a tool on the left hand side of your page (see picture above) where you can plug in a specific item location, price range or shipping destination.
Ruby Lane’s homepage allows you to search for or browse items in one of these specific categories. Because sellers are subjective to their own pricing, you may sometimes see a piece priced unreasonably high OR if you’re lucky, too low! For the most part, Ruby Lane has attracted a community of vintage sellers who pride themselves on the best vintage pieces. Ruby Lane will actually suggest other vintage items to you related to the item you are currently viewing on the page. If you are looking at a formal vintage dress in the price range of $300 you’ll be shown other formal dresses in a similar price range below the listing (see image above). The pro side of this is that alongside clothing, you can also shop for a vintage Coca-Cola sign for decorating purposes or vintage china for an upcoming dinner party.
Thankfully Art Fire does have a drop down menu categorizing the various ways to shop vintage on the site. The picture above displays search results for the free shipping category, which is always a huge perk to receive when shopping online! The site is growing and has definitely grown fast since it’s founding in August 2011.
I love Style.ly for the most unique feature of all online vintage marketplaces listed in this very article. Also, I just checked out style.ly for the first time and it looks like they have a really cool phone app! For an engagement ring that stands out and tells a story, consider buying a vintage engagement ring. It’s sometimes easier to buy online, where you can browse a vast selection of vintage engagement rings from any era.
If you’re looking for something more budget friendly, sites like eBay and Etsy offer some well-priced vintage engagement rings. Now that you know where to buy, you can begin the fun process of searching through decades of artwork and styles to find the perfect vintage engagement ring for you. In my opinion, when shopping cheap vintage clothing the prices are comfortable enough that you can buy a few items at once without breaking the bank. Shopping vintage clothing online or from a curated vintage clothing boutique are the best ways to shop for specific top-quality styles.
But when you’re pinching your pennies or you just want the thrill of finding the most vintage for your buck, you sacrifice quality for speed of acquirement and amount acquired, versus the equal joys of purchasing a beautiful singular piece of clothing from a private seller.
Whether you have expensive tastes or are a thrifter at heart, keep reading after the jump for my 10 best tips and tricks to finding vintage clothing for less! I hope that today’s post inspires you to shop vintage no matter your budget, and to also remember to shop online vintage marketplaces and stores for the best pickings in one place! Feel free to scroll through the post see my top 10 list for the best sources of cheap vintage clothing, or click any of the links below to be taken immediately to the text within the article! THE SOURCE: Your grandmother’s closet, chest drawers, wardrobe, trunk, storage bins, attic and beyond! ADVICE: Asking your grandmother for her clothing can be tricky, depending on how close you are to her and how frequently you spend time with one another. I recently inherited my grandmother’s costume jewelry collection because my cousin helped her to de-clutter and organize her bedroom.


THE SOURCE: Clothing swap events, whether organized within your group of friends or thanks to national swap event organizers like The Swapaholics. ADVICE:  Use my tricks and tips to identifying vintage clothing at thrift stores when searching for vintage at a swap event. THE SOURCE: Your local flea market is full of vintage finds scattered throughout the booths, tables and tents. ADVICE:  To grab vintage gold at the lowest price possible, visit your local flea market on rainy days. ADVICE: Yard sales occur because the owner of the goods wants to de-clutter but make some money in the interim.
So if you love 4 sequin dresses that cost $20 each, negotiate their price down to $15 a piece by adding in 5 pairs of shoes for the seller’s asking price of $5 each, so that your total is now $85 for 9 pieces versus $80 for 4 pieces. THE SOURCE: Vintage clothing sold by-the-pound or at a significantly less expensive price-per-piece at a brick-and-mortar store or warehouse facility.
Using Yelp to search for by-the-pound and locations  as well as word-of-mouth is the best way to find these hush-hush locations. THE PRICE: Pieces are weighed on a scale much like shopping for thrift finds at the Goodwill Outlet, but with a higher price-per-pound because the vintage has been curated for you and is of higher quality than what you could potentially find at a thrift store, but lesser quality than that of a boutique or online vintage store. Use my how to thrift store shop like a pro series to help you prepare, pack, strategize, shop and finally buy like an A-game thrift player.
