They just don’t make ’em like they used to — dresses, I mean. Lately, I’ve been disappointed by fast-fashion buys from brands that claim to be sustainable, but fall apart after the first wear. Not to mention, dresses, in my opinion, just aren’t as special as they once were. From sailor collars to cascading ruffles to structured bodices and delicate rows of buttons, you just don’t find the same level of detail in a new dress from Zara or Reformation that you would in a vintage find.
Even though Etsy can be a serious time commitment to comb through, the hunt is worth it for a special dress no one else will have. The site’s many sellers offer a wide variety of silhouettes, prints, and most importantly sizes, meaning even though it may take opening 100 tabs throughout the course of the afternoon, there’s a vintage frock for everyone just waiting to be discovered. From on-trend colors like lime and hunter green to sheer statements, Laura Ashley relics, and ’90s babydoll dresses, all the trends you’re loving right now can be found in the deep depths of Etsy. All you have to do is look beyond the often-awkward, at-home DIY imagery, and narrow your search down by size or keyword, at least, for sanity’s sake.
To get you started, we’ve searched through decades and decades for some of the best dresses available on the site right now — but you know vintage means there’s only one for the taking, so don’t think too hard on the finds ahead, or you may just miss them altogether.
There’s a lot of product out there, some would say too much. No doubt this has left you with an overwhelming set of questions about the latest must-haves. Luckily we’ve got answers. At Refinery29 we are here to help you navigate this epic world of stuff. All of our editorial market is independently selected and curated by the team. But if you buy something we link to on our site Refinery29 may earn commission.