9 Tips for Vintage Thrifting on Etsy

If you haven’t noticed already, I love vintage fashion!

A good portion of my wardrobe is secondhand and within all of that pre-loved goodness, the majority is vintage.

I believe that all clothing tells a story.

I find it beautiful to think of those stories as I add new garments to by life. This might sound a little deep but one secret of mine is that sometimes when I’m vintage shopping, if an item is pretty, but doesn’t necessarily speak to me, I will put it back. T

hat story is not for me to continue.

This is serious for me. Just as serious is the Pandemic we are experiencing. It has been a bummer for me not to be able to go out thrifting the way that I used to. But I’ve found alternative options.

Here are my nine tips for vintage thrift shopping on Etsy.


What is considered vintage? Anything that is 20 to over 100 years old

How can you tell if something is vintage? The basic style, feel and silhouette will usually give it away. Fabrics and prints you would never see in stores in 2020 are a huge tell tell.

What are my top items to buy? Jackets, blouses or tops, pants or jeans

What won’t you buy? Under clothes, swimwear etc.

What’s your favorite item to thrift? Vintage dresses specifically from the 80s!


1. Build relationships using Instagram

Some of the best Etsy sellers I have found this far have been discoveries from Instagram. There are certain hashtags you can use to find just what you’re looking for whether it’s a vintage blouse or bracelet, someone has hash tagged it by now. I highly suggest sliding into those DM‘s and building a friendly and authentic relationship if you find that you are their ideal customer. Maybe nothing comes out of it, but maybe you get on their good side and they offer you deals or inside scoops to when sales are happening.

2. Don’t be afraid to drop a message to a seller on the Etsy website

If you have a question about a certain item, or maybe you’re unsure of how the item may look on you or maybe there’s just not enough information on the item. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the seller and ask questions. They want to help you! It is always better to ask then to be haunted by those mom jeans you didn’t buy.

3. Keep a list to stay on task

Sometimes I find it helpful to create mood boards on Pinterest or to write a physical list when I’m cleaning my room. There may be a specific type of item or style that you were looking to transition to and it’s helpful to keep a list nearby so that your eyes don’t become bigger than your wallet. Trust me on this one, my eyes are always bigger than my wallet *facepalm*

4. Research authentic versus knock offs for namebrand items

I’m not much of a label girl, but if you are someone who is definitely out to get authentic namebrand items, You should be well-versed in what you’re looking for. People will sell you anything because someone will buy it. Many designers have specific tells that you may find helpful in trying to verify an item. I would also reach out to the seller and see if they have the original certificates etc. for the item in question. It’s OK if they don’t but it’s always good to ask.

5. Look for items that can be repurposed

Everybody knows that my handmade shop takes old pairs of jeans and turns them into handbags, but there are so many other things that you can do with clothing items. I want to have a bag that I didn’t like as much to sell and I repurposed it to hold my plants. You never know what a little imagination can do.

6. Give yourself time to scroll

Most of us have time right now… Quarantine life but some of us don’t have the patience necessarily to sit in front of the computer. It may be more comfortable to use your phone but either way I suggest that you take your time. Your patience may lead you to finding something great✨

7. Beat the competition

Etsy shows you who else may be looking at the same item in my personal experience, if there are more than five people with the item in their basket, you shouldn’t hesitate to buy the item. If there are under five people looking into the item, you may have a little more time to do your investigative work or compare prices with other items on the site. It sometimes feels like gambling.

8. Use the “save shop” feature to shop frequently if you mesh well with the shop owners style point of view

When you find a seller who thinks about fashion the way that you do, hold onto them. It is truly a rare find that the seller speaks to my spirit. A match made in heaven.

9. Don’t be afraid to buy up a few sizes or to buy men’s clothing

One thing I learned from my mother when she was teaching me how to sew is that at the end of the day, you can always take fabric away from an item garment, you cannot add fabric. At least without it looking a little wonky. Some items look really good oversize such as blazers and blouses… I actually get my best blazers out of the men’s section. Don’t count out the plus size sellers or the men’s sellers at all, you could be missing out.

The world is our runway, and the show stops for no one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: