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Etsy Is a Treasure Trove of Vintage L.L. Bean
01.24.19

When Elizabeth Tamkin tells me to check something out on Etsy, be it straw bags or chain belts, I’ve learned to do so immediately and with passionate enthusiasm. Time and time again she has turned me on to a vintage treasure trove I never would have stumbled upon otherwise, so when she mentioned that Etsy has a robust collection of really good, old L.L. Bean stuff — the kind of clothes you fantasize about wearing on a fictional and yet nonetheless fantastic weekend in upstate New York during which activities include sitting by a fire and drinking hot cocoa — I sat bolt upright in my seat.

As Amelia wrote in her story about embracing the utility of winter style, L.L. Bean and its outdoorsy counterparts are having a surprisingly delightful moment in the fashion spotlight du jour: “You’re essentially wearing the exact same thing your mother did while visiting her college roommate in Maine, mid-winter, in the mid 1980s, except your sweater is the ironic, intentionally hip version.”

But just because it’s ironic or intentionally hip doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. Almost all of the aforementioned L.L. Bean stuff on Etsy is under $50 — and Elizabeth curated the best of it in a shopping roundup below. My palms are already sweaty with anticipation.

If Your Sweater Drawer Needs an Update…

If you want to achieve the fair isle sweater look recently popularized by high-end brands like Miu Miu and Tory Burch for a lot less, vintage L.L. Bean on Etsy will be right up your alley. Most of them are made of super thick, cozy wool — perfect for the aforementioned fire-adjacent sitting. To really up the ante, consider swapping out the buttons for something a little more festive (my mom recently sewed sparkly rhinestone buttons onto one of her favorite old fair isle sweaters and gave it a whole new identity).

If You’ve Been Thinking of Getting in on the Fleece Trend…

I’ve been alllllll over the fleece trend, as evidenced by this story, but I didn’t know Etsy had such a slew of great vintage ones from L.L. Bean until now. It’s a particularly excellent resource for the distinctive half-zip silhouette (a few of which, linked above, even hail from the 1980s, thus fully realizing the coveted vibe of a cool dad’s winter uniform).

If You Love Coats With Toggle Closures or Corduroy Collars…

Edith devoted an entire section of her story about coats on The RealReal to outerwear with toggle closures, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them since. For me, they are the ideal manifestation of fashion nostalgia — something that reminds me of an era in my past (in this case, the toggle coat my mom would wear every morning to walk my sisters and me to the bus stop before school in the 90s) but hasn’t been overly re-saturated by the voracious trend machine that is Instagram in 2019 (yet). In addition to lots of toggles, the Etsy x L.L. Bean collective is also chock full of another classic look: canvas coats with corduroy collars, ready and waiting to be layered over cozy sweaters and dispatched into farmer’s markets.

If You Want a Little of Everything…

Vintage bean boots! A big-ass blanket you could wear as a scarf! Flannel-lined jeans! The delights are endless. Is there any other trend, Etsy keyword search or general shopping topic you’d like Elizabeth to tackle next? Tell us in the comments.

Photo of Jada-Renee by Tory Rust

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