I'm possibly at my happiest when searching through a rail of vintage dresses. However, I get frustrated by how poor vintage shopping online can be: too many bad pictures, too many items badly labelled. Over years of searching, I've around 15 different boutiques I come back to time and time again. Want to experiment with vintage? Trust me: try these shops first.
Lucy in Disguise was once both a brilliant physical and a brilliant online shop. Although the actual shop has now closed, thankfully the online shop lives on, selling the vintage of my dreams. You may know the shop through its connection with Lily Allen - she's the co-founder - and it stocks the kind of clothes you'd like to wear out partying with Lily. Although some of the clothes do have pop star prices, they also do brilliant sales. And, god, this 1940s green gown is beautiful.
We tend to promote the designer/makers on Etsy, but it's also a brilliant place to browse for vintage from all over the world. Type a general search, or simply head straight for your favourite shops. Some of my favourite UK sellers include Darlings Vintage (great dresses, also a nice line in lingerie), Palette London (designer label dresses and jewellery) and Advantage in Vintage (specialising in mid-century vintage, such as this gorgeous 1940s silk tea dress). Don't forget ASOS Marketplace too, another multi-seller marketplace that can turn up gems, although I find it generally takes more searching work than Etsy, and is a bit more focused towards 80s/90s clothing.
Peekaboo are one of the companies that sell on ASOS Marketplace but I prefer to browse their site directly. They have a concession in the giant Oxford Street Topshop which gives a good indication of their style: trend-focused, easy-to-wear vintage pieces such as this 70s floral print dress.
Rokit's stock is huge and covers almost every era and style. While the photography can be a bit basic compared to other stores, it's hard to argue with the choice available. Search and you will be rewarded with gems such as this 1950s sundress. Check out the Rokit Recycled range too: pieces that have been rescued and reworked to make them modern wardrobe suitable.
Beyond Retro is similar. If you've been to one of their stores, you know how you could spend hours searching through their stock: it's the same online. However, they're particularly good at picking out clothes for you: there are often features on how to replicate a trend. This 1950s dress is from Dawn O'Porter's edit of their stock, part of her 'This Old Thing' drive to promote wearing vintage.
At the other end of the vintage shop scale is Juno Says Hello, a tightly edited selection of glam cocktail and entertaining wear, such as this gorgeous Bianca dress from the 1970s. Dresses can be hired as well as bought, and the store throws in all sorts of perks for customers, from scented candles to access to their incredible library of fashion and style books.
I discovered Vintage Deli through Domestic Sluttery and now it's one of my firm favourites. Owner Katy Coe always has something interesting in stock - and they are photographed beautifully. My current favourite is this sailor shirt dress.
Talking of Sluttery favourites, Love Miss Daisy has been one of our most-loved vintage shops for years. If you're after a fab frock, dating from any time between the 1940s and the 80s, there's bound to be one here for you. I love the primness of this 1950s pussybow dress.
The selection at Lovelys Vintage is a bit smaller than some of these other shops but definitely worth keeping an eye on, as they get in some fabulous pieces. An Ossie Clark for Radley dress you say? Yes please.
It's Vintage Darling! stock both vintage and vintage-inspired dresses so you are bound to come away happy. I'm all about this simple 1960s dress. They also stock a great range of accessories.
My Vintage stock both vintage and repro clothing too. Owner Emma is an avid tweeter: follow her to see what's in stock first. I've got my eye on this extremely cute 1950s St Michael dress.
The Stellar Boutique has something of a bohemian edge. The photographs of its vintage stock - dating from the 1940s through to the 1990s - are a lesson in how to make vintage look contemporary. I love the colours of this 50s shirt dress: I'd quite like her yellow converse and basket too.
Merchant Archive's stock is exquisite. There are 1920s beaded dresses and 1930s gowns worthy of starlets. Some of the prices go into the thousands, and you can see why. Some pieces are just about within budget for special occasion wear, however, such as this smart, streamlined 1960s wool dress - yours for £120. If you are after some serious vintage porn, also take a look at William Vintage: there's a reason why his dresses regularly appear on the red carpet.
Lady Pearls does glamour too, at a much-more wallet friendly price. Their range of evening dresses include this divine dusty pink evening gown. Simply add one of their bags, some jewels and shoes and you're good to go - and with the vintage guarantee no-one will be wearing the same as you.
Got a favourite online vintage fashion shop I've missed? Let us know in the comments so we can shop there too!