We Who What Wear editors are pretty lucky to have some of the best shopping resources right on our team. Sure, we may compliment a co-worker’s new purchase or even buy something at her suggestion, but in case you didn’t know, we also have vintage-shopping savants in our midst—and it’s time we spill some secrets.
In case you’re not especially savvy when it comes to shopping vintage or consignment online, let us assure you that words matter, specifically search terms. What you type into the search bar of any given resale site can hugely affect the results and thus your ability to find a gem. With this in mind, we asked the team to share the search terms—some super specific, some general—that are helpful to cut through the clutter and uncover the good stuff. Take a look below and then adapt these terms for your own online treasure hunts.
"'Baroque pearl jewelry' will get you the kind of organic-shaped pearls that are trending right now (first made popular by Celine). There's something less fussy about them compared to perfectly round pearls.
"I searched 'silver metal mesh belts' on Etsy to get the belt I wore for this photo shoot.
"Search 'Pierre Dumas vintage shoes' to reveal some of the best PVC shoes, which we know are a big trend. Just make sure you aren't searching the brand's new shoes; they're nothing like the vintage ones!"
"While I've yet to invest in one, I constantly find myself searching for Chanel chain belts. I can never get over how many amazing vintage versions there are to choose from."
"I typically do my online vintage shopping on The RealReal and have learned a couple key tips to cut through the loads of designer items available. First I start by narrowing down by designer plus the item, so let's say I'm looking for a new pair of shoes: I'd search 'Gucci heels,' of coures. The second thing I do is filter by just my size so that I'm not clicking through several pages of inventory just to find the pairs in my size."
"As I suspect is the case with most women who love the Phoebe Philo era of Celine, the brand is the top search term I check constantly on sites like Vestiaire Collective and The RealReal. Specifically, as a fan of classic handbag shapes, I've always wanted a clasp bag and am praying to the vintage gods to find one in my price range."
"When I'm hunting for vintage treasures online, I actually tend to search by a designer brand I'm willing to spend on. Since really good vintage can still put you out quite a bit, I find that it's less time-consuming to sift through product under one specific designer, like Prada, Miu Miu, Chanel, etc., versus clicking through hundreds of pages you don't care about. From there, I'll type in the specific kind of product I'm looking for, like 'Miu Miu jacket' or 'Chanel ankle boots.' So far, this technique has scored me some of my favorite designer shoes in my closet."
"I like to add 'logo' to a designer in my search to see what kinds of cool old logo pieces I can find!"
"I always search by season. If there's a collection I missed out on the first time around, it's a great way to unearth pieces hidden on vintage sites."
"I always start by looking for mules and then doing another search for kitten heels. Both shoe trends were wildly popular a few decades ago and have once again come back around, so I know I can count on both of those terms to surface the chicest vintage heels.
"Also, as a die-hard Phoebe Philo fan, the first thing I did after she departed Celine was open up countless tabs searching for Céline (emphasis on the é) sunglasses from The RealReal. I knew I had to own a piece of the former Celine before the brand totally changed its aesthetic, and I knew it needed to be a pair of their iconic sunglasses. About 12 tabs later, I found The Ones: a boxy take on a cat-eye shape."
"I love browsing through vintage jewelry, so I usually search for 'sapphire jewelry' for my birthstone. I also think birthstone jewelry is always a thoughtful present if you have someone's birthday coming up!"