If there’s one thing I’m usually on the hunt for, it’s something vintage. There’s something about finding the perfect piece that no one else is wearing that is just so exciting for me. My collection isn’t very big, but I do love the pieces that I have.
Over the last year I’ve found it a little more difficult to find vintage clothes in my size. It can be pretty frustrating, but I’m here to tell you that plus size vintage is not a unicorn, you just have to have some tools under your belt and a bit of patience.
I don’t live in an area where thrift stores, let alone thrift stores with an abundance of vintage items, are exactly widespread. This means if I want to buy secondhand I primarily have to do it online.
When it comes to buying any secondhand clothing online, you need to know your measurements. Here’s a link to a great guide for finding your chest, waist and hip measurements.
What happens if the measurements aren’t listed? If a seller doesn’t include measurements, I find it’s always best to politely ask. If the seller doesn’t respond, it’s best to just move on – which I know, walking away can be hard. I have found that Etsy sellers are pretty on the ball when it comes to including measurements for vintage items, which is so helpful.
Why are measurements important? A vintage size 12 is not a modern size 12, plain and simple. A modern size 12 isn’t even the same in two different stores these days. If you know your measurements, you’ll be better off, especially because many online resellers do not allow for returns.
OK, you have your measurements, where do you shop? My go-to for buying vintage clothes has generally been Etsy. There are so many wonderful sellers on Etsy with collections of clothes ranging from the 40s – 00s. However, browsing through Etsy can be pretty overwhelming. There’s just so much to choose from.
I have found sometimes it’s best to search for something specific. For instance, I’m a fan of anything Mod as well as 1970s dresses. So, I’ll typically search for something like that. I often will include “XL” or “plus” in the search, as well. Etsy does have a size option, but I don’t always use it so I can leave my search a little more open. Circling back to the vintage size vs. modern size – a lot of items are listed with their tag size. So it can get frustrating if you box yourself using your true size in the search (‘member? Because your modern size isn’t going to be the same as the vintage size).
Poshmark is another spot you can use for vintage. It’s not my first place to look, but I have found some gems on there. Plus, there’s an option to offer a lower price, which can save you a bit of money.
Depop is another great app for vintage, but I search there for specific eras. I like to look on Depop for 90s and early oughts styles. I’ve even found specific things I wore back in middle school and had to restrain myself from making a nostalgia buy. They have a lot of 90s, and you can search by size on there, as well.
Remember that vintage doesn’t have to precious. If you need or want to tailor a piece you bought, by all means do it. I bought a 1970s maxi dress that was absolutely divine (above) but being under 5’ makes maxis tricky. So, I took it to a tailor and had it made into a mini dress and it felt so perfect. I wore it to two weddings and a Stevie Nicks fan event “Night of 1,000 Stevies.”
Do you buy vintage clothing online? Do you have any good recommendations for buying vintage in the tri-state area? Let me know!