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SIX VINTAGE EXPERTS REVEAL THEIR SECRET TIPS FOR SHOPPING PRE-LOVED, ONLINE

This is the holy grail of eBay watchlists and saved searched terms

This article was originally published on harpersbazaar.com

‘You’ve won!’ There’s nothing like seeing those two dopamine-inducing words, having refreshed the eBay listing page approximately 100 times. The hard part is tracking down those sold-out shoes or that hard-to-find vintage dress in the first place; it takes work to cultivate the perfect eBay saved search list or to find your go-to sellers on Etsy or Vestiaire.

 

Help is at hand. We’ve picked the brains of six vintage aficionados, including a fashion historian, an eBay-obsessed stylist and a Depop store owner – all well-schooled in the art of shopping for pre-loved treasures. Here, they reveal their favourite platforms, secret search terms and what’s on their watchlists.

 

Amy Bannerman, Fashion Stylist and eBay’s Preloved Advisor 

What is your top tip for hunting down vintage treasures online?
When you find something you love, look at the sellers’ other items – I found a woman on eBay recently who just had the most incredible archive of old Galliano and ‘90s gold dust, it was like falling into a dream wardrobe.

 

Any recent wins?
For this winter, I had the idea of wanting a long, straight, quite structured skirt to go with my Prada loafers and I just found an unworn beautiful Chloé wool one on Vestiaire for £120.

 

Do you search for particular brands?
Yes! Quite a long list. I look for Prada, Miu Miu, Dries, Dior menswear, a denim brand called Santata, Gucci opticals, Citizens. MiH and AGolde jeans and then I love finding random vintage brands that I have never heard of, too.

 

What are you searching for lately?
I have been hunting for an ‘Avirex vintage leather varsity jacket’ because I saw a Celine advert years ago that had a similar style of jacket in red and I have never been able to find it ANYWHERE (despite many searches). I have also been looking for some yellow-lens Gucci sunglasses for a wedding I am going to in September and I just found them!

 

What is your most treasured vintage or pre-loved piece, found online?
I have ALWAYS ALWAYS wanted a Chanel bag, and have been looking for years and years. I just bought the Coco pleated mini bag at a very affordable price, it was a steal! It marks a real moment for me as I have been working non-stop and feel really proud of what I’ve achieved, so I wanted something that will always remind me of that feeling.

 

Any pieces you missed out on that you still dream about?
It’s actually more the pieces that I sold when I was a broke assistant that I often look for. I had a very circular wardrobe then – when I couldn't pay bills I would sell pieces, and I am continuously on the hunt to replace them! One is a Marc by Marc motocross T-shirt, another is a pair of brocade Christopher Kane sandals.

What kinds of bags, shoes or accessories do you keep an eye out for?
I am very loyal to my shoes! I bought the Prada loafers pre-loved last winter and wore them every day without fail. I don’t have many expensive bags, as I tend to choose function over form but I am currently fantasising about the Prada Re-Nylon bags.

 

Selena Williams, Owner of Depop store Selenas Shop

 

What’s in your Depop Saved tab right now?
I'm watching some vintage ‘80s black and white floral Moschino Jeans, they’re absolutely divine! Another item in my saves is a beautiful white cotton Vivienne Westwood shirt.

 

What are your top tips for shopping vintage online?
Make sure to ask for the measurements as vintage sizing is sometimes off, so you can't always go by what it says on the label. I would avoid buying shoes more than 20 years old, I've been caught out a few times where the glue has separated or the sole has completely perished and more often than not, they're unrepairable! 

 

What brands are on your radar?
Recently I've been searching for a lot of RIXO and Ganni. I always try to buy preloved and have found these brands for a fraction of the price. Another favourite brand I always keep my eyes out for is vintage Laura Ashley, the quality is second-to-none and her ‘70s and ‘80s pieces are so beautifully made. 

 

Any saved searches?
I've been hopelessly searching for a pair of preloved rubber Gucci clogs for the right price; I know I don't need them but I'm a little bit obsessed. 

 

What is your most treasured piece, found online? How did you track it down?
I found the most beautiful vintage 1970s Gunne Sax wedding dress for less than £100, it's my absolute dream dress and I'm saving her for my big day. I found her on Depop, through a good hour of scrolling through search.

 

What accessories do you keep an eye out for?
I love colourful vintage silk scarves, anything with a cool print – I tend to use them as headbands or hair wraps.

 

Ruby Redstone, Fashion Historian and Founder of monthly newsletter, Old Fashioned 

 

What are your favourite platforms for shopping vintage and pre-loved?
I'm an eBay fan for life. Somehow, even after all these years, it still feels like the Wild West of internet vintage. Deals to be had everywhere! Weird digital camera photos from 1999! The thrill of bidding!  However, for luxury or contemporary designer pieces, I tend to use TheRealReal and Vestiaire Collective because of their authentication services and (slightly) better search features than eBay. For true vintage, Etsy can be quite good as well, but I tend to just look at sellers that I know I like on there rather than searching for individual items--it's sometimes a lot of slush to sift through for a treasure. Honestly, almost everything in my wardrobe is vintage or second-hand at this point, so I'm also no stranger to Poshmark, Grailed, Tradesy, and Depop. I also follow tons of vintage dealers on Instagram.

 

What’s on your wish list right now?
A pair of Prada men's two-tone brown corduroy pants from F/W 2017 because they feel perfect for autumn, a loose-knit mohair sweater from Rodarte's first collection because it's on my perennial list to be hunted down, antique wedding dresses in case any of my friends get engaged soon, pink 1930s wall sconces for my new bedroom, Gloomy Bear stuffed animals from Japan for my daughter... I could go on! It's an eclectic mix.

