Zara shopping bags | The Awkward Girl's Guide to Shopping on Vinted

Vinted isn’t nearly as good as everyone says it is, and I will die on this hill

At the end of last summer, I decided to Marie Kondo my summer wardrobe, and got rid of everything that didn’t “spark joy” or make me feel good when I was wearing it — and that’s how I came to have almost no summer clothes AT ALL for this year. Because I guess when nothing you own “sparks joy”, then getting rid of it all possibly isn’t the great idea it seemed to be at the time, huh?

“It’ll be fine,” I thought. “We don’t really get a ‘summer’ in Scotland, anyway, so I’ll be able to just keep wearing the same things I wear for the rest of the year.”

Cue two weeks of blazing sunshine, and me wandering around sweltering in my usual “leggings and sweatshirt” combo.

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Anyway, the freak Scottish “heatwave” quickly gave way to the usual torrential rain, but we do have a holiday planned, which meant I basically needed an entire new wardrobe for it: and because I’m currently poorer than a Victorian governess who was accused of flirting with the master of the house and thrown out on the street, I’ve had to turn to Vinted to do it.

Here’s a reminder of what I’ve been up against here:

Bad seller photography on Vinted

I mean… is it a dress? A skirt? A top? It’s hard to tell, because there were no other photos at all – just this dark, blurry one of an object crammed into a bag. So a mystery package, then! Exciting! Only not really, because, my “Victorian governess” financial situation doesn’t allow for any mistakes at all, really, and as you can’t return items on Vinted, you have to be really sure you know what you’re getting, otherwise you just end up paying £50 for five secondhand dresses that don’t fit, rather than £30, say, for a brand new one that does.

Related: 9 Everyday Mysteries That Must Be Solved Immediately

Case in point: last summer I bought a dress for £12 on Vinted, to wear to my brother-in-law’s wedding:

wedding guest outfit for mum and son

It was in pristine condition, AND it fit perfectly, so, I mean, what an absolute bargain, no?

Um, actually, no, not really. Because although that particular dress cost me £12 (Or more like £17 including the postage), what you’re not seeing here is the three other dresses I bought before it, none of which worked out, and all of which I ended up having to give to the charity shop, because I couldn’t re-sell them. (You’re also not seeing the two dresses I bought that didn’t even turn up, because the sellers just didn’t bother to send them. I didn’t see those either, funnily enough.)

So, all-in, I’d say this dress ended up costing me about £50; which, OK, is still a relatively good deal (I think it would’ve been about £65 new), until you consider the hours and hours of time I spent searching for it and the ones that came before it, as well as re-listing the mistakes, and finally driving them to the charity shop.

I… kind of feel like I DIDN’T, in fact, help save the planet with this purchase, then? Or even save much money, now you come to mention it?

But that was just one example. And all of the Fashion Girls on Instagram were RAVING about Vinted, and how they literally won’t shop anywhere else now, so back I went this year, and commenced searching for my new summer wardrobe. And that’s when I remembered how incredibly awkward shopping on Vinted is.

All the ways shopping on Vinted is straight-up awkward:

01. The haggling

You have to be prepared to haggle on Vinted — both as a buyer and as a seller. Don’t ask me why, I don’t make the rules, but if you want to sell something for £10, say, you have to list it for at least £25, and let people think they’ve cleverly beaten you down to the price you actually wanted in the first place. And if you want to buy something that’s priced at £25, you have to be aware that the seller is probably only expecting to get less than half of that for it, and haggle accordingly.

Have I mentioned how much I hate haggling? Do you think the woman who once allowed someone to repeatedly call her “Amanda” rather than politely correcting them would be assertive enough for haggling?

I just want to know what the price is, so I can work out whether I can afford it, then buy it if I can. If only there were places you could do that!

02. When you tap the little heart icon to ‘like’ something, and the seller immediately messages you saying, “R U GOING TO BUY THIS, HUN?”

