11 Things I Didn’t Buy On Etsy So You Can

The contingency of genius-weirdos that derive true pleasure from combing all 12 pages of an Etsy search for “flat mule” are a rare breed. But when I do find that perfect mule and it’s only $36 including shipping?! Rapture at last. To be fair, I'm freelance and have a lot of time on my hands, and clicking “next page” releases tiny puffs of relaxing brain stuff (it’s science). But if you’re busier than me or just don’t know where to start, you’re in luck, because I also love sharing.

Let’s start with some tips:

- Unlike eBay, Etsy doesn’t need a really specific search. Often the best deals are from vendors that don’t know that they have something majorly valuable. (“Value” is totally subjective, though — I might be in a lonely camp of people that think a crochet halter top is worth more than $30). Look for things by silhouette and material (linen A-line skirt, silk shell tank, leather bucket bag).

- Like eBay, Etsy photos usually don’t do the product justice. This means you have to really read descriptions and sometimes message sellers for more information. A little blind trust and some faith in your tailor are necessary. The stores with great photography (looking at you, Persephone Vintage) are aware of their goods and price appropriately.

- If you’re an Etsy whiz, you might have noticed that your Favorites page has some repeating items. For example, I love the silhouette of vintage Van Eli shoes. Their price ranges are from $20 to $70 and they’re usually really cute!

- It’s very hard to discern synthetic fabric quality without feeling it. If an item is cute, your size, and 100% silk, cotton, linen, cashmere, or leather, it’s usually a winner. Plus, you can usually resell.

Okay, those are my tips. Now for the things you should buy!

Bags are the easiest items to buy online — no try on required.

'60s Woven Jute Handbag with Wooden Handle, $28, available at Etsy.
'50s Brown Lizard Box Bag, $68, available at Etsy.
Shoes are the second easiest items to buy online because, unlike clothing, sizing is standard (at least, as far as I can tell, and I wear an 8). Sometimes they’re narrow, but the seller usually makes note.

David Aaron Leather Pumps, $63, available at Etsy.
Van Eli Clear Pumps, $25, available at Etsy.
Sunglasses are a little harder to buy without a try-on, but my suggestion is to measure the width of a favorite pair you already own. Compare with listed measurements and forge ahead.

Gucci Logo Eye Sunglasses, $131.06, available at Etsy.
Essor By Gözlük Sanayi Vintage Sunglasses, available at Etsy.
'60s American Optical Vivacious Cat-Eye Sunglasses, $125, available at Etsy.
If you’re here, you know what a 501 is. In New York, they are crazy expensive. In LA, they’re a little more wallet-friendly. On Etsy? They’re free! Just kidding, they cost money, but not a ton of money. (If you know where to look). Take your measurements and compare with the seller’s listing. I like to go up a size in Levi’s because #comfort.

Levi's 501s, $40, available at Etsy.
These aren’t 501’s but they ARE amazing.

Levi's '70s Striped Flared Jeans, $49, available at Etsy.
Dresses are of the "more bang for your buck" category in my mind, because it’s like one outfit. Plus, if they’re too big, you can always belt them.

Vintage '70s Handmade Crochet Dress, $51.34, available at Etsy.
Vintage Embroidered Slip Dress, $74, available at Etsy.
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