“This is an original 1970s East West calfskin motorcycle jacket in perfect condition,” said Britt Robertson in an arrogant tone. “Know what your s***’s worth, ’cause you just got played. Bam, son!” A light bulb moment in one of the scenes from Netflix’s Girlboss pilot episode, Robertson — playing a 23-year-old Sophia Amoruso — found her life’s true calling in a dingy vintage shop somewhere in LA. Later on, she started her eBay shop “flipping” unwanted pre-loved clothes into covetable vintage pieces that soon grew into the mega-sized label Nasty Gal.
Although real-life Nasty Gal has filed for bankruptcy, it’s less of Amoruso’s haughty disdain and more of the decreasing focus on quality vintage stock that caused the business to fizzle out. Sourcing vintage goods can be quite tricky when done in a large scale, which explains the saturation of made-in-China garments in place of actual unique pieces the brand was originally known for.
Granted, the definition of vintage has changed throughout the years. In fashion’s lightyears, offerings from two seasons past may as well be called “vintage” now. And the organic process of rifling through rails of secondhand chintzy tea dresses for worthy finds of rare Yves Saint Laurents or ’70s Guccis is too arduous for the breakneck speed we have grown accustomed to in this digital era.
Which is why heading to Instagram — a.k.a. the new eBay — for a curated treasure trove of vintage pieces has become the ultimate alternative for cutting out the lingering scent of mothballs from your retail experience. You also get to skip the legwork of sieving out the obvious rejects and have the luxury of purchasing with an easy tap of a finger. Plus, by buying secondhand, you’ll actually be doing your part of going greener while amping up your wardrobe selections. Win-win.
What Nasty Gal failed to proffer, these lesser-known gems deliver. Scroll down for the best vintage stores to check out on Instagram, where you can get both old-school garbs and visual eye candies in one fell swoop.
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What to expect: Fantasies and possibilities encapsulated through frothy gowns, lace ruffs and petticoats matched with Chuck Taylors and chokers. Owned by hair and makeup artist Stacey Nishimoto, who’s an Instagram sensation in her own right, not only will you find a whimsical range of vintage apparel, but also a wealth of otherworldly beauty inspiration with characters inspired by ’70s Pierrot clowns and ’80s Soviet kitsch fashion.
What to expect: Scroll through Na Nin Vintage’s feed and your summer wardrobe is sorted: Dreamy silk blouses in the prettiest pastels, high-waisted linen trousers, and an endless selection of the most perfect vintage denim in different washes. But they go to the fastest fingers first. The pieces on offer at are on a “first direct message, first served” basis, and you’ll have to pay within the hour to secure your find.
What to expect: With Harry Styles and Kendall Jenner counted as clients, this place is top-tier stylists’ best kept secret. Find the rarest designer gems such as a 1989 Comme des Garçons wrap skirt, a 1986 Alaïa evening gown, or a 1999 Margiela apron jumpsuit. They come with a hefty price tag, but you sure can’t find these pieces anywhere else. Founded in 1994, One of a Kind was born at the famous Portabello Road in West London — and now it also thrives on Instagram as an account that doubles up as a crash course in fashion history.
What to expect: Straw basket bags, one-in-a-million denim purchases and statement pieces are part of Persephone Vintage’s feed, which is refreshed several times daily — thus, serving styling inspiration as much as it does actual retail. The jewellery offerings, rich dusky brown backdrop, and slightly Mediterranean aesthetic — think Jacquemus’ SS17 campaign — all make for a browsing experience far superior to that of any musty local store.
What to expect: Edwardian lawn dresses, flapper dresses, ’50s fit-and-flare prom dresses, and ’70s bohemian dresses. Having Adored Vintage’s post come up on your feed is a visual pleasure in itself, but what makes it better is its curated antiques that actually date back from the 1910s to the 1980s. Visit the store’s site, and you can even shop its items by their eras. With most of its offerings priced under US$100 (S$136), you’ll score yourself some serious steals.