When I’m in the mood for new additions to my wardrobe, I tend to start on Depop, Mercari, or Poshmark. Naturally, the results are full of y2k, 90s, cottagecore, babydoll garments marked six times higher than they were sold for when I was seven. I’ve come to expect these kinds of prices on almost anything on these sites, but I still always feel disappointed when I latch onto an item and find that the listings are more than one of my paychecks.
After tons of dead end searches for reasonably priced vintage items, I decided that I would commit to finding one reasonably priced vintage item: a pair of 90s Skechers platform boots.
These boots are simple but chic. They have a rubber sole so I won’t sound too much like a horse clomping around on the hardwood floors at work, and they’re just tall enough so I’ll get a height boost without tripping over my own feet on the day to day. I could easily find a brand new pair with the same qualities, but there’s something too addicting about walking around in a pair of shoes that have been places that I’ll never see on the feet of someone I’ll never meet.
My first conclusion during my search was that Depop sellers are witches. A majority of the results I found were listed for luxury prices on the same shops alongside a plethora of the most gorgeous vintage boots I’ve ever seen in my life. Sometimes the sellers were located in big cities, and I would think okay, that makes sense I guess. But the ones located in a random town in Kansas made me question why I couldn’t source things so beautiful in my small southern suburb too.
Once I decided on the boot that resonated with me the most (thanks to the top tier styling of teenagers that showed me all the possibilities a pair of brown leather boots could offer), I set off on my month long hunt. To say I was obsessed is almost an understatement. Each night when I settled down with my TV on and a cat or two or three sleeping on my legs, I would whip out my phone and begin my routine. Depop, Mercari, Ebay, Etsy. Etsy, Depop, Mercari, Ebay.
Ebay, I’ve found, is possibly the best place to find vintage pieces. Somehow the prehistoric marketplace has stayed relatively unaffected by the massive inflation surrounding 90 and 00s clothing. All of the best priced boots I found were on there, but somehow my size 8 foot ended up being an anomaly amongst listings two sizes too big or too small.
If I’m ever in the market for some suede, fringed, boho chic boots from 2012 though, I definitely know where to look.
Shockingly, my first success of all of this came from Facebook Marketplace. No, I didn’t find my dream Skechers boots on there, but what I did find was equally as great.
As I scrolled through listings for platform boots, I stumbled across the dreamiest pair of Candie’s boots I’ve seen. Tan, mid-calf, with a wooden 3” platform like they walked straight out of the closet of a 70s trendsetter. While most listings for these boots sit anywhere between $100 to $300, this unsuspecting middle aged mother was cleaning out her closet and listed them for a price I just couldn’t turn down.
I almost expected her to cancel the order after discovering what a great deal she was providing, but as I see them sitting beside my clothing rack at this very moment I have to count my lucky stars that this angel of a stranger actually pulled through.
Anyways, back to my journey for the promised boots.
Each night I would spend at least two hours bouncing between apps searching for the same term phrased ten different ways. My saved searches are still full of overpriced listings, or shoes slightly too big that I almost bought out of pure desperation. It became muscle memory to click on the shopping tab of my home screen as soon as I found some time to kill.
Waiting in a drive through? Search. Riding in the passenger seat? Search. Standing in line at the post office on a Tuesday afternoon to ironically drop off a pair of boots I sold on Depop? Search.
Some days were disappointing. I'd get outbid for a pair or come home from work to find out that the listing I was eyeing the night before sold in the past hour. It made it seem like fate wasn’t on my side, like I’m not meant to have these boots for some reason far beyond my reach. You may be thinking “Isn’t this all a little much for a pair of shoes?” and to that I say yes, absolutely.
If this past year has offered nothing else, it’s at least given me a newfound capability to obsess over things that really aren’t that important. You have to have some kind of goal when your life is put on hold indefinitely!
Finally, after a month of disappointment and failure and astronomical amounts of screentime, something happened. I think it’s true that good things happen when you’re least expecting them. This has always been the case with my good luck at least.
I hadn’t even searched for Skechers boots on Ebay. I simply searched for “platform boots”, set the condition to “pre-owned”, and began scrolling through hundreds of listings. Sometimes sellers post things without the proper brand tags or sizing, so I make sure to search for vague terms just in case. I’d become numb to failing. As I quickly scrolled past boots you’d find on the sale rack at Kohl’s, I had to do a triple take as I passed the exact boots I had been searching for.
For less than thirty dollars.
Needless to say, this is where our saga ends. It’s not a very dramatic ending, nor a very interesting one, but if you’re someone with that itch under your skin to get a specific garment you’ve been eyeing for a while, then let this be your motivation to start your search. Let it serve as a beacon of hope that the vintage designer coat or the ultra rare pair of shoes you want are out there waiting for you. And they more than likely aren’t going to be under that Depop search term you saved months ago.
Put in the time and the energy and you’ll get something in return. Be it the thing you’re searching for or something unexpected yet equally as amazing, you never know what a resale rabbit hole can lead to.