As one of the largest shopping destinations in the world, eBay is home to a trove of rare clothing and gear that rivals even the most enduring vintage shops. For those looking for that nostalgic Grateful Dead summer tour tee from ‘94, or OG Air Jordan 1s dating back to 1985, there’s a high probability that the grail you’re looking for is already listed on eBay — you just need to find it.
For years, eBayers in the know had their own methods to trawl eBay’s billion-plus listings to regularly come up on gems that manage to stay hidden in plain sight. eBay realized early on the dedicated community they had built and have since established trusted relationships with some of their biggest fashion PowerSellers to help surface even more vintage goods for its voracious bidders.
Whether it’s training yourself to look for common misspellings in auction titles, or learning how to use eBay’s search filters to your advantage, we put together a cheat sheet of tips and trips you need to know to score your next rare fashion find.
Use search filters & save them.
This might be common sense, but eBay’s search filters are a great first step in finding your next grail. For example, if you’re looking for a specific piece from Dries Van Noten’s Spring/Summer 2004 collection, you can search for the brand and drill down further by filtering by decade, price range, and condition. You can then save these specific searches and have eBay alert you each time a seller lists an item matching your search criteria so you won't miss out the next time around.
Curate a list of reputable sellers to follow.
If you’re noticing a particular seller in your search(es) constantly replenishes their store with fire gear, even if it’s not in your size, they might be worth a follow. You’ll never know what they’ll list next and it just might be the grail you were looking for. Once you’ve got a solid list going, you can then go even further by conducting a seller search that’ll let you find items from those specific people. With eBay's breadth of inventory, it helps to have a jump-start on reputable sellers that eBay has partnered with to get your hunt going.
Power sellers like Luxury Garage Sale specialize in luxury designer consignment and offer an enormously curated collection of new, pre-owned, and vintage clothing and accessories. Brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci are just a few of the labels that typically crop up in their store. Linda's Stuff, another top seller co-signed by eBay, is another worldwide fashion reseller that focuses mainly on authentic designer clothing, shoes, and handbags.
Try spelling variations & play with search terms.
You’ll be surprised at how often eBay sellers accidentally misspell brand names in their listings, and sometimes these tend to yield killer deals since those items can slip under the radar. “Air Jordan” can sometimes be mistakenly spelled “Jodon,” or “Samsung” might appear as “Samung.” Knowing how frequent these occurrences are, third-party services like TypoHound even help generate common misspellings, making it a great way to score cheap deals.
Use an auction sniping tool.
One of the oldest practices on eBay, auction sniping is the act of submitting a bid at the very last possible moment before an auction ends in an effort to win the item at the lowest price possible. These days, online sniping tools are widely available and any hardcore eBay enthusiast has probably used one at some point. One service I’ve personally used before is AuctionStealer.com, which uses an API that connects to your eBay account and has helped me win countless auctions with less than 10 seconds to go.