As the presence of vintage and second-hand stores grows rapidly, it’s become impossible for me to scroll through my Instagram feed without coming across a new account’s perfectly curated pieces available for purchase. Many of the shops, especially those with smaller followings, offer scheduled drops of vintage clothes in separate Instagram posts, and then sell to the first commenter on the listing, or allow followers to bid on the item in the comments section. As shops gain a following and purchasing becomes more competitive, the shop transitions to a website for purchases, and primarily uses their Instagram page to gain customers and announce restocks. For example, when @courtyard_la, which now has 125K followers, transitioned to a website in January 2018, their posts regularly generated anywhere from 15 to 60 potential buyers in the comments.

Thanks to Instagram, scoring a one-of-a-kind vintage blouse or a perfectly worn-in pair of Levi’s is just one click away. But this online process creates an experience that is wildly different from in-person thrifting. Though purchasing vintage clothes directly from consignment stores can be tedious and requires digging through racks and racks of clothes, in my opinion, there is nothing more exhilarating than the thrill of finding the perfect item that no one else has. In contrast, Instagram vintage shops make thrifting less personal, as customers are purchasing items from a more modest selection of pre-curated pieces. Additionally, these shops generally take the bargain element out of vintage shopping, as they are reselling for a profit. For example, @elixir.vintage’s secondhand denim pieces range from 40 to 130 dollars in price, while a true vintage store sells denim for as low as $5.

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However, Instagram makes vintage shopping far more accessible for those who don’t have the time to go thrifting and those who live in places lacking stylish second-hand stores. Customers can look for exactly what they want. The rise of Instagram thrift stores came simultaneously with a rise in vintage popularity in the fashion industry. In the last few years, more and more influencers have been spotted in designer vintage pieces. Instagram shops make it easy to stay up to date with the trends by offering followers their own one-of-a-kind items.

Regardless of whether or not you decide to buy vintage on Instagram, scrolling through these shops’ feeds can provide great fashion inspiration! Some of my personal favorites to follow are @courtyard_la, @eliavintage, @elixir.vintage, and @iamthat_shop. Check them out and find your perfect vintage piece!

COVER PHOTO: HGTV