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Etsy Treasure Trove

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When I shop on Etsy, these are my top finds.

1. Colorblocked

Look for colorblocked pieces without using that particular search term -- it’s a little too precise for people who aren’t fashion mavens. Instead, I search for the primary colors in my garment that I am looking for -- I’m a big fan of purple and of bright pink, too, so those are my colorblock faves. I usually search for “solid + [color]” and “geometric + [color]” to kick my search off right, expanding later to the accessories after I’ve exhausted my dresses option. Tip: Look for primary-color colorblocked dresses shift dresses for a great ‘60s vibe.

2. Surprising Vintage

Get a textile book, and start looking up the names of cool old designers -- preferably the “forgotten” ones that are usually mentioned in articles. This is the fun part -- you will, if you’re lucky, find yards of fabrics from designers who were at least famous, or (in my lucky case) even have work on display at textile and historical museums. I’ve really lucked out with this technique.

3. Cheap Sets

To have a cheetah belt is good; to have a matching cheetah belt and shoes, divine. There’s something about a well-priced set that propels your wardrobe to the next stratosphere. You’ll look more sophisticated, more put-together, more everything if you employ some matching. You can also pull together an otherwise insane outfit. I use this trick regularly, especially when I am pressed for time. Tip: Look for zebra pattern as an additional cool animal print option.

4. Amazing Leathers

If you don’t balk at lizard heels, then you will adore searching on Etsy. You will find peep toes with fine leather soles, stunning oxfords with contrasting sides and toes, and cuban heels from a bygone age. There will be croc and alligator skins, ostrich, too -- and for a song. Yeah, vegans need not apply for all of these options. Tip: If you’re a vegan, but you get leather-look shoes, get embossed shoes for a little added texture.

5. Cloaks and Capes

Have I been watching too much Sherlock Holmes? Maybe, but nothing beats the drama of a swirling cape. I’ve found a few in black velvet that are particularly dramatic, and other short ones in suede -- like a capelet. I found another in braided material, sewed together, that made up a mini-cape in dusty blue-grey. Totally gorgeous and absolutely something I wanted to make (and never been). Tip: Pay attention to the different names of a cape -- like cape, cloak, capelet, and shrug.

6. Jewelry Matchy-Matchy Finds

Brooch, earrings, and a necklace... jewelry sets are just what we like at good prices. I like to buy cool sterling silver brooches and turn them into rings with the help of my great jeweler -- and you can try a similar look of your own. I love buying jewelry lots and playing around with them to see what cool looks I can create. Tip: Get sterling silver lots for maximum versatility -- and not things with pointy edges, because they won’t work well when made into rings and things. Use your judgment.

7. Deadstock Shoes

Vintage shoes that were never scuffed up on bottom or that weren’t even taken out of the box? That’s what I have found on Etsy, multiple times. Deadstock platforms are my weakness, but you might not be into galoshes, chunky heels, lace-up oxfords, or peep-toes. Whatever you’re after, you’ll find it in the shoes world. Tip: Make sure you measure your shoes instead of going by the number.

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