If you want to overhaul your wardrobe for the long run, mixing vintage with high-street clothing is the key to being trendy as well as sustainable. But vintage shopping isn’t easy, you can easily spend hours in a store and walk out with nothing – which is why online shopping is the answer (especially if you’re in a national lockdown).
So I’ve rounded up the best online vintage clothing stores for you, whether you’re after designer handbags to invest in, like a vintage Chanel 2.55 bag, or the perfect little black dress or retro t-shirt.
Sustainable vintage clothing
By its very nature, vintage clothing is sustainable, as you’re going against the throw-away side of fast fashion by practicing circularity and giving old clothes a new lease of life.
It also depends on which era the garment is from. Items from say the 50s or 60s wouldn’t have been as mass produced as items from the 90s or 00s, whilst non sustainable fabrics such as polyester and nylon became popular in mainstream fashion in the 50s and 20s respectively.
While those non-biodegradable fabrics can take decades if not centuries to fully break down, by rewearing them, you know you’re not sending them to landfill.
Best online vintage clothing stores
Introducing a new vintage store which curates pre-loved garments to celebrate where they’ve been. Expect a collection of handpicked vintage, retro, designer and high-street pieces for modern wardrobes, each of which tells someone’s story.
Founder Sarah says, “In the blur of maternity leave with my first, and the sudden lockdown of society as we knew it, I realized that the hole left was more than the thrill of physically finding each piece, it was hearing about the different lives behind them. Whether they were selling it with an elaborate story, or recalling a time from the past where it’d been worn, or just staring at me utterly confused by my interest in their lives, I felt like no one had ever asked. When the majority of my conversations have been with a toddler for what seems like a lifetime, I have hung onto their human stories. In a time that we don’t fully understand, their very real stories resonated with me more than they would ever know. Each collection is sold with a story; some elaborate tales of the past and others seemingly insignificant. Yet, all very human. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.”
As part of the Selfridges sustainability initiative, Project Earth, the retailer has launched RESELLFRIDGES, a permanent online and in-store platform to provide new ways to shop (and sell) pre-loved, vintage, collectable and archive products, in collaboration with 20+ brand partners including Levi’s, Barbour, Dukes Cupboard and more.
The Paris-based re-commerce site focuses on the best online vintage clothing pieces from past collections, including Celine, Chloe and more. The new Fall Editorial line-up has lots of exciting features including the launch of multiple payments options, Digital Bag Authentication and Repair Services, alongside collector Balenciaga Nicolas Ghesquière and Vintage Saint Laurent Sales and Editor Picks from the likes of industry greats Melanie Ward and Jenke Ahmed Tailly.
Etsy might not be the obvious choice for vintage clothing, but it’s a treasure trove of retro dresses, blouses and accessories, as well as newer vintage-inspired pieces.
Mother Vintage is a curated collection of vintage and preloved womenswear, established in 2020 by Kim (the name is a nod to her mother, whose 70s and 80s wardrobe shaped her style), who has worked in the fashion industry for almost a decade, at the likes of Stella McCartney and Emilia Wickstead. Expect to shop statement sleeves, bold florals and rare designer pieces. Keeping busy during lockdown, Kim is launching her second drop, MV 02, on the 15th September. It is a transeasonal capsule of x26 pieces that delivers vibrant colour palettes, tasteful prints and strong silhouettes. Highlights include a 90s pastel gingham vintage Escada blazer, a 80s hot pink floral Frank Usher mini, a 70s sheer emerald green ruffled maxi and the showstopper, and an on trend 70s daisy floral lurex maxi.
If you’re more into modern preloved pieces rather than hardcore vintage styles, then COS Resell, launching in September, is for you. The high street brand is creating a new digital space to provide customers with a platform to buy and sell their pre-loved COS clothing, offering their community the opportunity to re-invent their wardrobe in a considered and sustainable way, and to prolong the lifespan of their preloved COS clothes.
Re-sell reinforces COS’ ambition and journey to becoming fully circular and renewable, and their commitment to quality and longevity by re-imaging the lifecycle of each pre-loved piece. The community-curated online selection will provide peers the opportunity to sell old favourites and shop new pieces from the brand’s archive, spanning the last 13 years.
Established in 2018, Retold curates online vintage clothing for today’s fashion conscious women who love a modern aesthetic but want to shop sustainably without compromising their style and time. Everything is handpicked by owner Clare Lewis, and there is also a bridal section of alternative collection of vintage separates for all your wedding needs.
Who said vintage can’t be minimalist? For those of you who hate the idea of 80s Laura Ashley dresses, Atijo store is for you. Sold exclusively on Instagram for now, paired back designs include oversized Balmain blazers and Yves Saint Laurent pumps, though there are lots of lovely unbranded items too. You can also shop homeware and menswear.
Founder Holly scouts car boot sale to curate the very best of vintage, from more modern contemporary brands such as Ganni to designer items like Dolce & Gabbana.
ASOS Marketplace is a great place to start, with its offering of vintage boutiques, individual designers and independent labels. All pieces are modelled by real people, they call it ‘the people’s runway’, so you know exactly what you’re getting. The Marketplace blog is a great source of style inspiration, too. Bravo, ASOS.
You are very safe in Stella’s hands. Having worked at Levi’s, Marks & Spencer, Topshop and own a stall at Portobello Market (Kate Moss and Stella McCartney were regulars, FYI), she set up The Stellar Boutique. It’s bursting with one-off gems from designers and artists from all over the world. Warning: you will lose hours of your life pouring over Stella’s cleverly curated collections.
You’ve probably already heard of Beyond Retro. And for good reason. What started off in an old, disused dairy factory in East London, has grown so much that now they have shops in Brick Lane, Dalston, Soho, Brighton, and even Sweden. In store, they pride themselves on providing an ‘enchanting and unexpected shopping experience’, and the online offerings are just as dreamy.
With clothes for men, women and children from the 20s to 80s, Rokit is a veritable treasure trove of vintage and retro gems. The site is so easy to use with a search-by-era tool that we just love.
A vintage-hunter’s idea of heaven, this shop curates online vintage clothing, fine art, furniture and jewellery from across Europe and America. Mainly aimed at those with bigger budget.
Farfetch brings together boutiques from all over the world, including the best vintage stores. Head straight for the ‘Vintage’ section and a few carefully selected filters will lead you to your dream Prada bag, YSL sunnies or Balenciaga dress.
Granted, not everything is vintage on Vestiaire, as you can buy anything from last season’s designer items to 60s Chanel, but it’s still one of your favourite destinations for online vintage shopping. Every designer item is quality controlled too so you know it’s authentic and in a good state.
Founded in 2015, Open for Vintage lets you discover and shop the finest collection of luxury vintage from the world’s most prestigious boutiques. Supporting independent vintage stores and encouraging a more circular initiative within the luxury fashion industry.
Shop and save lives on Oxfam’s online store. With a curated designer boutique filled with accessories and ready to wear pieces from brands like Burberry, Max Mara and Gucci. Photographed, styled and listed by volunteers across the country, the most most fabulous and coveted donations are always listed online so it’s worth checking the site for designer wish list pieces you may have missed over the season.