I’m lucky to live in New York, one of the fashion capitals of the world and home to some of the choicest thrift stores. But I don’t live in that cool part of New York you’re probably thinking of–I don’t live in the city. I live in a sleepy beach town on a barrier island, technically in the suburbs of New York City, technically part of Long Island. Don’t judge me – my town’s different from the Trump-supporting, un-ironic Juicy sweatsuit wearers that you’re probably imagining. Though we might be a little more bearable than other places nearby, there aren’t any thrift stores around, really. Not even a Salvo in sight.
And so, when I was on the hunt for the perfect pair of vintage Levi’s, I could have hopped on a train to BK or Manhattan, less than an hour away. But alas, I haven’t yet climbed the career rungs beyond the title of “Intern” and ya girl is BROKE. If you’re not familiar, I’ll have you know that the Long Island Railroad is ridiculously expensive, too. So when a vintage seller on Instagram requested to follow me, and I then quickly fell down the rabbit hole of browsing through the seemingly millions of other Insta-vintage shops, it was like my worn-in denim prayers had finally been answered. I didn’t have to schlep. I could swipe.
I ended up finding the jeans I “needed,” and drooling over tons of other things I definitely didn’t, but still really wanted. Slip dresses, oversized men’s coats in the perfect subtle plaid, block heel mules that were much less expensive than Marais (in my size! With barely any wear!), market dresses that I’d totally bum around in even though I never go to the elusive “market,” – I digress.These vintage magicians had done all the hard work for me, and put together little mini collections of gems that could be snagged with a simple invoice on PayPal.
And this stuff was going fast. On the more popular accounts, you’ll see an item up one minute, and then check back a short while later only to see the dreaded SOLD added to the end of the caption. Most sellers have you leave your zip code and e-mail address in the comments or in a DM, and whoever does it first gets dibs. Pay quickly and that just ill-fitting enough boxy sweater is all yours. Busier sellers will put up dozens of items a day, and most are claimed super quickly.
So this Insta-vintage phenomenon isn’t only benefitting lazy thrifters like me. The people (mostly women) behind these accounts have developed a hustle that’s letting them quit their 9-5s. Seller @minimalismvintage posted recently, “I woke up with joy at 6 am knowing I’ll work till 10 pm. Why? Because I’m building for myself. My labor and love will make me wealthy, not a stranger who pays me 1/10000 of what he makes. Stepping out into self employment is scary but the blessing to your spirit it offers can’t be beat.”
I’m all about supporting these #blessed entrepreneurial spirits, and all about finding vintage Levi’s that are loose-fitting in the legs but still hug your butt. Check out some of my favorite sellers below.