It’s been a while since I decided to quit fast fashion. I’ve done well. In fact, I made most of my clothing purchases from vintage boutiques and I can tell you that it’s been a great experience. It’s been and I know that I need to recommend some of my favourite vintage boutiques on to you.
But first, why should you buy vintage?
Wearing vintage is a hobby. Sure, you could pursue the thrift store every day, but finding quality stuff proves difficult. That’s why I love shopping boutiques. Each boutique owner plays the role of curator, hunter, stylist. While buying vintage can be expensive, the price is worth the effort of the shop owner. They find good stuff, and they find stuff in a variety of sizes.
Through Instagram, I’ve befriended a few boutique owners. There is a real community around vintage. PLUS, you get great pieces of clothing that nobody else has. Individuality. Also, quality. Most vintage comes in great condition and will last a long time.
Lastly, I will say that my style has broadened since buying from online vintage boutiques. It’s been a fun endeavor, and I love trying on looks that the boomer women rock in my church and pulling it off.
I stumbled across Candace’s shop on Etsy and fell in love with her selection and prices. Based in Barrie, Ontario, Candace specializes in a broad variety of vintage basics and casuals. For the price and service and selection, I’d say that Clotheslines Vintage easily tops my list of vintage boutiques. I’ve bought a ton from her.
Most of the boutique seems to focus on a late 70s to early 80s aesthetic, though it does have some fantastic 60s winter coats I would kill for, as well as a haven for lovers of 90s denim. I particularly fell in love with her separates, many of which are great 80’s-era blouses that are versatile AF. Here’s the first piece I bought (my first boutique vintage purchase ever, which sparked my addiction:
I’ve purchased plenty of times from Candace and her shipments always arrive with a little message and a nice discount code for future purchases. It’s uh, part of the reason why I keep coming back. No joke, literally in the middle of writing this, I received an unexpected card from Candace, thanking me for shopping with her in 2019. And yeah, she gave me another generous discount code. And yeah, I bought some more things.
I’m particularly fond of her separates. Of specific note is her selection of wool pleated skirts. I remember wanting to don them in high school so I could ride my bike and feel like Sylvia Plath every day, but finding larger sizes always proved difficult. And ladies, I am literally living my fantasy now, thanks to Clotheslines Vintage.
Alysha Cassis-Shaw runs Neutral ground out of NYC. The boutique specializes in vintage pieces in a neutral colour palette. Think browns, beiges, blacks, white, and the occasional metallic piece. Her collection is high quality, true vintage (20 years or older) and each piece is truly unique.
Alysha and I message shortly after I made my original Instagram post (the pink blouse above) about quitting fast fashion. I bought a lovely 80’s era cream sweater from her back in November and it came beautifully wrapped with a kind personal message about our online interaction. It was so very personal and meant a lot.
The prices are in the higher range, due to the specialized pieces. That being said, they’re pretty fair for what you’re getting. The sweater I purchased had a very minor flaw, which was why it was discounted, but I only paid $35 US, which is quite a good price for a proper sweater.
I’m wearing it here with a skirt I scored from a clothing swap. It’s a lovely cropped sweater that looks great tucked or untucked. I absolutely love the puff sleeves and the pearl details over the ribbing. The sweater is snug and zips up in the back. They just don’t make them like this anymore.
Run by Kate out of Toronto, Ontario, Innersinn Vintage operates exclusively via Instagram. This format of purchasing things online was a bit new to me, but then I found an amazing 80’s blouse that I had to have (featured below), and I DM’d Kate and went through the process of purchasing via e-transfer. Honestly, it’s simple and very personal but there’s something I really appreciate about that kind of transaction.
For one, the payments go directly to the shop owner, which is great because there is no massive third-party corporation getting any of the funds. Second, I like getting to know people. Millennials tend to avoid face to face conversation with strangers, but the Internet can prove to create community between people who have never met and I quite enjoyed the conversation I had with Kate about the online vintage community.
Innersinn specializes in very romantic 50’s-looking pieces. The boutique carries a TON of wool skirts that my Sylvia Plath heart would buy if you’d all just support my Patreon. I definitely appreciate it’s balance of both statement and essential pieces.
Below I’m wearing my AMAZING massive-collar cream blouse paired with some modern pieces in my wardrobe. I love the looks you can achieve when mixing one old-time-y piece with modern elements. It adds a lot of texture and dimension to an outfit.
I can’t wait to pair it with some of my sleeveless dresses because this collar is the perfect size for visual impact. They honestly don’t make clothes like this anymore and this is one of the absolutely best things about buying vintage.
Flying Apple Vintage
If you’re looking for CLASSIC vintage pieces, well, this is your haven. Based in ??????, Flying Apple carries everything that your retro heart could ever desire. I found their shop on a whim and I couldn’t browse through their selections without adding a batch of items to my online cart.
Their shop is the most advanced of all the ones I’ve listed, giving you the ability to search via size, era, or for specific items, such as tops or dresses, etc. The only major qualm I have is that they use UPS as their courier service and I hate UPS with a flaming passion. You can also purchase via Etsy, so I’m not sure if their Etsy shipping is different than through their official store. Next time I buy from them I will be sure to let you know.
Below is the ridiculously unique 70’s dress that I HAD TO HAVE when I browsed their shop. It was about $90 US, which honestly isn’t much for a dress this amazing. It’s definitely not practical but the sizing pretty much suited my body type perfectly and there’s no way you can’t let that kind of piece go.
Do You Buy from Vintage Boutiques?
Would you consider it? Why or why not? At one point in time I found the pieces too expensive, but again, with a boutique you’re paying for curation. Boutique owners also launder the items, deal with stains, etc. They’re thrifted items but it’s not shopping thrift, browsing through endless racks full of soiled two-year-old Wal-Mart clothes.