THE SOURCE: Estate sales are like upscale yard sales organized when a home is being sold because the former owners are moving or have deceased.
Estate sales are more bountiful than a yard sale because the entire home’s estates are being sold, rather than just what the owners have de-cluttered as castoffs to sell at bargain prices. THE PRICE: Generally, prices per piece at estate sales are going to cost more than anything else on this top 10 list because the sales are thoughtfully planned, promoted and executed. ADVICE: Do as much preliminary research about the former owners of the estate before deciding whether to attend or not. Using a national directory like Estate Sale Finder provides you with the general information of the sale’s details and photos of some contents for sale, but learning how old the owners were, what their professions were and if they had any interesting hobbies will also shed light on whether the sale is truly worth your time. My rule of thumb is that the older and wealthier (and arguably, eccentric) the owners are, the more likely the estate will have vintage clothing finds that are one-of-a-kind and worth their price. ADVICE: This method of cheap vintage clothing purchase is best suited for vintage sellers, who can buy a lot of vintage for $150 and only need to flip three pieces at $50 each to get their money back. Other listings advertise that a vintage store is liquidating because they are going out of a business, an online vintage seller is having a private one-day only blowout sale or that a neighborhood vintage-themed flea market happening this weekend. Always request a lower price than what the seller is listing, as this is expected of Craiglist and makes your purchase much more thrifty and worth the time and investment of research, connection and pick-up. THE SOURCE: The costume shop of your town’s theater is filled to the brim with vintage goodies!
THE PRICE: If the costume shop is hosting a sale, anywhere from $5 to $15 a piece or upon purchasing a large lot of clothing, a negotiated buy-it-all discount. When I bought from the Fulton I negotiated my price-per-piece down from $10 to $5 each because I was purchasing nearly $200 in clothing, much of which was the true vintage collector’s pieces that were suffering from dead rot (very fragile) and therefore unwearable. ADVICE: Call the professional, collegiate and school theaters in your town to ask if they are interested in scheduling a selling appointment with you. Because everyone always needs a de-clutter, chances are that your theater will welcome the opportunity to sell the pieces it no longer needs to you. ADVICE: When traveling to the UK or other countries abroad, ask international vintage lovers (like those who spend time on the Sammy Davis Vintage fanpage!) to fill you in on where to visit for cheap vintage clothing.
I won’t name names, but we have oodles of customers in the UK, so some of those vintage store finds are actually coming from us!
Thank you a lot for sharing this with all folks you really understand what you are talking approximately! Grandma is a great source of vintage, but only for those who have her which is not my case :( I guess the list is very full, the only other source I would add is Instagram. There are a lot more resalers out there but those are the 3 that I've had experience with and would recommend.
Another way to buy vintage online is through vintage marketplaces, where independent sellers list their pieces for sale by auction or to buy at set prices. You’ll notice that Ebay has millions of visitors every month while sites like Ruby Lane and Artfire attract roughly 500,000 visitors. Sometimes the sellers create very long pages that require you to scroll down at length for all the information. I’ve spent 5 minutes staring at my screen trying to figure out how to contact the seller with a question! The American Archive vintage dress shown above has a current bid of $51, but the buy it now price is $198. I’ve heard stories of bidders winning vintage at unheard of prices with the right stroke of bidding luck. Many vintage lovers argue that they can find vintage pieces for less on Etsy, because there is no bidding on the site and therefore all prices are determined by the seller and not by the results of a bidding war instead.
This is another step to the buying process which may complicate matters regarding payment, shipping and fees. If you’d like to purchase an item locally, you can potentially arrange for pick-up of the item from the seller so that you can avoid shipping fees.


