Whenever people find out that I buy most of my vintage clothes on Amazon, the general reaction is shock. I totally get that- after all, most of us turn to Amazon for electronics, home decor, and books, but not so much closet pieces. I do enjoy stores such as Modcloth and Unique Vintage, but the reality is, I don’t have the disposable income to support buying all my clothes on those websites.
That’s more or less the biggest reason I buy clothes on Amazon. Reproduced vintage clothes are going to be a little pricey wherever you shop, but some of the least expensive brands out there are available on Amazon. Grace Karin, Belle Poque, Gowntown, and Dresstells are all within the $20-$40 range, and the quality is actually pretty nice. Meanwhile, an average reproduced vintage dress on Modcloth can cost anywhere between $80-$200. The dresses are beautiful, but when you only make $11 an hour, it’s not really possible to consistently shop there for clothes.
I do want to acknowledge the fact that although Amazon offers cheaper vintage-style clothes, they are often not as ethically sourced as those that are based in the UK, like Modcloth and Unique Vintage. Whenever possible, I like the clothes I order to be ethically sourced and produced using environmentally friendly, but it’s not always that easy. I like brands like Grace Karin and Belle Poque because the garments are made of high-quality cotton, and thus, they’ve lasted a long time. I’ve been wearing the same dresses for more than a year now, washed them more times than I can count, and still, I haven’t lost a button or had to throw out a dress. They definitely are not cheaply-sewn, throw-away dresses destined for a landfill.
Another reason I usually don’t shop for higher-priced vintage clothes is because of the shipping/ordering process. It can be tricky to translate EU sizing into US sizing, especially if the chart claims that sizes aren’t perfectly aligned in the first place. To order a dress that’s already $80, and then pay $20 for shipping, and then wait 8-14 days for the package to arrive, is just way too risky for me, especially since there’s a chance the garment won’t even fit. With the brands I already know, I’m confident in my ability to consistently choose the right size. It saves me a lot of time, and it certainly saves me a lot of money.
I’m the first to admit I can always do better. Of course it’s better to always choose the better-sourced item, but it’s usually not the most cost-effective. In five years, I see myself working a higher-paying full-time job, and using my privilege to afford some better vintage clothes. In the meantime, though, I’m satisfied with what I’m doing so far. I believe we should all strive for the best option available, but we also need to take our personal situations into consideration.
If you know of any vintage reproduction shops based in the US, let me know! I’m always looking for new places to pick up a good deal. What are your favorite pieces you’ve picked up over the years?
Coming up next: Movie Meaning Monday: WALL-E is a Warning, Not an Instruction Manual