How To Buy Vintage Online

GQ put together what a list of the top 25 vintage shops in the country, and we were sad to see that two of our absolute favorite spots for retro duds were nowhere to be found. Why no Ebay and Etsy, boys? They may have no physical location, but they’ve got more great finds than all the shops on GQ’s list combined. That said, shopping for vintage in real life is hard: trying to find quality without touching the goods can be really daunting. Take the jump for a few tips to separate the good from the tired.

  • If the pics aren’t decent, it’s not worth the gamble. Out of focus, from afar and dark are all bad signs.
  • That said, if there’s something you’re really interested in — especially if it’s something expensive — it never hurts to email for more images.
  • If the description of the item doesn’t specify damages but it’s a few decades old, contact the seller to confirm that there are no rips, spots, missing buttons, etc.
  • If the integrity of the fabric looks questionable online, it probably looks worse in real life.
  • Also on that front, check for fabric content. There’s nothing worse than expecting a silk cocktail dress from the ’70s and winding up with a polyester one. People loved synthetics back then…
  • Always, always check a seller’s feedback rating and previous sales. Do they consistently sell vintage or is this just some random shirt from their closet? The feedback score is probably the best place to make your final decision if you’re on the fence.
  • For vintage costume jewelry and accessories (like the badass ’70s YSL glasses above), Ebay is a treasure trove. For jewelry, things should be a little faded; over-shiny probably means it isn’t all that old, especially where crystals are concerned.