March 15, 2018

3 Places to Shop Designer Vintage

Where to look for the vintage newbie.


I love shopping and I love designer fashion, but I'm not quite at the full-price, off-the-runway designer budget (just yet). This is when an appreciation and dedication to vintage shopping comes in handy. Prices are much more within my affordable range and most of the time I score an amazing deal relative to the quality and design of the dress, just because it's vintage and pre-owned. I believe vintage fashion is a romantic way to attain and appreciate the beauty and craft of a favorite designer like Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent, especially if you've found a piece designed by Yves Saint Laurent himself.

I'm no expert on vintage fashion, like which decade a certain Chanel label is from, but there are a few things I look out for whenever I shop vintage to make sure that the price is justified and that the piece is wearable. I firstly look at the fabric  composition of the clothing. I'm 100% sold on natural fibers like cotton, silk, or linen, because of their comfort and quality and if the fabric is anything but, I have to consider if the overall piece is really, really special in its design. Sizing can be tricky sometimes - sizing from previous decades tend to be smaller than our current sizing guidelines today. So although I'm typically an Extra Small in most modern brands, I keep an open mind to Smalls and even Mediums when looking at an older piece (or one to two sizes up when looking at French and Italian labels). When I find something at a larger size or something that has a detail I just wish wasn't there, tailoring can come into play, but only after I pay  close attention to the seams and cut of the item. Some special designer pieces like a vintage Lanvin or vintage Chloé is just made too well for the average tailor to take apart and put back together, so if it's too big of a size, I just have to remember the clothing for its beauty and leave it behind. I also prefer shopping from those who well curate their vintage selection. There's definitely the type of shopper who can spend hours swiping through every hanger, but my patience and eagerness quickly run out before I actually discover a gem. It takes some time to find sellers you love and whose curation fits your style, but it's well worth it in the end and curation is key for the success of a vintage newbie.

After a couple of years of chance walk-bys or stumbles across the internet, I've gathered a hit list of vintage shops and sellers that dependably offer a revolving, curated wardrobe of designer pieces. 


1. Instagram

In this new age, there's few things more exciting and accomplished than discovering a small shop or seller off of Instagram that sells the most beautiful things. There probably wouldn't have been any other way of finding them if it wasn't for this social platform, unless you were seriously searching on the internet through Etsy or eBay and we all know that's a bottomless pit of sifting through the bad to find the rare good. Instagram has basically opened the channel to discover and access so much more fashion and I have to love the platform for making my wardrobe more special. My favorite Instagram sellers right now for designer vintage are Lucia Zolea, Subrina Heyink, and Elia Vintage. I turn on post notifications for each of them because their things sell out quick once they post! Lucia Zolea and Subrina Heyink have dedicated websites to shop from, but I keep post notifications on to check when they have updated their website with new items. Elia Vintage posts items daily and sells through DM, so you have to get on that post within seconds to be the lucky buyer! The top I'm wearing in the photos is vintage Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche that I bought from Lucia Zolea and it's just one of my most special pieces.

2. In-Person

Estate Sales

This certainly takes a lot more effort, especially if you're an online shopper like me, but go to a vintage show like A Current Affair. This show happens once or twice a year in LA, NY, and SF and it brings together vintage sellers from all over the nation. It's a medium-sized fair that requires a couple of hours of walking and sifting through, but after you walk it the first time, you'll learn which sellers are your favorites and can easily cut down time and effort for next time around. They also curate the sellers really well and I've found some favorites that I go back to every time. My favorite seller of all is Amarcord Vintage, based in Brooklyn, NY. Marco is a wonderful curator that knows his designer stuff and he carries an incredible archive of museum pieces and wearable designs. His pieces are splurge-y, but everything is very special and high end, so you're still getting a great deal on rare evening dresses and runway clothing. I bought my vintage Lanvin dress that I wore as my wedding reception dress from him and most recently, I splurged on this beautiful silk Oscar De La Renta Kimono Dress from the 60s/70s. It's definitely a showy piece that I've yet to wear out, but I couldn't let this go! For now it'll sit as a collector's piece in my closet along with my Lanvin and a few other designer pieces that just make my heart flutter when I look at them. Estate sales are also an incredible source of vintage, but this requires a little more connection and know-how. Sometimes you hear of an incredible estate sale through word of mouth like this recent time I heard from a birdie about a once-in-blue-moon estate sale selling Chanel at such a discount, it was so devious. I bought my first Chanel jacket at under $400! It's worth finding local estate sale companies and signing up on their newsletter to get alerts on new sales. When looking at sale alerts, it just takes an eye, a guess, and a whim to decide if the certain estate in a certain neighborhood was owned by a rich woman who had a taste for the finer things. Sometimes you can get so lucky!

3. Online

I've sung my accolades for consignment companies like The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective, but I'm putting it here just to remind you perhaps one more time. While the selection on both sites are mostly contemporary pieces, the designer deals are too amazing not to mention. Vestiaire Collective does have a dedicated vintage section that is dripping with Chanel, Cartier, and beautiful dresses that beg to be in your closet. I love these consignment companies more than places like eBay and Etsy, because every listing gets authenticated and is guaranteed by the company and you can actually return items! I peruse The RealReal almost every day for their new items and it's pretty much the top source of all my designer clothes, bags, and shoes. I've also consigned with them and I can't rave enough about the easy, efficient, and profitable process!

I'll be continuously updating this post over time with more places to shop designer vintage. If you have any recommendations, please leave yours in the comments!


vintage YSL Rive Gauche top via Lucia Zolea / Sézane pants / Cafuné bag / Madewell shoes / Agmes earrings via The Line



  1. you are always so elegant with those pale tones... amazing shirt

  2. Perfect!

  3. 1) Lucia Zolea finds most of her stuff on eBay. I guess you're essentially paying for her doing that work for you. But to me it's not worth the markup that she does (around 200%).

    2) TheRealReal is fabulous but I wouldn't call the stuff on their website actual vintage. It's more of a consignment store with more current pieces (stuff from the past 10 years).

  4. The earrings are oh-so-flawless! I loved it.
    I just shopped diamond earrings online from one of my favorite online jewellery store.

  5. Gorgeous! Love this entire outfit.