Far be it from me to judge anyone else’s clothing consumption habits. My phone screen is crowded with retail apps, I have a coat collection that’s been described by loved ones as “out of control” and I write a shopping newsletter for fun.
But landfills are currently overflowing with wasted fabric thanks to the fashion industry and I’m not interested in being personally responsible for environmental disaster, so I’ve turned my attention toward eco-friendlier shopping options in recent months. Of the myriad habits I’ve picked up (incorporating rental pieces, seeking out natural fabrics, moving away from fast fashion), diving deep into the world of vintage clothing has been the most transformative, redefining my personal style outside of Zara and H&M while reminding me how much fun it is to mix and match together an unexpected outfit.
For newcomers to vintage, navigating racks of decades-old clothing can seem disorienting at first. That’s why La Poubelle Vintage founder Laura Lanz-Frolio told HuffPost she’d recommend starting out small. “I always tell people to start with stuff that’s easy” like purses and accessories, she said, or basic pieces you can pair with what’s already in your closet. And if you’re worried about looking like a relic of a bygone era, don’t be. “If you find a modern trend that you like, you can absolutely find a version of that in vintage that’s probably much better made, better quality,” Lanz-Frolio said.
Yes, those better-quality pieces might sometimes come with a heftier price tag, Lanz-Frolio said, but that shouldn’t necessarily be counted as a negative. According to Lanz-Frolio, a fast-fashion dress sold at a bargain price is probably “going to be terribly made” and start to lose its shape after only a few washes. Meanwhile, many of the garments she handles every day have already survived decades. They still look “amazing,” Lanz-Frolio explained, because they’re products of the kind of high-grade manufacturing that’s worth paying a bit extra. The old saying is true, Lanz-Frolio said: “They just literally don’t make things the way they used to.”
Ahead, familiarize yourself with some of the best vintage sellers you can shop from the comfort of your couch. Keep in mind that because of the nature of vintage shopping, not all items will remain available for long! But these shops are reliable sources that continuously refill their stock with new treasures.
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La Poubelle is filled with feminine-with-a-twist skirts and accessories, but its crown jewel is its dress section. A constantly updated stock of A-line and wrap dress silhouettes makes it easy to find a flattering option for every kind of event.
If your day-to-day style lands on the chill side of the fashion spectrum, Rawson is for you. Dig through a treasure trove of vintage Levis, boiler suits and poet blouses perfect for everyday wear.
For chic fall and winter staples in neutral colors, Preservation has you covered. Side note: The last page of the outerwear section has a few oversized vintage military jackets you don’t want to miss.
Lucia Zolea keeps a range of designer label (I spy Escada, Chanel, Christian Dior and Valentino on the site right now) and budget-friendly vintage pieces stocked. Check out the sweater selection first, where you’ll find plenty of cozy, high-quality pieces in natural fabrics.
Raleigh Vintage is a go-to for a chic-without-looking-fussy wardrobe. Tuck one of its many ’70s-era, boho-chic blouses into a pair of high-waisted denim or layer a romantic slip under a chunky cardigan.
Remember when “going out tops” were a necessary wardrobe staple? Threaded Vibes’ selection of slinky, colorful camisoles makes a great case for bringing back that section of your closet.
Adele Rose has pieces you can really move in — no starched power suits here. Throw bike shorts underneath the above slip dress and toss a leather jacket on top and you have a thoroughly modern, comfortable vintage ensemble on your hands.
Blouses and button-ups with interesting details make Girls of Mars the ideal destination for your non-boring workwear needs.
This Kansas City-based gem carries timeless vintage that looks like it belongs on Free People racks today. A mostly neutral color palette means almost anything from this store pairs effortlessly with the accessories and outerwear you already own.
If you’re searching for sleek blazers and interesting button-ups, Stellar Vintique is worth a look.
Let out your inner Penny Lane with Miracle Eye’s ’60s and ’70s vibe. Come for the shaggy outerwear; stay for the vintage Grateful Dead and Van Halen T-shirts.
Odessa Rae’s playful curation of polka-dot cocktail dresses and festive accessories (hello, fruit earrings) makes the vintage shopping experience feel like one big party.
Browse through Poorly Curated’s colorful ’80s and ’90s blouse selection before scrolling through its seriously fun supply of unique shoes.
This Minneapolis-based boutique has the staple sweaters and blouses you’ve been meaning to stock up on. Vintage styles from the likes of Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta and more are added daily, so keep checking back if your favorite sells out.
With classic rock band T-shirts and Texas paraphernalia aplenty, West Hexes is the ideal spot to load up on vintage goods with a Southern twist.
Magnolia’s Western-influenced selection is a perfect starting point for vintage newcomers with relaxed taste. Don’t miss out on the chunky, cable knit sweaters or impressive supply of vintage Coach leather handbags.