Laptop and coffee in turquoise mug on a wooden table.

There are multiple benefits to buying vintage and pre-loved items — both for you and the planet. Shopping for vintage and secondhand clothes and accessories is a great way to support the circular fashion movement. However, secondhand shopping online can have several risks too — from off-the-mark sizing to dishonest sellers.

Here are 6 tips to remember before vintage or secondhand shopping online.

1. Know the rating system for secondhand shopping online

Almost all vintage and secondhand clothing, bags or accessories will be paired with a condition rating. Make sure you read the item description thoroughly and double-check all the provided photographs to analyse the items details.

‘As New (Unused/Mint)’ items will have very minimal cosmetic wear if any at all — a near faultless item.

‘Excellent’ will usually mean the item is in almost perfect condition with no immediately obvious flaws but may have minor cosmetic wear in the form of very light scratches or scuffs.

‘Good’ may indicate that the item has slightly more noticeable markings in the form of scratches, scuffs, minor discolouration or faint staining.

‘Fair’ is usually the lowest grade rating. It’s reserved for items which have noticeable damage or staining.

Secondhand Louis Vuitton speedy in Excellent vintage condition | Timeless Vintage Co

2. Choose a reputable online seller

There are so many options when it comes to buying vintage and secondhand items online. From apps to auction sites. Research a brand before committing to your purchase by checking out their social accounts, reviews and even forums to find advice from other buyers.  Individual sellers may offer a great deal, but there’s additional risk involved, so take precautions.

Did you know that Louis Vuitton is one of the most counterfeited brands ever? Fake handbags, shoes, phones and accessories are still a lucrative market for corrupt individuals.

Here at Timeless Vintage, we sell luxury designer bags and accessories, but we also offer a consignment service too. Because of this, our team know how to spot an item that doesn’t match up. To share our knowledge, we created a guide to spotting fake designer handbags.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! 

If you’d like to see an item from a different angle or ask for a more detailed description, don’t be afraid to ask. Especially for high-value items. A reputable seller will be happy to provide you with all the information you need.

Ask questions! | Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

4. Double-check the dimensions

It can be difficult to judge the size of a pre-loved designer handbag, lamp or chair when it’s photographed against a white background. Make sure to check the product or clothing lengths and general dimensions to make sure you’re not caught out.

5. Know your measurements 

We all know how varied sizing can be between brands, add in various decades too and sizing can become a minefield!

When buying online you don’t have the option to ‘try before you buy’, so double-check the product dimensions/measurements, and compare to them to what you need. Common measurements to keep on hand are hips, waist, bust, inseam, height etc.

Mannequin with a tape measure | Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Most reputable sellers will have some form of returns policy, but make sure you check. This brings us to our next tip…

6. Read the sellers terms and FAQs 

Before committing to a purchase, make sure you’re aware of the seller’s returns, refunds and general policies. Knowing the returns policy is critical if you make a mistake with sizing or find that a designer handbag you bought for a friend isn’t quite the right style or colour.

Featured Image Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative


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