I recently found out there’s an option in your settings which allows you to like items in secret, and I would very much recommend enabling this in order to avoid the awkwardness of having to explain to someone that you only ‘liked’ their item so you could come back to it later, if you couldn’t find something you liked better. Maybe much later.

(One time I ‘liked’ something, and when the seller messaged me she sounded so nice I ended up buying it even though I didn’t particularly want it just so I didn’t have to disappoint her. Don’t be me, guys.) (Maybe DO be that seller, though, because that’s quite the hussle. Have to respect that.)

Related: 19 Things You’ve Probably Done if You Have Social Anxiety

03. When you work up the courage to try to haggle and the seller instantly rejects your offer

And then you spend ages worrying that you’ve mortally offended them, and you end up not buying the item you were secretly prepared to pay the asking price for, because you’re too embarrassed by the rejection and also now kind of want to punish them for knocking you back…

04. When you finally buy something and it arrives in a Home Bargains carrier bag:

Vintage packaging

Personally I’d have gone with a bag from somewhere like Sainsbury’s or Waitrose, just to be fancy, but still: you have to admire the thriftiness, don’t you?

05. When your item arrives and its been liberally drenched in Febreze.

Which makes you wonder: is it REALLY “brand new without tags”, or is the seller trying to hide something? What happened to you, dress?!

06. When you try on your new purchase and realise that what seemed like a perfectly normal dress from the photos and description actually has two giant slits up the front…

green vinted dress

which means any time you wear it, you’re going to be walking around looking like this:


07. When you realize you can’t send stuff back on Vinted, so you basically just paid £8 to try on someone’s old clothes.


08. When you try to re-sell it, but you can’t…

… because you are literally the only person in the world who was stupid enough to buy an un-branded dress with two giant slits up the front, and now you’re going to have to either keep it forever or drive it to the charity shop. Yay for sustainable fashion!

And, of course, it’s not all bad. I mean, it is mostly bad (in my case, at least), but I’ve had a few success with my summer wardrobe shopping, too – and, OK, the fact that I’ve had to buy at least three things that DIDN’T work out for every one that did means my attempt to be thrifty has almost certainly cost me way more than I’d have spent if I’d just bought everything new. But if I’d done that, I wouldn’t have ALSO got that free Home Bargains carrier bag, so it’s swings and roundabouts really, isn’t it?

So, new summer wardrobe? Not really, no. But at least the next time Marie Kondo tells us to get rid of everything that doesn’t spark joy, I’ll know not to take her quite so literally…


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  • mary


    The haggling, lol. As a general rule, all the people asking me for discounts usually expect a minimum of 40% off, up to a maximum of “gimme 4 free”. And they act offended when I say no.
    When I try to ask for a ‘measly’ (compared to what people ask on average) 5%-10% (usually off an already steep price and I wouldn’t go further than 10% because I’d feel like a Scrooge), at best I don’t receive an answer, at worst I get a dramatic “Gasp! A discount? On my prized no label quite used 25 years old jean, whose only saving grace is that it’s vaguely trendy right now and/or 100% cotton/linen? Never! 35 € + shipping thee must pay!”.
    Of course I’m dramatizing a bit here, but I swear that the things I reeeally want to buy never come cheap and are always in the hands of the least communicative, difficult to-deal-with people. Or end up being bought the exact moment I decide I like them. I’ve lost count of the things I decided to buy (but wanted to think about it some more), that had been there for 1-2-3 years, that literally sold within hours/right the next day. It’s uncanny valley out there.

    July 4, 2023
  • Annija


    Funny, we have a similar service here in Latvia and I’ve dealt with the same issues as you Amber. Being socially awkward person as well and agonizing each time on how to best ask if the item is still available doesn’t help. Three years ago I spent 400 euros on many items as I wanted to spoil myself after having a baby and get a “new” wardrobe, and I also kept like only three or two things. Omg, just went over all the clothes in my head and realised that I only kept 1 thing, that cost 25 euro, and even that one is on the decluttering chopping block. Luckily I like going to the thrift shops, so I can try before buying. Eh, the fashion struggles.

    July 5, 2023