2019 was the year I started really shopping consignment. I was tired of buying clothes from stores I too often read about unethical labor practices. I was tired of going to store after store and not finding clothes I felt excited about - everything just looked the same. This year I really started exploring buying secondhand. Unfortunately, Chicago isn’t blessed with amazing vintage shops the likes of NYC or Paris. With limited options near me, I, like any good millennial, took to the internet. The downsides of shopping for vintage online often are: vintage stores usually don’t allow returns, which is hard if the item doesn’t fit; sizing of days past are not the same as modern days, you have to be extra careful; and finally, it can be hard to look at the details and quality just by the pictures provided.
Tips for shopping vintage online:
Always read the details of a listing; this is where you’ll see description about quality, defects, discolorations, and material
Look for items that are made from: wool, cotton, cashmere, modal, silk, linen. These are the “classic” materials, and are usually of better quality in older items. Why bother spending money on a vintage polyester shirt when you can spend the same amount on a 100% cotton shirt?
When possible, shop from US retailers. This not only helps support “local” independent stores, but also helps minimize carbon emissions.
Look for ratings on the retailer (I’ll provide some of my favorites down below)
When shopping for luxury/designer items: look for items listed to have dust bags, original box, authentication card, and if possible proof of receipt. Shopping luxury items can be scary on the internet - a lot of fakes flood the market - but there are retailers who authenticate items before they are sold.
Have patience! Sometimes items go on sale, which gives you extra savings.