Wondering where to buy vintage designer dresses? Vintage designer dresses in good condition are hard to get hold of and often command a price premium because of their rarity. If you are looking for a useable dress, you need to be sure it’s in wearable condition and won’t fall apart, the minute you try it on. Perhaps an example will help. One of my favourite dresses from my own collection is a Mr Blackwell Couture dress. On the face of it, it’s in very good condition. However, when worn, I had some issues with the stitching for the zip. It was mended successfully, but serves as a reminder, vintage designer dresses might not be as hard wearing as their contemporary counterparts.

UK Based Vintage Designer Dresses

Circa Vintage

For a cornucopia of vintage dresses head to London based Circa Vintage. Based in SW8, opening hours are by appointment. On its website you can shop by size, decade or designer. It also provides a detailed condition guide – Pristine, Excellent or Very Good. It’s worth noting it sells both ready to wear and couture dresses. I browsed the Size 12 Collection and found this 1970’s Christian Dior black couture dress and this Christian Lacroix black 1990s dress. Both are gorgeous. Prices start at less than £500. You can easily spend half a day browsing the stock.

Zeus Vintage

Zeus Vintage is an online vintage site. It also a presence on 1stDibs (more about that later). A wide range of designers are stocked including Dolce and Gabbana, Jean Paul Gautier, YSL and Christian Dior. When I visited the site, I found this Loewe black dress and this Sophie Sitbon dress. There’s a lot to like here. There is plenty of stock for sale for less than £500.

UK and International Dresses

IstDibs

IstDibs might best be described as the grandaddy of all vintage clothing sites. Very much an online lifestyle store, it brings together individual dealers as well as shops, from all over the world. It’s very much top of the range and prices are on the high side, but the quality is good. This is the place where dealers and individual shops, showcase their best stock! If you are shopping for something rare, this is the place you might find it, without having to trawl through individual sites.

While browsing, I found this Mr Blackwell Couture gold dress. Definitely Oscar worthy. I also found this Dolce and Gabbana 1990s leopard print dress. Just stunning.

You could easily spend the best part of a day on here.

Etsy

Don’t overlook Etsy. There are plenty of vintage dresses on offer but in my opinion the site works best when you search for a particular designer. You’ll find listings on here from the UK and typically, from the US. On my last visit, I found this good value Mr Blackwell 1960s dress and this 1990’s Black Dolce and Gabbana dress.

I have had good experiences shopping on Etsy.

International

Re-SEE

Re-SEE is based in Paris and was founded in 2013 by two people with fashion industry know-how. If you are local or in Paris, you can book an appointment otherwise you need to browse online. As you might expect European designers are very well represented on the Re-SEE website.

When browsing the Re-SEE site, I found this Givenchy black lace dress and this Chanel black tulle dress.

I must add that the Re-SEE site is very well organised and includes dresses from the 2010’s all the way back through the decades.

Vintage Couture

Vintage Couture is a US site offering vintage and couture dresses by American and European designers. Prices start at less than $500. The Vintage Couture site is not organised by decade but you can browse by designer. The site also has a ‘Future Classics’ section.

When browsing the site I found this Herve Leger black dress and this Jean Paul Gaultier hanky hem dress.

Worth seeking out.

Archive Vintage

Archive Vintage is based in the US and features designer and haute couture dresses from the 1960’s onwards. There are a few stores dotted around, one is in NYC. It’s possible to open a trade account. Returns are accepted.

While browsing the site I found this Issey Miyake pink dress and this Christian Dior evening gown.

The Archive Vintage website has a “Make An Offer’ button for each listing.

Shrimpton Couture

Owned and operated by Cherie Balch. Shrimpton Couture is where you might find a red carpet worthy dress.  On the website you can sort stock by designer and era as well as by the type of clothing. It’s possible to arrange layaways and holds which are covered on a page on its website. Shipping is offered on a flat rate world wide by UPS.

Browsing the site I found this rather lovely 1950’s Nettie Rosenstein dress and this Yves Saint Laurent 1981 dress. Both very lovely.

This list is not exhaustive of course. You’ll find more vintage designer dress options by trying more local searches. I always think half the fun is in tracking things down!