Vintage or Nothing: 4 Summer Styles You Can (and Should) Buy Secondhand

As fashion editors, it’s our job to cover all things cutting-edge and new, but if you talk to anyone on our team, you’ll see that our love for vintage runs deep. The mere word sparks immediate excitement on Slack, in our meetings, and at our happy hours together. Whether it’s a favorite hidden vintage store, a designer piece we scored at a flea market in Paris, a cool Instagram account we love, or a unique piece we cherish in our wardrobe, everyone seems to have a story or connection to a vintage or thrifted piece they own.

There is, of course, nothing quite like the thrill of finding a one-of-a-kind piece that you know no one else will be wearing. Not only does shopping vintage maintain individualism and encourage expression, but it also offers more access to designer heritage brands (hello, Prada, Chanel, and Dior!), favors quality over quantity, and encourages sustainability.

With this in mind, we’re excited to share our first installment of Vintage or Nothing. Each month, we’ll comb through our favorite retailers and vintage brands to share the best vintage buys. Summer is at the forefront of our minds, so below, you’ll find four of-the-moment aesthetics that you can and should buy vintage. From the colorful and retro prints of Palm Royale’s ’60s style to the delicate sheer fabrics dominating the season, get inspired by the mood boards below and shop our edit of cool-girl vintage treasures that would make a special addition to your summer wardrobe.

Women in sheer summer outfits.

The momentum for all things sheer isn’t slowing down any time soon. We saw a whole host of ethereal dresses and skirts in white, pastels, and gray float across the spring/summer runways from the likes of Prada, Givenchy, and Coperni, to name but a few. If you’re shopping for the trend, then there are plenty of vintage options to suit your style. Whether you opt for romantic lace dresses, delicate organza blouses, or minimal ’90s slip skirts, they’re the perfect option for the sun-drenched days ahead.

Shop vintage sheer pieces:

Women in '60s summer fashion.

(Image credit: Etsy; Apple TV+; Slim Aarons/Getty Images)

From the 1960s-inspired minidresses we saw dominate on the spring/summer 2024 runways to the sherbet-colored world of Apple TV+’s Palm Royale, there is no doubt that the 1960s are having a major moment in fashion right now. Summer is the perfect time to lean into the colorful and captivating decade. Whether you get yourself a vintage floral Lilly Pulitzer shift dress, a caftan swirled in marbly prints, an iconic Pucci print scarf, or ’60s statement sunglasses, there are plenty of chic ways to add the bold and vibrant styles to your summer wardrobe. We are all about emulating Maxine Dellacorte’s wardrobe for our upcoming summer vacations.

Shop vintage Palm Royale style:

Images of vintage tennis style.

Launched back into the mainstream by Zendaya’s iconic Challengers press tour wardrobe, the tenniscore aesthetic is taking the spotlight this season. Tennis is a sport that has been long adored by fashion, and its enduring appeal isn’t to be underestimated. With its elegant, refined, and well-moneyed connotations, it has always had a strong hold on those looking for a chic yet sporty summer vibe. Whether you’re serving looks on or off the court, lean into the preppy and retro athletic attire—think vintage tennis dresses, polos, and pleated skirts—and look for heritage brands such as Fila, Wilson, Sergio Tacchini, Lacoste, and Nike that are perfect for a “country-club chic” look.

Shop vintage tennis pieces:

'90s minimalist looks

Our love for ’90s fashion knows no bounds here at Who What Wear, which is why we were all ecstatic when we saw a whole host of ’90s minimalism–inspired silhouettes and styles all over the recent runways, from column skirts and gray tailoring to relaxed straight-leg jeans, slip dresses, and boatneck silhouettes. Designers such as Proenza Schouler, Gucci, and Staud brought fresh iterations to these silhouettes. There’s no doubt we’re constantly looking back to the ’90s runways for inspiration (Calvin Klein S/S 99 and Prada S/S 95 are some of our favorites), as they serve as good starting points when looking for the perfect pieces to add to your forever wardrobe.