The site also does a great job of showcasing featured items and shops so that top quality items have a chance to be seen by your eyes. You’ll notice that while there are fewer deals to come by on Ruby Lane, you have more options to buy designer and top label vintage pieces versus just run-of-the-mill department store finds. They each attract a similar amount of visitors monthly and sell vintage clothing alongside collectibles.
When first tackling Art Fire, shop with a goal in mind so that you avoid getting sidetracked! If you’re on a tight budget or want more for less, focus your search here for results that keep your bank account happy. I’ve discovered vintage clothing listed for nearly half the amount it would cost on other online vintage sites. The average amount of visitors to site is nearing 100,000, which is a fraction of what competitors Ebay and Etsy attract and about one-fifth the amount of site traffic garnered by Ruby Lane & Art Fire.
I predict that with each passing month, vintage lovers will find a greater selection of pieces available to buy at affordable prices on Style.ly. You can research the jeweler’s reputation ahead of time, and can choose someone who is trusted in your community.
Just make sure you’re purchasing from a reputable website, like Brilliant Earth, Trumpet & Horn, or The One I Love, just to name a few.
Whenever you buy online you run the risk of purchasing something without a jeweler’s guarantee, so get your ring inspected at a local jeweler as soon as it arrives to make sure it’s as advertised. The store owners and buyers research, pick, shop, clean, mend and steam the best pieces they can find to present to vintage lovers for a fun, enjoyable and easy shopping experience. However, my grandmother’s sequin dresses, cashmere sweaters and silk scarves are still packed away in her Pennsylvania home. That way you can tackle the tables and racks of style with a focused shopping mission in mind.
There will be less foot traffic and therefore less sales, so the dealer will be more likely to negotiate the selling price of his vintage wares to alleviate the pain of a low-profits day.
If I was having a bad sale day, I was willing to barter just to break even against the cost of my booth!
Bulk Vintage (38 North 3rd Street in Philadelphia) is an example, where one pound of vintage clothing costs $8.
Usually a company hosts the estate sale on behalf of the home and takes a cut of the profits, so there is an added value to each piece sold. That way you can stay on top of recent listings and jump on a great deal or be alerted to a future event ASAP.
This source was inspired by my recent discovery of costume shop vintage finds after the Fulton Opera Theater in my hometown had a blowout sale.
While I lucked out with my hometown’s theater, it will take independent initiative to reveal the potential in your local theater.
In my opinion, it’s worth it to pay 15 pounds per kilo (approximately $18.80) when you know that absolutely no one back home is going to ever be wearing your finds!
You'll find a wide selection of designer clothing, handbags and accessories from premiere luxury brands such as Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta.. Whether you’re a fan of the ornate rings of the Georgian period, the fairytale-like styles of the Victorian era, the elaborate filigree and international influence of of the Edwardian times, or the asymmetrical shapes of Art Deco, always keep in mind that these rings are vintage and therefore need extra inspection and possible retouching to keep them in perfect shape. If you buy the ring from someone local, it’s easier to return with questions or any cleaning or maintenance needs in the future. These sites are especially useful if you’re looking for a vintage setting but are planning to add your own stone.
Sticking to your goals is key so that you don’t walk away with too much of a good thing! Then for the lovers of vintage that don’t have the time and strength to dedicate to sifting through some of these places or live too far, there are us vintage curators that do it for you!
I appreciate these kind words and am THRILLED to hear you have found a passion in selling vintage online! Local jewelers are also usually happy to help you customize a vintage ring to fit your current taste.
Now I may have to correct my last source, as I was writing that vintage was more one-of-a-kind found abroad. You don’t want to purchase a gorgeous vintage engagement ring then have it fall apart due to the stresses of the modern work atmosphere or environment.
I get a lot of questions about Malleries and other resale sites, but I’ve never personally used any of them. I would also recommend getting a quote from restoration places to get an idea of the costs to fix it (and if it’s even possible). Also, if possible I try to buy directly from the previous owner (if possible) to avoid the middleman reseller and get the best price, but of course you get lower variety to choose from that way. I desperately want a vintage Chanel but like you said vintage does not mean they are "cheap" (not even close!



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