What does geography have to do with style preferences? A lot, according to a new report by vintage reseller-turned-online fashion destination Nasty Gal. The retailer found that a consumer’s favorite era of fashion is linked to the U.S. state they live in.
Nasty Gal’s map reveals a country divided by decades, with West Virginia and Alaska referencing the ’50s style, California and Georgia exploring the ’60s and Michigan and Kentucky reliving the ’70s.
However, Y2K—the early 2000s period of fashion defined by low-rise jeans, miniskirts and bling-embellished accessories—is the most-searched vintage fashion era in the U.S., trending in 21 states including New York, Texas and Washington.
The data collected for the report was based on search volume for different thrift shops including Vinted, Depop, eBay, and Vestiaire, and the search terms “thrift stores” and “vintage shops.” This allowed Nasty Gal to see which states were creating the most demand via search. The company also looked at the number of thrift and vintage stores within the most populated city of each state.
Y2K’s rise in popularity was evident on the Fall/Winter 22-23 catwalk. The theme was ranked No. 3 on Tagwalk’s list of global trends for F/W 22-23. The fashion search platform used the tag “2000s” for 336 looks, including Y2K crop tops by Aniye Records, Collina Strada’s bodycon dresses and Marine Serre’s take on the “Penny Lane” coat, which belongs to both the ’70s and ’00s.
Fashion from the ’90s, characterized by platform footwear, authentic denim and nylon, was the second most popular vintage fashion era, favored in eight states including Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The still relevant shell suits and high-waisted jeans of the ’80s made it the third favorite fashion era in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana and Delaware.
The mainstreaming of thrift shopping has been one positive outcome of the pandemic. While designers promised smaller collections and more sustainable production methods in early 2020, consumers have taken sustainability into their own hands by donating unwanted clothing and shopping secondhand through various methods, including resale schemes launched by labels like Madewell and Levi’s.
In 2020, 33 million Americans snapped up secondhand apparel for the first time. Over the next five years, resale is poised to double to $77 billion, according to 2021 report by online secondhand platform, ThredUp.
Nasty Gal reported that online searches for “vintage clothing stores” have increased by more than 400 percent over the past year in the U.S. “It’s clear to see shoppers are lapping up this trend as they scour thrift stores for unique pieces,” the report stated.
But when it comes to shopping for vintage, all states were not made equally.
By combining the number of vintage stores along with search demand, Nasty Gal named New York the top U.S. vintage hotspots. The state’s most populated city, New York City, is home to 239 thrift stores and over 11,606 (for every 100,000) New Yorkers searched for popular pre-owned clothing sites.
Oregon was named the second thriftiest state with 240 thrift stores in the most populated city, Portland, and over one in 10 people searching for popular thrift apps.
At No. 3, California’s most populous city Los Angeles is home to 240 thrift stores. “The true beauty of thrifting in California? Not only will you stumble across ultra-stylish pieces and designer discounts, but some items may also even have been previously owned by a celeb,” Nasty Gal stated.
Nearly four in 10 people in No. 5 Wyoming searched for ‘eBay’ last year, the highest search volume of all 50 U.S. states, Nasty Gal reported. Wyomingites were also the top searchers for ‘thrift shop.’
Massachusetts had the fifth-highest average search volume for “thrift shop.” The state’s most populated city, Boston, is home to 129 thrift stores.
Illinois, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Vermont, Florida, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Nevada, Virginia, New Jersey, Connecticut, North Carolina, Maryland, Hawaii and Texas rounded out the top 20 list of vintage hotspots.