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October 24, 2008


Pictured above: my mom wears a vintage Bob Mackie coat, Levi's jeans and Givenchy beaded heels. I wear a vintage Lillie Rubin dress with Chloe patent criss scross sandals. The tweed jacket on the mannequin on the left is vintage Chanel, the leather jacket with the lion medallions on it is vintage Moschino. The jacket hanging above the mannequins is vintage Kansai Yamamoto.
All vintage pieces were purchased through eBay.

My mom is the expert when it comes to finding the best things on eBay so I asked her to compile a list of some tips for vintage shopping on eBay.



When using eBay to search for designer vintage items, first start with a designer that you like; for example: Yves Saint Laurent. 

First type "vintage Yves Saint Laurent" into the search engine.
Then try- "vintage YSL"
"YSL jacket"
"Yves Saint Laurent jacket"
"YSL dress"
"Yves Saint Laurent dress"

You get the idea-just sub out your favorite designers name.

Here are some of my favorite designers to look for:
Christian Lacroix
Claude Montana
Geoffrey Beene
Bill Blass
Thierry Mugler
Norman Norrell
Victor Costa
Pierre Cardin
Louis Feraud
Yves Saint Laurent
Teal Traina
Emanuel Ungaro
Carolina Herrera

Another good search technique is to choose the era of your design of choice. Let's use the 80's.
Here are some searches I would run for 80's vintage:
80's dress
80's jacket
80's bolero
80's bolero ruffles
80's silk ruffles
80's silk dres
80's dolman sleeves/batwing
80's silk ruffle dress
etc etc!

We are both really into rouched silk 80's dresses-floral, with ruffles: think vintage Ungaro! They look great with a pair of skinny pants and killer booties.

It is also important to read the description of an item when you pull up something you like. Look at the key words the seller uses, and plug those into your search. For instance, if you search for a jacket and in the description of an item, the seller calls it a 'jacket bolero', then plug the word bolero into your search engine. This will help you find exactly what you want!
The item you are looking for could be hiding under many different descriptions: it's important to change up your searches. Don't forget that eBay saves your searches: this is a huge time-saver!

Don't be afraid to bid on the item that no one else is bidding on or something that isn't photographed well: one man's trash is another man's treasure, right?

Happy hunting-I know you all will have questions so feel free to ask.

xox Judy (Jane's mom)


Some more tips from me, Jane:

My mom and I are on a first name basis with our tailor. An important thing to consider when buying vintage is that you can usually get something tailored to fit just right. It's worth the money to get something fitted, because that will make the difference between whether you wear it or not.

My advice for buying vintage would be to buy something that gets you out of your comfort zone: amongst the skinny snug leather jackets that you might usually choose, a big shoulder-padded Norma Kamali jacket might seem like a slightly ridiculous addition to your wardrobe. Remeber that it's all about how you wear it-what jewelery you wear, how you've done your hair and make-up (minimal, preferably), what you style it with, and most importantly, the SHOES! That same jacket might not seem so Dynasty if you wear it with faded jeans, a slinky tank top, and sexy Alaia sandals. Consider it a wardrobe challenge and have fun with it. :)

<3 Jane


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Photo of Jamie

you ladies blow me away! love your style. i almost fainted when i saw those vintage jackets. i feel that the world is as it should be. designers save lives. thanks for the tips!

Photo of Daniela

Thank you so much Jane, tell your mom I say thanks too! I've been waiting for this post AND you just gave me an idea about what to wear to a party tonight! YAY!

Photo of Brigadeiro

Thanks for a great post! I haven't searched for vintage in a long time! Great tips!

Photo of Brigadeiro

PS. The Bob Mackie coat & Chanel...just amazing! As are your mom's Givenchy heels, oh my!

Photo of Joy McGill

Jane and Judy: Greetings from Tulsa -- I've just recently found your blog and am obsessed(in the best fashion-sort-of-way, of course!)

I, too, am an eBay fanatic and love the thrill of the chase in discovering special vintage finds. Your guide is fabulous and spot on... you've inspired me to do a bit of searching tonight. (and I'll probably be hitting your favorite spots in my fair city tomorrow!)

Thanks for your ebay and style insight, as well as a peek inside your very fashionable world.

Photo of Becca

this post is fabulous - some great tips and an amazing photo! two generations of amazingly fabulous style.

Photo of Caroline

i just died looking at that photo of you two. DIED. so insane! I'm currently working on an crazy business venture into the vintage side of fashion. should be pretty interesting!

Photo of Alisse

I love ebay, is the best place for vintage finds!
Last week I bought a great Su-Shi bag, I am becoming a fan of this brand, but they do not sell in Amsterdam, so...only Su-Shi.com and e-bay.

Photo of chantelle

These are fantastic instructions.
I searched a few items as I was reading each step and I already found two killer Moschino skirts!
You/and your mom are amazing!

Photo of Kaylene Milner

I too recently purchased a vintage Bob Mackie coat on ebay. As you'd say, "it's bananas!". Green silk with a large zebra on each side. I must say your mum's Bob Mackie coat has loads more class, but i think you'd appreciate my crazy coat regardless. I've just got to find somewhere/way to wear it now.

Photo of phee

you guys have great vintage finds but i was hoping for something more specific. ie. particular ebay stores that are trustworthy and have good stock...?

Photo of Stella

I love the pic! It's so perfect.

I've been ebaying for closet to 9 years now and I've scored some pretty great stuff! Ferragamos for .99, a Halston bag for 3 dollars...but more recently, I'm into hardcore Salvation Army and flea market thrifting. I should take a breather, nothing fits in my closet anymore!

