The best online vintage clothing stores to shop more sustainably this summer
Marie Claire Magazine July 2022
There’s no better time than now to familiarise yourself with the best online vintage clothing stores. If you want to overhaul your wardrobe for the long run, mixing vintage with high street clothing is the key to being trendy as well as sustainable.
But vintage shopping isn’t easy, you can easily spend hours in a store and walk out with nothing – which is why online shopping is the answer (especially because you don’t have to leave the house).
So I’ve rounded up the best online vintage clothing stores for you, whether you’re after designer handbags to invest in, like a vintage Chanel 2.55 bag, or the perfect pair of jeans and retro t-shirt.
Is shopping at vintage clothing stores more sustainable?
By its very nature, vintage clothing is sustainable, as you’re going against the throw-away side of fast fashion by practicing circularity and giving old clothes a new lease of life.
It also depends on which era the garment is from. Items from say the 50s or 60s wouldn’t have been as mass produced as items from the 90s or 00s, whilst non sustainable fabrics such as polyester and nylon became popular in mainstream fashion in the 50s and 20s respectively.
While those non-biodegradable fabrics can take decades if not centuries to fully break down, by rewearing them, you know you’re not sending them to landfill.
spoke to Claire John, founder of Denim Library, the denim resale platform giving upcycled and preloved jeans a new chapter, who said that she loves to shop pre-loved clothes as it helps to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing.
“On average, it takes 10,000 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans, which is the same as a single person’s drinking water requirement for 38 years. We have to be change agents and be proud of wearing pre-loved/vintage clothing.”
“At Denim Library, it’s fabulous to see many of our younger customers purchasing their first pair of Levi’s, because we make them more affordable. So many of our customers want to shop sustainably, but are often put off as it can be more expensive. Pre-loved is a fab alternative.”
How to find good vintage clothing pieces online
As mentioned above, vintage shopping isn’t always easy. Claire recommends choosing vintage stores that offer great returns policies, as one of the challenges of buying vintage is consistency of size.
“Jeans in particular often come up smaller”, says Claire. “I always advise our customers to not get fixed on ‘I’m always a 10’. Don’t worry about what the size the label says, it’s all about how it fits and how it makes you feel. Having the opportunity to try on is so important in vintage, and a flexible return and exchange policy is key to customers confidence.”
Denim Library is a denim resale platform giving upcycled and preloved jeans a new chapter. Founded by Claire John in 2021, following a 30-year career working for one of the world’s most recognised denim brands, John set out to create a designated denim space within the resale landscape, to offer hand-picked edits of lovingly worn-in and upcycled jeans to conscious consumers. Brands such as Levi’s, Acne and Wrangler are all available.