Measuring tape hanging on top of a rack of vintage clothing.

Buying Vintage Clothing Online

Vintage shopping online, in the past it was a battle of bids for rare ebay items under semi-suspicions conditions and poorly lit imagery. Vintage clothing offerings led forth by services such as Grailed, Poshmark, Depop, Etsy, Ebay, and app-based vintage clothing collections curated and distributed by individuals and small businesses have revolutionized the process and capacity of buying vintage clothes online. Skip looking at pages of new clothes on generic department store websites and head to a search bar to find the exact type of item(s) you want because they have already been made.

Product Images

Well-lit, clean background, full-length and product-detail shots, fit-model and still shots of the clothing makes shopping for vintage clothing much easier and more rewarding. Good product photography is the cornerstone of understanding whether or not a piece of vintage clothing is the right fit for you. More often than not this is also where the market stumbles, fast and cheap product shots dominate marketplaces and online vintage stores. Which is why finding a well-composed seller or ecommerce store is such a valuable source for vintage shopping. Good images paired with meaningful information in the product description build a clear and transparent account of the piece of clothing, enough to understand the condition of the clothing, the texture and materials, fit and sizing, color and design features, as well as any flaws or factors to consider.

Product Descriptions

Materials, size (from the tag [if available] and if the size is obvious, supplemented with measuring tape measurements if the piece requires further sizing information), care instructions, details of condition, notice of any flaws, comments on the design, color, and fit, date or decade of manufacture, as well as comments on any additional factors as they arise piece by piece. Product descriptions should flow a general pattern without the use of a stock template (you can tell when you are reading a heartless template about a piece of vintage clothing). Almost every piece on a vintage clothing website is one of one, the product descriptions should live up to the product they depict.

Size Guides

As mentioned earlier sizing should include the tag size (if applicable) but say the tag says the t-shirt is a size small but the length is cropped and the sleeves are cropped, design that a generic alpha size fails to capture should be provided in the product description. The same applies for inseams for pants, lengths and shoulder measurements for suit coats, and special sizing notices for clothing that has either been worn into a new size category or features older fabric or unexpected nuances from the standard size guide that the majority of clothing shoppers are accustomed to. Making sizing clear and concise is especially important for vintage clothing because vintage clothing is subject to decades of use and perhaps different manufacturing methods or fashion trends that change the fit of a piece of clothing in a way that the shopper might not anticipate when viewed through a screen.

Date of Manufacture

Vintage collectors and sellers have various ways of properly dating vintage clothing, the most accurate route is to combine all of those methods if the date is not provided in exact digits. Weighing the importance of the tag and the information on the tag, the materials used, the stitching, the fashion style, the country of origin, the RN number, and the content of the graphic (if applicable), and any other features applicable to the particular piece. The easiest vintage clothing to date are the pieces that directly state the date in the content or on the tag, or feature graphics made for specific events that can be researched, however pieces without tags or obvious dating are still able to be broadly categorized by decade through their design, materials and production technique.


Vintage clothing ranges from cheap to excessively expensive, primarily based on brand, year, and the associated collection. Hype surrounding collectible vintage pieces gives the impression that vintage clothing is limited and expensive - which in reality is only a fraction of the whole market. You could shop entire outfits or staple pieces for less than new clothing and each piece will possess a character and quality that only vintage clothing fully captures.

Quality Control

Vintage clothing store owners/operators are almost never selling pieces that came from their own closet so the piece being sold was cared for and maintained by someone else. You can look at a piece of clothing and begin to understand the initial wearer of the garment and the seller can describe all that they see as to inform the buyer but quality control for vintage clothing does not exist at a production level, since vintage clothing is 20 years or older, quality control for vintage clothes is an act of curation. Pieces can be amended, altered or fixed with the help of some thread and a sewing machine but not every piece should come “like-new,” holes, rips and imperfections are sometimes vital to the attitude of the garment. For example, look at the hole on the back of the ‘Blues Brothers, House of Blues T-Shirt’ on our shop. A perfectly placed imperfection, the rip above the text adds life to the type below it, and will look fantastic when worn with an undershirt or bare skin. Quality control for vintage clothing is a case by case inspection; it is easier to stain an old Adidas jacket than it is to stain an old Fendi coat, yet as a vintage reseller you with find both types of items and you will find cool iterations of both brands, knowing what to look for and how much fabric distress is acceptable or over the top is important for the shoppers and your store reputation.

Ultimately, buying vintage clothing is similar to finding a new passion. Certain people will vibe with the idea of filling their entire closet with clothing that is older than them, while other people may only want a few pieces of vintage clothing. The fun of shopping for vintage clothing is in the positives. Vintage is a fully sustainable clothing choice and you are actively contributing to the demand for sustainable fashion as opposed to the mass production of new clothes, the pieces are distinctive and not easily copied, and collections from well-curated vintage shops offer amazing products housed in one location, no need to scour the internet for a single garment that then takes weeks to ship, vintage clothing made as accessible as new clothing is the best way to shop for clothing online.