Style by Joanie

vintage thrifting online

Today’s post is going to be a little bit different. We’re going to talk about shopping secondhand and vintage, specially on eBay. I could spend an embarrassing amount of time pursuing eBay and Etsy for vintage. It’s thrilling for me and since I can’t add much more to my own closet I end up sending links to people I know telling them to buy this sweater/coat/boots, etc. Part of me is hesitant to give away my shopping secrets but the truer, purer part of me loves knowing someone found something great that they love and will wear, at a fraction of a new retail price. Shopping secondhand is good for the earth, your wallet, and once you get into it, you get a real high from it! Or at least I do. 🙂

I’m going to narrow today’s conversation to sweaters because they are one of my favorite things to buy secondhand. The sizing and fit is flexible which makes it a great starting point to buying vintage–there is not a lot of loss or risk involved. Referring to our sizing conversation from post #1: Don’t be afraid to buy two or three sizes up from your normal size! Knitwear is great oversized.

Some items might have small imperfections, I say: embrace them. I’m not looking for 100% perfect condition when I’m shopping secondhand, it has a history!

Everything we’ve linked is one of a kind, they are currently all available when this post went live but things move quickly!

A few things about eBay: Many items will have a “make an offer” button. Don’t be shy to try it, make a respectful offer, generally within 25% of the original price and 95% of the time it gets accepted. Watch out for really high shipping costs. Sometimes things will be marked under $20 but the shipping will be + $20 for a single item. Sweaters/knits will have a steeper ship price because of their weight but just watch for the shipping costs so there aren’t any surprises.

Keywords: I like to shop by keywords. A great place to start is by thinking of something you love. Like, “I saw a girl wearing a red turtleneck and I loved the look of it”, so start there. Or “my Mom used to have an LL Bean sweater that was chic”, so use that as your keyword.

Brands: Many brands that we are acquainted with today used to be much higher quality in years passed. A sweater from the Gap from the 80’s or 90’s is going to feel very different from something you might pick up at a store today. The same goes for Banana Republic, Abercrombie and many others. Some of my favorite sweaters that I’ll link below are Gap.  Nowadays, brands have been forced to make more styles, faster and cheaper. They have a sale every other day and they’re competing with each other to keep the price point low so the quality suffers. If you don’t like what the Gap is today, don’t discount its passed products.

One final note. Don’t judge an item by it’s picture quality. eBay photos tend to be low quality!



c.JM Joss

a. Yes to this classic patterned vintage Gap sweater! Feels like something a high school boy in the ’90s wore and I like it.

b. And here is a perfect example of a great vintage Gap sweater! This is a great summer sweater, it’s not a heavy knit. If you’re a size small, wear it with the sleeves cuffed fo a relaxed vibe.

c. This is a great sweater coat. The detailing at the sleeve and the horizontal ribs. If I didn’t have a cream sweater exactly like this I’d buy it. Make a $40 off and see what happens!




d. I love a pull over and this cranberry and navy print feels classic and fun. Would be cute with a light pair of jeans. And the leather wrapped buttons are a nice touch that shows quality. Pendleton generally makes things that hold up well as they age.

e.I like how playful this vintage alpaca sweater is, and that it’s pattered on the front and back. It’s not always about solids!

f. The prettiest shade of blue/purple. I told Rachael to buy this ASAP.


h.Peruvian alpaca

h.Peruvian alpaca

g.I’ve mentioned my love for Babaà sweaters and this turtleneck sweater from the Gap feels very similar to their turtleneck sweater except that this Gap one is shorter in the body.

h.This one is a gem. Made in Peru and 100% alpaca. I can tell by the photo it has a great slouchy oversized fit. I have a cream Ulla Johnson alpaca sweater that is my favorite, so soft and pairs well with many things so I’m bias when it comes to saying this would be a great piece for your closet.

i. I love these vintage LL Bean henley sweaters. They come in all sorts of colors. They are ribbed with a half collar and great buttons. And 100% cotton which makes it a washing dream! I also like them in wool as well, like this one.

I could go on and on but I’ll wrap it up now! Let me know if you snag one for yourself! XX Joanie


  • Sarah D.

    I’ve loved shopping secondhand for many years, both on and offline. (I remember selling some of my unwanted clothing on eBay the summer of 2001 I lived in Wheaton with my cousin Joe and his family. Those were the days of having to get a money order to pay for your eBay order :-))
    Lately I’ve enjoyed selling some of my secondhand clothes on Poshmark. I find it much easier to shop and buy on there than on eBay. I won’t include a “sign up here” link in case either of you have your own affiliate link. But if you or any of your readers would like to check out my closet, I’m @junglewife there. I’m always open to offers! I love finding good secondhand clothing (especially sweaters made from natural fibers!) and wearing it myself, or selling so someone else can find it easily and enjoy! Let’s be honest, most of the money I make on Poshmark I turn around and spend on clothes from other Poshmark sellers!

    • Rachael

      Love it, Sarah! We used poshmark for a Halloween costume this year and I was very impressed by the prices and how quickly the listing options changed. It obviously works for sellers really well. Thank you for these ideas!

    • Joanie

      I have shopped Poshmark too! I find that don’t have as many vintage items as ebay does but maybe they do now? It has been a bit since I’ve been on there. And I’m with you, if I want to buy something I try to sell something to justify the purchase. It’s like a big virtual clothign swap! Xx

  • Susan Magnolia

    I have not shopped on eBay a lot but I have good luck when I know what I am looking for. Recently I bought 2 gorgeous cardigan sweaters from Thred Up (LL Bean and J Crew) and both were around $20 but would have retailed for so much more. I love sweaters and they are much easier to purchase online then other clothing.

  • Heather

    Love this! I have just discovered ebay for great deals on maternity jeans (7 for all mankind $35, Paige $20!) and now I have a new thing to browse! I have some vintage stuff I happened upon at the Salvation Army (designer wool skirts, Pendleton wool jacket) and they are such great clothes, high quality and classic styles. I’m not a brand name person, but I do love the materials and quality and character of the vintage stuff.

  • Eleanor

    I used this guide to buy the most perfect alpaca sweater last year which I wear incessantly and always gets me compliments from chic women. (Less so my husband who thinks it’s a bit nutty.) Imagine the delight I get in telling folks who ask it’s vintage from eBay! Such a service Joanie and Rachael have provided! Thank you!

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