I'm kind of a big deal...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thrifting on Etsy...plus size edition

If you've ever visited Etsy then you already know that it can be pretty hard to navigate.  It's even harder if you aren't 100% sure what you are looking for.  Because there is not one uniform  way for vendors to describe or tag items (i.e., something striped could be called "multicolored" by one person, and "rainbow-colored" by another) it can make it quite frustrating for the discerning fashionista to find that one amazing piece. When searching for vintage clothing on this site,  I employ some pretty easy search tips.  These tips can also be applied to eBay as well.  While you may not yield all the possible options, you will get most of them.  Here is how I do it:

1. When searching vintage clothing I use the following search terms (not all at once):
"plus size"*
"extra large"
16 18
large or L

*I put quotes around the words or phrases that I want to be searched together for further specificity.  Without quotes the term "plus size" will yield results with plus and size anywhere in the title and/or description--we don't want that!

Here is an example:

Eek, 4,300 results.  Maybe if you had some time on your hands you could look through all of them and not lose your mind in the process...slim chance of that happening.  If you look on the right, you will see that our search has been broken up into categories.  We can select "clothing" to narrow the results a little.

You see how the "clothing" category gets broken down further?  Now you can select the category you want. 
You can also refine your results by leaving "plus size" in the search box and adding a color, size, or clothing style or feature.  I like vintage dresses that are sheer so I would put "plus size" and "sheer" in the search box, select the clothing category, then select the dresses category....voila!

Keep in mind that there are many ways you can enter search terms with each method possible yielding different results.  Play around a little bit and try to avoid obscure terminology when searching for clothing (i.e., using "chunky" instead of "plus size"). Most importantly, don't relegate yourself to the term "plus size" when looking for unique vintage pieces.  A lot of vintage clothing is stretchy and forgiving so don't be afraid to look for clothing that is tagged one size or large, or even medium.  The sellers on Etsy are pretty good at posting measurements and describing the fabric type (stretch vs. non stretchy).  don't be afraid to send a message to a vendor asking for further measurements!

My mastery of the search terminology for plus sized vintage clothing has resulted in some pretty cool finds.  Here are a few of them (not all of them are clothing):

Sized XL

Sized XL

Size 10

Sized XL

What vintage pieces have you discovered on Etsy? Where else do you go for vintage clothing?


  1. I just ran into your blog! Im preggie myself and lately I have been having alot of fun buying clothes for my belly. Love it!
    New Follower :)
    I love those boots soooo much


  2. Thanks for the support! Love your blog too! :-)

  3. I never have good luck on Etsy. Seems everything I find in plus-sizes is either "available" as a custom size, or just plain mislabeled. I'd love to find some sweet vintage pieces!

  4. Admittedly, it's not easy...but it's not impossible either! IF you have a particular fabric or style in mind then it definitely makes the searching easier. Also, keep in mind that many vintage pieces considered plus size tend to be smaller than contemporary plus sizes. For example, a vintage piece labeled a size 16 most likely will have the measurements of a size 14 or smaller. When searching for plus sized vintage pieces, I tend to pay particular attention to the fabric and whether it has any "give" or not.


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