I know it can seem really intimidating, overwhelming and (yes) down-right frustrating to shop online. Add to that fact that almost all vintage & second-hand sellers do not allow returns (it mainly has to do with each item being one-of-a kind, hard to re-stock etc.). So, how do you shop for vintage online with success (and without throwing away your latest paycheck?). These are my tried and true tips and tricks for shopping online - as well as some ideas of what to do with those (unfortunate) misses.
Know your true sizes. It's so important to be honest with yourself about your sizing, what fits you best, and to even take your measurements and write them down somewhere. The more you learn about yourself, your body, and how you are shaped - the easier it is to shop online with confidence, and find some really incredible additions to your wardrobe.
- check out our Denim size finder to find your true pant/jean size!
It's best to know your actual measurements for pants & jeans (not just a number), as well as your shoulders, chest and sleeve length. Even your height should be considered - as this will also affect how clothes fit you.
Create a note in your phone or desk with all your measurements. It's also helpful to know the measurements of your favorite clothes so you can compare to what you are ordering online. The more data you have - the more informed decision you can make! I can without a doubt buy things like vintage denim online with a 95% success rate now that I know my exact measurements - and what to look for. It is really exciting to be able to shop online and get jeans in the mail that fit perfectly!
Find stores with sellers who are a similar size and aesthetic to you - as well sellers who do a good job of accurately describing the item and it's size. Once you have found sellers you like, it becomes much easier over time to shop with them again and again. I have a few stores I buy from online consistently that I am 99% confident in knowing how something will fit. If you typically wear a large, and you are shopping with a seller who is an xxs - they may have a hard time describing a "true" large to you, as almost anything will be oversized on them. Look for sellers that offer pieces in your sizes - ask lots of questions - and take a leap of faith to order something from them!
When in doubt, ask questions! If sellers post photos online, ask details about the model, such as height and measurements. Take into consideration sleeve length and torso length. Something not cropped on a person with a short torso, may be cropped on another with a long torso.
Tips! It's always better to order an item and have it be slightly too big. Pants can be taken in at the waist, or hemmed. Shirts can be hemmed, and same with sleeves. It's much harder to make a sleeve longer, or a waist bigger! Knowing a good tailor can be a lifesaver - and create the perfect fit. I'd rather order something a little too big, and wear it oversized, or have it taken in.
- In Seattle, I recommend Cinderella Tailors in Queen Anne or Judy's in Fremont
If the worst-case scenario happens and it doesn't work out, don't fret! You have a number of options! You could pass it along to a friend or family member, or host a clothing swap. Maybe you know the perfect person who may want your item. You can also try to re-sell, either online or at your local second-hand store. I've listed all my recommendations for ways to help you find a new home for your items that didn't work out:
Online ways to re-sell
Vintage / Second-hand shop - like me! You can always reach out with your vintage or pre-loved pieces to see if they are something we need. We offer either store credit for items, or a percentage of the sale once the item sells. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what we are currently sourcing!
Poshmark - Listing your item is fairly easy, and shipping is a breeze as they send you a pre-paid label. The one massive drawback is their high fees - and the constant "re-sharing" for your items to get seen.
Depop - Listing your item is the easiest here - be sure to use hashtags to help people find your item. Shipping is a piece of cake, and fees are manageable. I really like Depop as a great spot to sell, especially if you don't have your own shop.
Social Media - Use your Instagram, stories, or Facebook Marketplace to tell your friends about items you are re-selling from your closet.
Noihsaf - A great place to sell your designer and recognized brand pieces. They have accounts specific to new, vintage, home, etc. You must submit through a fairly lengthy process, and be accepted. Once accepted your piece will be posted to their Instagram. Great exposure for your item, and a $3.80 fee once you sell.
eBay - It's best to sell recognizable brands here, as buyers are searching very specific terms. Fees are on the higher side - but it's a great place to sell items in a variety of ways.
ThredUp - While I have personally never tried this way - it is a great option to send in your clothes to re-sell, especially if you are stuck at home. The downside is it may take a while to get paid with the turnaround and wait times.