So I used to be obsessed with clothes swaps (and still lowkey kinda am), but Covid put a massive damper on that. Gone were the days of piles and piles of perfectly good clothes (lots with tags still on them) at expat bars. You could walk out with a new wardrobe for the cost of a mimosa and an eggs benedict, I swear to God.
Can we have small scale ones at least somewhere? Like even a drop off and make an appointment to scour through provided you really get a big meal at a restaurant (as they’re struggling too)? I don’t know, I’m just thinking outside the box here.
Well, what do you do after? Sure, there would always be the low key trading clothes with friends, but let’s be honest: most of us all have different shapes. It was much easier to find what was meant for you in a pile on a bar table away from a bacon double cheeseburger. Also, with friends, the clothes dwindle down, since you only have so much.
And back I was at a handful of stores that actually fit me. Another H&M haul, a quick bag at 6ixty 8ight, and the occasional splurge at Zara. Not bad for some things, but my wardrobe was missing some magic. Also, full disclaimer: I totally have no idea if I have any style or if I’m just consistently dressing in the dark. Have I ever matched? I stopped caring a long time ago and just let my freak flag fly.
But one day, good old Zucks used his spying magic on my Instagram feed, and realizing that I was candle obsessed, he thought, “I’ll bet you anything this little Becky would squee over clothes that once belonged to the homeless and now deceased.” And he was not wrong.
So, for today’s post, I’m going to focus on three places, two of which are actual Instagram shops/accounts. I personally love Instagram shops because I do very well with hiding away from Korean banks and trying to play charades with Korean Internet banking. No thanks! American internet woo is enough anxiety for me! So, Korea has this magic thing where you can just pay for lots of things with an ATM transfer, and by heavens, it’s my saving grace. That’s how I bought the clothes from the Instagram sites. You might be wondering, “How do you know that isn’t some kind of scam?” Excellent question. Honest answer? I’ve become very trusting over various things since living in Korea. I also order my candles this way (check out this post!), and whenever I ordered something in Korea via Instagram, it has always been super efficient and handled appropriately.
My last place might be a big womp womp for you. A Vin Prime. Really? Should I also have rambled on about all the times I got stuck waiting at the DMW as well? You might be thinking I’m just fishing for content at this point, but please, give me a chance. I have a lot of good reasons for this. Also, I found a Goodwill once in Suwon and it was a hard pass, so Vin Prime (the right one, the magic one, the one I will disclose to you) could be your saving grace.
Let’s start with Mimi Vintage 2. I have a massive girl crush on her, and as soon as Zuck threw her on my feed, hook, line, and sinker I was losing cash and making multiple runs to my local ATM. She has close to 5k followers now, but when I first found her, she had like 2k. She has excellent customer service, and I would do anything for her to open an actual shop, even if it’s a pop-up one. Recently, I haven’t had too many purchases, because most of the things I fall in love with are already sold out. Things tend to sell out quickly here these days. That’s okay. You can still find some great things too. Also, a lot of the vintage is western, so I’m not even going to try and say “hey! There’s some plus sized items (which would be really cool if there were!)!” but the sizes do differ and there is a little bit of size diversity. Also, you can totally just send a DM in English about sizes, pricing, etc. This woman has been super awesome with helping me pick items that fit my dimensions. Here’s my dorky Mimi Vintage 2 haul.
Also, I’ve never mastered the art of having an Instagram Photography friend or casually looking sultry against some brick wall. These are totally amateur pictures taken with a tripod that still doesn’t really encapsulate the fact that I’m 5’8″ in South Korea. I have no idea what I’m doing when I’m taking pictures, I don’t know how to edit other than crop, push “auto”, and if I really feel like living large that day, I can push a “warm” or “cool” filter and feel like I totally nailed it.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: that one picture with me in the red dress and Hunter’s true personality should definitely go on a Christmas card. No, he is not a demon (I checked). He just has a strange backstory and a lot of character depth. I just accept him for who he is.
Moving onwards. A few months ago, I had a sit down talk with myself that three vintage cardigans were enough. I already live in a little box, and I have a mildly impressive scarf collection. Therefore, three wintry vintage cardigans are more than enough. I demonstrated excellent self-control, so I went to treat myself to two double cheeseburgers.
