Ask me who makes my dress/skirt/bag and nine times out of ten I’ll respond, “it’s vintage!” With a closet chock-full of ’50s, ’60s, and ’80s pieces, I’ve been able to suss out the best places to shop vintage online.
Vintage die-hards might tell you that in order to get the good stuff, you’ll have to go off-line. Generally, vintage dealers don’t e-tail. Plus, you need to touch, feel, and (most importantly!) try on your vintage before you give it a new life. But that said, there are corners of the internet that offer a trove of vintage. That is, if you know what you’re looking for.
Just like the word “fashion,” “vintage” encompasses a lot. It’s loosely interpreted as clothing and accessories created 20 or more years ago. And to earn the label of antique, an item must have aged 100 or more years. At the time of print, anything prior to 2002 is indeed considered vintage, but the nuances don’t stop there. There is also resale, consignment, secondhand, and archival, which are all terms bandied about in the world of fashion PR to describe things that are not quite vintage, but on their way.
Personally, I gravitate towards incredibly dated pieces, and to find those, I have to be strategic about where I’m shopping. While I love The RealReal, I’m not likely to find my ’60s ingenue summer day dresses there. Instead, I’ll find several seasons old Marc Jacobs for a steal. When I’m looking for museum-worthy pieces, I head on over to Shrimpton Couture. And when I feel like shopping stylish It girls’ closets, it’s all about Dora Maar. (And should I ever find myself hankering for a TikTok fit, then perhaps I’ll end up on Depop.)
As it’s so easy to get lost in this space, below is a bit of a map (compiled with the help of Liana Satenstein) to help you find your vintage treasure. A breakdown of our favorite and best places to shop vintage (or secondhand) online, below.
Let’s start with the buzziest. You likely already know and love The RealReal for its painless consignment process and easy-to-use app that makes secondhand shopping a breeze. Launched in 2001 by Julie Wainwright in San Francisco, The RealReal offers authenticated secondhand luxury. Think pre-loved It bags from Balenciaga and recent Oscar de la Renta sun dresses. The RealReal truly sets itself apart as a place where selling is as much fun as shopping—a circular fashion destination indeed.
Ever liked someone’s style so much that you wished you could just 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 a lover to a certain Mr. Pablo Picasso and was featured in several of his paintings. In a word, she was his muse and muses are what Wilson’s site, which launched in 2019, is all about. Hand-selected individuals (like Natalie Bloomingdale, Lauren Levison, Edward Barsamian, Head of Editorial Content of Vogue México and Latinoamérica Karla Martinez de Salas, and yours truly) will list their treasures on Dora Maar for anyone and everyone to shop. For shoppers, it’s the perfect way to get access to a style you admire. Expect pristine Erdem dresses, ladylike handbags, some rare Alaïa, and a bit of vintage. For sellers, you can also sell anonymously, but better yet, nominate yourself as a DoMa Muse! You’ll be in great company.
Looking for that aughties Tom Ford Gucci? That ’80s Todd Oldham? That ’90s Comme des Garçons? Look no further than James Veloria. A proper vintage store, James Veloria is one of those rare purveyors of vintage fashion that’s just as fun to shop online as it is to shop in-store, which is located in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Founded by two fashion-loving, vintage-obsessed individuals, Collin James and Brandon Veloria, the store is known to lure several Vogue editors. Per Liana Satenstein, “James Veloria has long been a vintage haven. They have the best designer pieces—sometimes sung and unsung. While it is a New York landmark at this point, James Veloria has an equally stellar selection online—so you can get a slice of downtown in your wardrobe no matter where you live. No more FOMO!”
While not exactly a vintage store, Etsy is the platform used by several small-business vintage stores across the country, and one of my own personal favorite destinations for vintage. It’s especially good for those shoppers looking for early ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s pieces. Looking for that Betty Draper dress to wear to a garden party? Just search that exactly and the results are plentiful. Or how about an edgier Edie Sedgwick shift? You’ll find that too. Just filter your results to search vintage only and you’ll be presented with pages upon pages of retro pieces. Plus, shopping Etsy means supporting local, smaller businesses.
Think of 1stdibs as the more discerning older sister to Etsy (and eBay and any other marketplace-style etailer). Museum-level vintage dealers (most without a physical store) flock to 1stdibs to populate their e-stores with pristine Pucci caftans and let’s not forget the antique jewelry. Bonus points go to 1stdibs for the provenance and historical background information provided by sellers. To shop 1stdibs is to get a little fashion history lesson. After all, Michael Bruno founded the marketplace after visiting Paris’s storied Marché aux Puces.
If a social app and thrift shop had a baby, it would be Depop. Beloved by GenZ, Depop is one of the younger destinations on this list. Launched in 2011 in Roncade, Italy by Simon Beckerman, Depop is now a London-based, global peer-to-peer marketplace and sometimes, those “peers” come with a bit of a following. Olivia Rodrigo caused a tizzy when she launched her closet on Depop last year. Raising funds for charity, Rodrigo sold items worn on her music videos sets—all of which sold out instantly. Megan Thee Stallion, Princess Nokia, Dita von Teese, Lily Allen, and Paloma Elsesser are among the best known members of Depop.
Fashion historians have long followed Shrimpton Couture. Even if you’re not interested in shopping a metallic Zandra Rhodes gown, you should probably know a bit about it. Fashion is all about the references, after all, and no one knows this better than SC’s founder Cherie Balch. Based in Canada, the shop and its Instagram account recount an individual garment’s provenance and if you didn’t know why Rhodes (for example) deserves your attention, Balch is here to tell you why. Following the shop’s Instagram account is an experience in and of itself but do head over to the website to witness a top-tier curation 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 the history of fashion. It’s been the tendency for brands to turn a blind eye to the secondhand market, but Kering joined in on all the action. Founded in 2006, Vestiaire calls itself a collective partly because the inventory is user generated, but also, there were six founders. What sets Vestiaire apart from a traditional resale platform is that Vestiaire acts as an authenticated middle man. Upload your Gucci bag to the site with your own photos. After it’s sold, you send it to Vestiaire to authenticate before it reaches its ultimate destination. Shoppers can expect all the designer labels they’re hoping for.
Rebag’s offerings of previously owned handbags are as good as it gets. Given the condition of so many bags is mint, you may question whether or not something was ever even carried. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder and newness is not too dissimilar. Launched in 2014 by Charles Gorra, Rebag sets itself apart with an instant offer technology. Those looking to sell or trade in their luxury handbags will receive payment at the get-go. And just this month, Rebag launched its partnership with Moda Operandi—head on over to Moda to shop secondhand luxury bags for the first time ever.
This next recommendation also comes from Liana Satenstein. “Fun fact: I’ve only met Olivia Haroutounian once, which 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 is still in college yet has a veteran eye for vintage and impeccable taste: fun, chic, and something plucked out of Sex and the City. She doesn’t purchase according to trends but what she personally likes. Her designers are often iconic but under-the-radar and every item from her is a piece of fashion history.”