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Where Should I Buy Vintage and Secondhand Items Online?

Since we, too, have had to resort to shopping online for vintage gems, we reached out to experts in the thrifting industry to learn about their findings. Ahead is everything you need to know about buying vintage online, from what keywords to use to get the best search results to which items are safest to order without actually trying them on, and so on — all from those who know best.
“Try to find sellers who accept returns,” says Nelson. “If you are unhappy with the fit or condition of your garment, at least there is the silver lining of contributing to the financial longevity of the struggling USPS.” Lake agrees, adding that thrifting on a site that allows you to pay through PayPal is your best bet: “That way you have customer protection.”
She also suggests steering clear of sellers who aren’t very active. “I always check to make sure the person has good reviews and seems consistent with their posting,” she says. “I wouldn’t recommend buying a Prada bag from someone who only has that one item listed on their page.”
“EBay will always be my first destination, but I have been surprised with some gems I have found on Etsy as of late,” says Nelson. Both Richtman and Lake are loyal to Depop. “It helps that Depop is set up like Instagram, so it’s super user-friendly,” says Lake. “Also Instagram now has a ton of really cool shops that I love and often buy from. Sometimes, I will also just type what I’m looking for on Google and click Images. You never know when exactly what you’re looking for will pop up instantly and direct me to a site.” All to say: Online thrifting, like thrifting in person, is a game of patience. There’s a lot of scrolling, searching, bidding, and waiting for your exact item to be put up for auction.
If thrifting isn’t your job, though, like it is for these sellers, sometimes your best bet is to rely on the experts. “Support small vintage businesses when you can — they’ve already done all of the legwork,” suggests Richtman, whose selection is known for its covetable vintage fashion. “So many women, like myself, have built their careers by honing the skill of sourcing and curating inventory for their customers,” she adds. “There’s a lot of care and resources invested into the vintage industry, so if you can, shop from them directly, and save yourself a lot of time.”

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