Photo of Elsa

Thanks so much!

Do you reckon it would be too much to ask to make a 'guide' to taking outfit photos? Mine always turn out so bad and yours look great.

Photo of Eimear

Thanks sooooo much!!! brilliant post!

Photo of Cynthia

Thank you! I love your bolg.

Photo of Priya

Your blog is one of my favorites! You and your mom have fantastic style. Thanks for the tips!

Photo of Masha

you're simply amazing, that picture made my day. you look lovely.

Photo of ŁasKotka

You look lovely! I love your dress *____* You look very pretty with that pony-tail :)

Photo of Kaka

Jane your mom is soooo pretty and glamourous and you look so adorable in your dress ! Congrats on both your wonderful finds :)

Photo of Mimi

Love the bright dress and the white jacket.

Photo of Michelle

Wow! i absolutely love those jackets in that picture! agh!! i need money!!!

Photo of Prêt à Porter P

that picture is so incredible fabulous! the leather jacket, the bob mackie, and vintage chanel!!!! its such a dream!

Photo of Jessica Stewart

You are precious and so generous to share your tips!!! Thank you for being so cute!!! I would love to get your opinions on closets!!! How do you organize all of your great stuff!!! All the best, Jessica

Photo of zana

fabulous photo and tips, but poor jane! your computer seems to have...disjointed your arm!

Photo of vrvr

Are there any vintage designer ebay stores that you love?

Photo of Photoshop error?
Photoshop error? October 25, 2008 at 06:43 PM

Gorgeous picture -- but either Jane's dress has three sleeves or photoshop went awry. Pretty sophisticated photoshopping, though, I must admit.

Photo of Rianna Bethany

These are all good tips, i never have much look with vintage items on ebay but I'm going to use these helpful hints and have a go! Thanks a lot for sharing the wisdom!
Rianna Bethany xxxxxxxxxx

Photo of Dev

this is an awesome post! i vintage on foot and on ebay all the time. to add to the fair i would say: to start, cast a wide net (unless you're looking for one specific item). searching vague terms like "vintage clothing" might seem futile, but it will reveal terms that you can use later and also introduce you to clothing you never thought you'd like. also, be sure to check the measurements! tailoring is great for quick fixes, but it's heart breaking to find a piece you love, spend money on it, and then find it's too small.

Photo of Mel

Thanks for the vintage guide! It's wonderful! Now I want to go look on ebay for vintage jackets! Also you two look gorgeous! You know, you and your mom remind me of Serena van der Woodsen and her mom Lily from "Gossip Girl".

Photo of The Stylish Wanderer

this is so helpful. you and your mom rock!

Photo of suzany

Great tips!! Thanks a lot!
I have a question: at least how old must something be so it can be called vintage? something from 10 years ago? 15? 20?
I know it's a silly question, but it's something I've always wondered. :)

Photo of Vicki

That Moschino jacket is quite possibly the most amazing thing I've ever seen. I always search for things like that on Ebay but I never come across them.

Photo of Rachel

love your style! you always look gorgeous. thanks for the tips!

Photo of Ingvild


Nice blog, i really like it!! ANd the shoes are 2 die for! Lucky u:) I wish I hade that kind of shoes in my closet!!

Keep it up!

xoxo Ingvild


Photo of ephemerall

helps to be rich too!

Photo of yzidftbj kcgshv

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Photo of merkovsky

I'm not usually too big on vintage, but this makes me want to give it a shot The picture of you & your mother is fabulous

Photo of Elouise

Love this picture, you both look amazing! You definately share my love for vintage.

Photo of jun

how did you do your hair here? :D would appreciate a reply.

Photo of cheng

thanks for sharing these tips! i share your take on getting out of the comfort zone wtih vintage wear. however, it's an expensive thing to do. i'm quite petite so having the clothes altered cost me quite a bit already. i wish i have more modern shoes (like yours) to play down the vintage factor but i love vintage shoes too much! keep your pictures rolling in!

Photo of carmen

you two are the cutest! love your blog. i have another tip that has helped me with ebay purchases: ask questions!

if the seller hasn't listed many details about the item, i definitely ask. this will give you a better sense of the condition of the item and the seller. also, things like smell don't show up in pictures. it's a good thing to ask about, especially with older items.

Photo of taylor

thanks so much for the tips! do you have any favorite vintage/secondhand stores in southlake or fort worth/dallas? i'm at TCU and have yet to find any fun places in fort worth.

Photo of Jazzy

Glad to see another Alaia lover here!

Photo of Miss Urbanita

Love the moschino jacket. Fantastic advices! Thanks so much.

Photo of Jamie

Awesome tips and you look gorgeous too!

Photo of Chi-Chi


Photo of Market Publique

Love the post! Great tips!
I have some more to add, which may be no brainers:
Check what other items the seller has listed, the location where it ships from and what items they have sold through their feedback ratings.
This will help you pinpoint fakes & quality of the seller. A lot of locations in Asia unfortunately sell fakes. And if the seller has other designer vintage pieces for sale, chances are he/she is a collector or someone doing a closet de-stash.

Photo of Bee

took me while to put my finger on this, but your mum looks an awful lot like clark from cycle 11 of antm in this photo (when shes blonde and not made up ott for photoshoots)
love the vintage moschino jacket there! and ta for the designer pointers, i always forget designers when im sitting in front of that ebay searchbox!

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Sea of Shoes is the personal style blog of Jane Aldridge.



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