How to shop vintage online according to experts – Harper's BAZAAR

We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article. This is the holy grail of eBay watchlists and saved searched terms“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 […]

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This is the holy grail of eBay watchlists and saved searched terms
“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 Collective.
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.
“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 1990s gold dust, it was like falling into a dream wardrobe.”
“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 online for £120.”
“Yes, I have 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.”
“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.”
“I have 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.”
“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.”
“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.”

“I’m watching some vintage 1980s black-and-white floral Moschino jeans, they’re absolutely divine. Another item in my saves is a beautiful white cotton Vivienne Westwood shirt.”
“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.”
“Recently I’ve been searching for a lot of Rixo and Ganni. I always try to buy pre-loved 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 1970s and 1980s pieces are so beautifully made.”
“I’ve been hopelessly searching for a pair of pre-loved rubber Gucci clogs for the right price; I know I don’t need them but I’m a little bit obsessed.”
“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.”
“I love colourful vintage silk scarves, anything with a cool print – I tend to use them as headbands or hair wraps.”

“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 TheRealRealand 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.”
“A pair of Prada men’s two-tone brown corduroy trousers from autumn/winter 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.”
“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.”
“I’m a big Prada and Miu Miu collector, so I am always searching for my special Miuccia pieces.”
“As always, so many things. Lots of Nineties Prada, the perfect vintage baseball tee, cosy sweaters, 1930s and 1940s 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.”
“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.”

“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.”
“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.”
“It really depends – it’s case by case. But Prada, YSL, Gucci, if I’m going designer-searching.”
“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.”
“Yes – the Supreme leopard zip-up. Still looking.”
“Always sequin or studded bags – I love a bit of bling and sparkle in a bag.”
“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”
“A vintage paisley Liberty silk scarf and a Missoni metallic knit top.”
“I love 1970s Phool and Laura Ashley Made in Wales.”
“The perfect 1970s paper-thin vintage ringer tee.”
“A 1980s YSL green leather bag, found via Instagram. I can’t remember the seller but The Hosta is brilliant for designer bags.”
“A vintage cream Ossie Clark dress.”
“Terry de Havilland platform shoes and antique gold charms.”

“I’m on the hunt for a pair of almost new Gucci Jordan loafers in black and anything by La Veste.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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 favourites and I also love Bernadette, anything by La Veste and I adore La Double J.”
“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.”
“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.”