5 Practical Tips When Buying Vintage Online

If you are new to shopping for vintage clothes online, there are practical things to consider before clicking the purchase now button. Practical tips that would have helped me several years ago at the beginning of my online vintage shopping journey. As a novice, I deluded myself as to my true waist size, ignored my wide shoulders and didn’t think about how the garment fastened at the back. This meant I purchased two or three designer vintage items which were either too small and/or impossible to fasten at the back without assistance from a friend, boyfriend, husband (all of which were non-existant being single and living alone at the time). You can read about my perils of getting dressed in my vintage Valentino dress here. Items that were too small are now relegated to my never-to-be-worn ‘vintage collection – investment piece category’ and others have been inadvertently damaged in the struggle to fasten. Having learnt my lesson, I wanted to share these tips with you so you can avoid my mistakes.


  1. Know your EXACT measurements and body shape – garment sizes vary from decade to decade and from country to country.
  2. Ask yourself if the garment is: (a) for your vintage collection – an investment never-to-be-worn piece and I don’t care if it doesn’t fit category; or (b) for your vintage ready-to-wear collection and will wear to death piece.
  3. If the garment is for wearing and you live by yourself – make sure you check the garment fastners such as hook and eyes, snap fasteners, toggles, frog closure, buttons, zips, buckles etc. And ponder these questions, ‘will I struggle getting dressed in this item?’ ‘will I need to invite someone over to assist in dressing?’
  4. Read the fine print return policy. Unlike major online retailers who sell new garments and offer standard refund policies, refunds for online vintage purchases vary from vintage vendor to vintage vendor.
  5. Before clicking the shopping cart purchase now button, make sure you have meticulously covered points 1, 2, 3 and 4.

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