I’ve loved thrift and vintage shopping for as long as I can remember. I would accompany my mother on trips to flea markets and antique shops all over our hometown, as well as when we traveled. It didn’t take long for me to come down with the thrifting bug, and by the time I was in high school, I was visiting thrift stores and vintage shops every time I visited a new place. To me, the exciting thing about thrifting is the opportunity to add a piece (or several) to your wardrobe that tell a story. Who knows where these jeans have been, what these sweaters have seen, and who rocked this silk scarf in a different era? I’ll admit that I’m romanticizing the concept here, but if you’re like me, there’s no better souvenir from a trip than a piece of clothing, accessory, or trinket from a foreign place.
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As you might imagine, I haven’t done as much traveling or thrift shopping as I typically would since the pandemic began. But luckily, over the past year, I’ve discovered the wide world of online thrift and vintage shopping, and have been thrilled with how much I’ve been able to broaden my horizons without leaving my couch, with laptop and credit card in hand, of course.
Below are my favorite sources for online vintage shopping, as well as tips from an expert on finding the best pieces.
Nuuly is already well-known as a fashion rental service, offering monthly clothing subscriptions as a way to mix up your wardrobe without overwhelming your closet. While Nuuly offers shopper-loved brands and labels like Free People, Anthropologie, and Lisa Says Gah, it also has an impressive rotating selection of vintage apparel.
I had the chance to try out Nuuly’s subscription service for a month, and chose to include a few vintage pieces in my order. Ordering clothing, especially vintage, online is always a risk, but Nuuly translates everything into modern sizing, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find pieces that work than if you were to just guess on some other sites. I particularly loved a pair of carpenter pants that had a retail value of $300.
I spoke with Sky Pollard, Nuuly’s Head of Product, about advice for online thrift shopping, and luckily, she was able to share plenty of tricks to finding the best pieces and deals. As far as top tips go, Pollard noted that it all comes down to measurements when shopping vintage pieces online, rather than relying on the size on the label. “It’s helpful to know some key measurements of treasured items in your own closet. The pair of jeans that fit you the best? Measure the waist, hip, rise & inseam and compare to what a seller is listing. Your favorite t-shirt – measure the chest where the sleeve seam meets the body at the underarm, the width of the bottom opening as well as the length to get an idea of if something will be fitted or oversized on you,” she said.
Pollard also emphasized why Nuuly is a good place to start for new vintage shoppers, since it gives you ca chance to explore before committing to expensive pieces. “If you are interested in learning more about vintage – then rental is a great place to start to find your style and figure out sizing, which can be tricky.”
Keep reading for more online vintage shopping tips and sources.
There’s not shortage of vintage sellers on Etsy, whether you’re looking for clothing, accessories, or homewares. I especially love shopping for glassware on Etsy, like these gorgeous champagne coupes or this glass jewelry tray, the latter of which would be perfect for holding trinkets and vacation treasures.
If you’re looking for both vintage and gently used designer bags and accessories, Rebag has an impressive selection that you’ll definitely want to browse. With designers like Chanel, Gucci, Prada, and more, you’ll be sure to find a top-quality, expertly-inspected bag that you’ll cherish for years to come, all while spending less than typical retail prices.
Vintage rugs are art pieces in themselves, so finding the perfect one (or several – we encourage layering) for your space can often take quite a bit of time. Revival Rugs has made it easy by hand-selecting vintage rugs from Turkey and Morocco, which are able to even be filtered by region, which are one-of-a-kind and releasing new selections on a regular basis. You know you’ll get what you see and you’ll love it even more than you did seeing it on the site.
Madeline Diamond is a Brooklyn-based e-commerce editor at Travel + Leisure, and she’s constantly fighting the impulse to overpack for her next trip. You can follow her on Twitter @madgdiamond and Instagram @madelinediamond.
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