I wasn’t looking for a new Instagram Vintage shop, I really wasn’t. It was Zuck’s will. He has this account pop up at his will and choosing. It was a real underdog, and I love an underdog account so I don’t have to feel anxiety over if the thing that I don’t even know that will fit or look good on me. I get to be the first. I love this feeling. When I first followed Jerico77.7, there were only like 200 followers (it’s growing), and it’s just a hidden gem. I found some incredible things on here, at honestly about half the price of what I was expecting. She even has sales! Her customer service is also fantastic, and she’s just a real cheerleader. I also have a massive girl crush on her. The thing with Korea is that stores love the concept of “Service”, which I also love, so I once got a free Strabucks drink from buying so much from Mimi Vintage 2 and Jerico sent me an adorable lightweight black and white patterned scarf as a thank you. These companies are so appreciative. It will definitely keep me coming back in the future for sure.
Also, real quick: I want to brag that I got that Levi’s denim jacket on SALE for about $20. That is all.
So, I never really thought I would get into vintage things because I just kinda throw things together and hope it works? Do I dress in the dark? Can my style be described as “aspiring Disney actor/actress from the early 2000’s”? Questions. Questions. I’ve never thought I’d had that artsy ability to look all vintage and polished and cool and trendy. But here we are.
I want you to hear my case on Vin Prime. For those of you who don’t know, Vin Prime is a second hand/ vintage store. It’s like your Salvation Army, only I don’t think this chain has any bad PR (feel free to correct me otherwise). Yes, many Vin Primes are horrifying. I even have a conspiracy that cult recruiters hide in the racks with their free wet tissues. BUT BUT BUT I have had the BEST luck at the GANGNAM location. It’s Vin Prime royalty over there. So, in Gangnam station, there are actually two. There’s one on the Gangnam station side (line 2) and then there is one when you go to the Shinbundang line (the red line). You might be lucky (I have not I’m just one person with an opinion), but you should really just focus on the Gangnam one. How to find it? It’s between exit 3 and 4, walk all the way straight down. It’s a bit away from the official underground mall. Another decent one is at Express Bus Terminal. Again, these are just my perspectives. Feel free to share another good one if you know of one! I’d love to check yours out!
I have more pieces of this place than photos, but just let me be lazy on here. Also, outstanding scarf collection there. Kudos.
What got me hooked on this store (which is why I have forbidden myself from attending for a few months), is their sales. They have this thing over the summer where like 8374973974982789378997489274728937947 (really, really cute) sundresses are 5,000 won. Many still have tags on, people! In winter, the vintage cardigans won me over. Also, the chain loves scarves, so it is super easy to find a good one. For skirts, it’s just not for me. Mini skirts, tights, and thigh highs when I can are the way to go, but I’ve literally only found two mini skirts the entire time I’ve been there. You can expect all sorts of brands, too. I’ve seen various Korean and Japanese, Bershka, Zara, Forever 21, and Banana Republic.
Fun story that deserves it’s own paragraph: Because my friends and I swap clothes so often, a friend bought a dress from Banana Republic. A nice business dress, good for being an adult and doing professional things. She paid 5,000 won for it, so basically a little less than $5. While they have dressing rooms there (YES YES YES! Lots of little Korean stores don’t let you try things on.), I guess she just didn’t want to? Anyway, the dress didn’t fit her and she gave it to me. Aw yeah! I could always go for something nice and professional. I go to try it on and it fits great. It has the Korean price tag on it. It was 220,000 won, around $200 USD. WIN.
I could go on about fast fashion and how you will go to the really hot place once your life is over if you still really like Forever 21 and buy from them online. But guess what? It’s gonna be okay. I still shop some fast fashion, and what I do now is I collect all my old raggedy clothes that I can’t donate (bras, holey socks, etc.) and I bring them into H&M. Any H&M will do. No, the items do not need to be from H&M. They give me a coupon for 5,000 won, and as long as you reach 40,000 won, (Discounted items count. Yes!), you get 5,000 off your purchase. As someone who is a size 9 shoe and likes the underwear there, this is perfect.
But basically, here’s just some second-hand stuff I got really into. You don’t need a lot of money to do it. Seriously, check out Vin Prime in Gangnam. This is great if you’re on a budget. Let’s do brunch and I’ll go with you. If you like any physical stores or know of any other sites here, please feel free and share on. I love learning about new places. Happy shopping. 🙂
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