In last week’s Thrift-Shop Thursday post, I gave some suggestions for an online version of the thrift-shopping experience (not the same thing, I know, but I tried). Today I’d like to focus on consignment and vintage shops that sell clothing online, and more specifically on those shops that only sell online—at a discount.
First, for the sake of clarity, some definitions:
Consignment is a deal between the owner of an item and a store (brick-and-mortar or online), where the store agrees to sell the item on behalf of the owner, in return for a percentage of the sale. Since the store naturally wants to make a profit, consigned items usually will have higher prices than the average thrift shop. On the other hand, consigned clothing tends to be of much higher quality; often high-end designer pieces find their way into consignment stores, because the owners want to recoup at least a little of their original investment, rather than just give them away.
Vintage is slightly more difficult to define precisely, although the correct usage is a reference to the year something was made (e.g. a VW Bug vintage 1968). Unlike the term antique, which describes items of a minimum age (usually 100 years), vintage generally seems to refer now to almost anything that’s not actually brand-new. However, in this post, let’s assume we’re talking about clothing that’s clearly not from the current fashion era, say, 10 years old or more.
In the interest of keeping this post relatively short, I’m just going to give you one example shop in each category. (If you’d like to look around for more, I used the search terms “online consignment shop”, and “online vintage shop”.)
Online consignment shop
So far, I’ve not succeeded in finding consignment shops that are online-only; this isn’t too surprising, since many of these businesses have been around since before online selling was even an option! (Hurrah for entrepreneurial enterprise!) Here’s one I found that’s quite well-organized, with lots of gorgeous things to choose from:
Karma Couture: This consignment shop, with a store in Rhode Island, offers a wide range of designer goods at substantial discounts; everything I’ve looked at so far is marked down to at least 50% off the retail price. The higher prices are on the NWT (new with tag) items. And if you’d rather not bother with the size issue, they have lots of handbags, jewelry, and other accessories. Some examples of their clothing prices:
1. Theory color-blocked sweater, retail price $168.00, marked down to $46.00
2. Donna Karan NWT coral jersey dress, retail price $813.00, marked down to $299.00
3. Michael Kors denim jacket, retail price $168.00, marked down to $39.20
You can also sign up for Flash Sales; they’ll text you an exclusive discount code every week. Other perks include free shipping on orders over $100.00 and a loyalty program for frequent shoppers. And keep in mind that Karma Couture, like nearly all the online consignment shops I looked at, is also open to selling your items too!
Online vintage shop
Of the more than 30 online vintage shops I’ve looked at just today, Adored Vintage is one of my favorites; it’s nice to look at, the clothing is beautifully displayed, and if you’re looking for something in particular, the site also gives you the option to shop by the era you’re interested in (from pre-1920s—post-1970s, plus bridal and modern categories).
Prices here tend to go higher as the pieces get older. Here are some treasures I found:
1. Vintage 1950s black velvet wiggle dress with lace trim, on sale for $103.60
2. Vintage 1990s floral shorts romper, $58.00
3. 1950s cream lace nightgown, $78.00
You’ll also find a clearance page at Adored Vintage, where beautiful items have been discounted; right now, in addition to the black velvet dress mentioned above, there’s a brown lace 1960s cocktail dress that I love, marked down to $75.60. And there are some unique touches to this website, such as their and Inspiration page!
Having literally millions of online shopping options can be a double-edged sword: it’s fantastic to have all those choices, but at the same time, so very many choices can be nothing short of overwhelming. It’s a little like going into the world’s largest shopping mall with no idea what stores are there: where do you start? I often find that narrowing my choices before I head into the Great Cyber-Mall is helpful, so I hope this brief bit of information gives you a good start with your own online consignment and vintage shopping.