 

What is your top tip for finding vintage treasures online?
Tell other people what you're looking for! Don't tell so many people that others end up snagging it before you, but obviously the more eyes on the hunt for you, the better! I know to always have my eyes peeled for old Miu Miu platforms for my sister and 1940s wool trousers for my husband. For years, I wouldn't shut up about how much I wanted a space-print piece from Christopher Kane's Resort 2011 collection. A friend of mine spied one in the window of a Notting Hill consignment shop and literally ran in to buy it for me! The same goes for the windows of the internet, of course.

 

What brands do you look out for?
I'm a big Prada and Miu Miu collector, so I am always searching for my special Miuccia pieces. 

 

What are you searching for lately?
As always, so many things! Lots of 90s Prada, the perfect vintage baseball tee, cosy sweaters, 1930s and 40s pyjamas...I don't really save any search terms, unless it's part of a research project. I just like to see where my imagination takes me.

 

What is your most treasured vintage piece?
Oh my god, I truly have too many to name. I treasure them all! My most recent pride and joy is a 1960s dress covered in sequins of the strangest colours. I was searching for something Paco Rabanne-esque to wear to a wedding, and I saw it pop up in an online vintage dealer's auction. It's actually the first piece I've ever bought for myself from an online auction site, which was lots of fun. You feel fancy registering as a bidder and putting in offers, even though I think my final bid was a very reasonable $130.

 

Bay Garnett, Fashion Stylist, Oxfam Senior Fashion Advisor and Host of This Old Thing podcast

 

What are your favourite online platforms when shopping for vintage and pre-loved?
I love eBay and Vestiaire Collective. I have been using them both for years so I love feeling familiar with them, and I look for different things on each; on Ebay for anything no matter how obscure and Vestiaire for more specific fashion pieces. 

 

What are you searching for at the moment?
I would love to find an old Supreme leopard print zip-up velour top. I always look at vintage Adidas and I’m always looking for great pieces by Jean Paul Gaultier. LOVE. 

 

Are there any particular brands you look for?
It really depends - it’s case by case! But Prada, YSL, Gucci…if I’m going designer-searching.

 

What is your most treasured find?
My Lanvin dolls by Alber Elbaz that I found on Vestiaire. I love them! Vestiaire gave me three as a gift and I fell in love with them and searched for two more immediately. I just got them as I think they pretty much sold out after that.

 

Any pieces you missed out on that you still dream about?
Yes - the Supreme leopard zip-up! Still looking. 

 

What accessories do you look out for?
Always sequin or studded bags – I love a bit of bling and sparkle in a bag.

 

Laura von Behr, Owner of vintage boutique, Laura von Behr

 

What are your favourite pre-loved platforms?
I like eBay for brands and Etsy for vintage labels. One Scoop Store is great for quality preloved like Ganni and Shrimps, Selenas Shop on Depop for maximalist vintage and Retold Vintage for minimalist vintage. I also buy at auction via the-saleroom.com. 

What’s currently on your watchlist?
A vintage paisley Liberty silk scarf and a Missoni metallic knit top. 

 

Are there any particular brands you look for?
I love ‘70s Phool and Laura Ashley Made in Wales. 

 

What are you searching for, currently?
The perfect ‘70s paper-thin vintage ringer tee. 

 

What is your most treasured vintage piece, found online?
A 1980s YSL green leather bag, found via Instagram. I can’t remember the seller but The Hosta is brilliant for designer bags. 

Any pieces you missed out on that you still dream about?
A vintage cream Ossie Clark dress.  

What kinds of bags, shoes or accessories do you keep an eye out for?
Terry de Havilland platform shoes and antique gold charms. 

 

Charlie Collins, Sustainable Wardrobe Expert, Founder of Creative Wardrobe and Author of Frida: Style Icon.

 

Can you tell me about a couple of items currently on your pre-loved wish list?
I am on the hunt for a pair of almost new Gucci Jordan loafers in black and anything by La Veste!

 

What is your top tip for finding pre-loved treasures online?
Find your ‘style twin’ on a platform like Vestiaire Collective and you can benefit from buying pre-loved pieces from someone who shops the same brands as you and has a similar size. 

 

Who inspires you, while shopping?
Frida Kahlo! I recently had my first book on Frida Kahlo and her inimitable style published with Hardie Grant and I loved learning about her shopping habits. Frida loved mixing and matching vintage pieces from her maternal grandmother's wardrobe together with her more traditional Mexican pieces. She also had a passion for upcycling, repairing and customising her wardrobe!

 

Are there any particular brands you’re keeping an eye out for?
I'm having a real Danish moment and love brands who steer towards a fun and less-serious aesthetic. I'm quite into clothes my 18-month-old son thinks are amazing which requires a LOT of colour and print! In terms of brands, Brögger, Ganni and Helmstedt are my faves and I also love Bernadette, anything by La Veste and I adore La Double J.

 

What is your most treasured pre-loved piece?
My Frida Kahlo basket bag by Lulu Guinness. It took me a long time to find her and I searched on multiple platforms until I eventually secured her!

 

What kinds of bags, shoes or accessories do you keep an eye out for?
I have just purchased a Jacquemus Grand Bambino bag in a beautiful tan suede colour that I'm over the moon with. I love big earrings and in particular gold gypsy hoops and am partial to a colourful trainer. I scored a great deal recently on a pair of Casablanca x New Balance trainers!