Friday, September 17, 2010

Is It Just My Imagination? -Seemingly Increasing Vintage Prices on Etsy

Today while browsing Etsy for a few Fall skirts and dresses, I noticed several higher-priced items. I know this is normal. Even though 'vintage' equals 'used clothing,' people will pay big bucks because it is well, vintage. However, in the last few weeks or so, I feel like vintage prices have gotten higher overall.

I usually conduct my Etsy searches with "lowest prices" first and today it seemed like the gap between cheap and expensive was quite narrow. Is it just me, or have prices for vintage increased?

I suspect, and I could be wrong, that the reason for the price hike (if true) is due to the popularity of TV shows like Mad Men and the fact that many designers debuted vintage-inspired designs at the fashion shows earlier this year. Now that Fall is pretty much upon us, autumn couture is now available in the retail market. Since fashion dictates most people's purchases, I bet the demand for vintage/vintage-inspired clothing will be higher this season.

Now that vintage is even more chic, I think sellers are looking to cash in more than before. Until the current couture trends die down, I am guessing that most of us vintage gals will have to really 'crank up the heat' when it comes to finding a great vintage find for the right price.

So, what do you girls think? Have you noticed any increase in the cost of vintage?


  1. I have never had much luck buying vintage - just like rtw today, the fit always seems to be off.
    BUT I have noticed a significant jump in the price of vintage patterns over the last few years. I can understand that some work goes into the process of readying an item for sale, but some of these patterns list for as much as a finished item of clothing! And they're just an envelope of paper, more the hope or promise of a garment.
    Will be kind of happy when 'retro' goes back to being unpopular again, lol! Love Mad Men I admit, but how long can it last...

  2. yes, its ridiculous how much vintage is going for and also repro vintage is expensive too and smaller in sizes..oh btw
    I awhile back I posted about my curler hamper..thought u might like to read.

  3. I agree! As a vintage clothing seller on etsy, I find it REALLY hard to price things because it seems like everyone else is jacking up their prices. I like to price things within a normal affordable range so I often compare to what other people are pricing to get an idea of what something is worth. Then, I see a dress for $200 and I think "seriously? Are you on drugs?!" I hope that when some of us vintage sellers strive to keep our prices affordable, it doesn't demean the quality of our goods. Keep looking, there are a lot of great, affordable sellers out there!!

  4. I don't buy vintage as much as I used to cos I'm bigger than a lot of the clothes I want are in, but I make my own from vintage patterns and I agree with Moxie Tonic some of the pattern prices are astronomical! I fortunately have a lot of vintage patterns but I'm always on the look out for more.

    So yes I think you're right Mad Men - even though I've never seen it eek! - has contributed horribly to the increase in prices.

  5. It's definitely getting more expensive - you're not the only one who has noticed. I don't think it's just Mad Men but definitely that it's getting so popular in general (as you also said). Even in the shops locally it's getting more expensive. The problem is, people like me keep on buying it at those prices (though not the HUGE prices) so they keep selling it at those prices. And perhaps their sources are getting more expensive, too, for the same reason?
    -Andi x

  6. I think it started as a small following of hardcore vintage wearers and its as my fashion history lecturer says, the "trickle down" theory.
    Its not always high class trickles down to lower. It also works with "Tribes." So the people like us that wear it and build it into our lifestyles have influenced designers which in turn has influenced the masses.
    Can't say I'm too pleased about it though. Makes me feel far less individual and means I have to do a lot more sewing to get the look I want without paying hundreds!x

  7. My main source of vintage clothing has always been estate sales, and although prices have definitely gone up in general, there are still very good deals out there. Especially on the second half-price day, it's common for dresses to be priced at $3 - $10. "Special" dresses and coats can be a bit more - skirts, blouses, pants a bit less.

    Unfortunately, it takes a lot of TIME and PATIENCE to find those super deals and clothes in the right size - which many of us don't have! So that's where eBay and Etsy come in to play. Instant gratification!

  8. I have noticed, an increase in price, especially on Etsy. I passed up a beautiful mexican skirt on ebay, purple and black with sequins, that sold for around 45. I considered sniping it for up to 65, which in my mind is the max I want to pay for a skirt unless it is very special and looks amazing on. I saw the same skirt on Etsy for $200! I am starting to avoid Etsy, with the exception of a few sellers, because they are just sniping deals on ebay to resell on etsy. Best bet, like Sarsaparilla says, estate sales or flea markets. I am going to do a blog about vintage pricing soon, since I work at a vintage shop and price a lot of stuff.

  9. As a vintage seller on Etsy, I try to price based on what I personally would expect to pay at a vintage shop or from a seller on etsy or whatever.
    And if I buy an item for a deal, and then choose to re-sell it, I pass along the savings.
    I think some sellers are jumping on the band wagon hoping to make a lot of quick cash and don't really "get it".

  10. I would also like to add that many people are forgetting that great deals don't exist everywhere. I do agree that there are a lot cheaper things out there to be found if you dig around but I don't have a lot of choice where I live. It is almost entirely impossible to find anything earlier than '70s in charity stores, over here, and, so far as I know, flea markets and estate sales are quite rare. So, for a lot of people, shelling out the extra $$ is their only option if they want vintage.

  11. Thank you, girls, for your wonderfully insightful and and informative comments.

    I think we can all agree that finding good quality vintage and vintage that is priced right takes time and patience. I admit that I tend to be impatient when it comes to looking for wares.

    I think I need to start searching for estate sales and auctions. The DC area is okay but not great. I have been to a lot of the Goodwill places and most of it is 80s and 90s. My niece and I do have fun finding hideous 80s stuff and trying to out-tacky one another! lol!

    Etsy is a captive market and eBay is the same. Sellers are going to cash in on people's sense of "instant gratification" by charging high prices.

    I just noticed that the prices have gotten higher since the vintage-inspired fall fashions came onto the retail market. Mad Men is HUGE right now and people are just starting to take notice what we vintage girls already know: vintage IS better!

    Nevertheless, I was in Richmond earlier today and I visited Bygones in Richmond's Carytown district. I bought a green 50s shirtwaist dress for $68 and a 50s wool, black cropped cardigan with collar for $28. I did spy some gorgeous bakelite but $68 for a smaller-sized, black bangle? No, thanks. I recently found a thicker green, end-of-day bangle on Etsy for $34!

    So, in conclusion, if we are willing to search, the right vintage is out there!