How to Shop Vintage: Understanding Condition Types & Abbreviations

understanding vintage thrift shopping codes abbreviations and conditions

If you are new to shopping vintage, preloved, and thrifted items, you may be confused at some of the lingo used in item descriptions and listing. These abbreviations are used as a sort of universal guide for the buyer since items may come in various conditions. We have put together a guide on the most common abbreviations used among the resell community. 

Please keep in mind that these are general guidelines and clarification should be sought with a seller when you are confused or unsure about an item’s condition. Sellers employing honest practices are more than willing to answer questions. 


A very straight forward code, NWT stands for “New With Tags.” Sellers advertising items as NWT guarantee that original tagging is in place for an item.


NWOT stands for “New Without Tags.” Items listed as NWOT are new and never worn, but the tag is no longer in place. This usually occurs when a seller may have planned on wearing an item, an item no longer fits before it has been worn, etc. 

Very Good

In terms of clothing, ‘very good’ asserts that although an item has been worn, it is still in great condition. It may display some small signs of wear such as a few loose threads, a small spot, etc. 


Items listed as ‘good’ may show visible signs of wear, but are generally still in good condition. Clothing listed as good may have some stretching, loose threading, a missing button, etc. Clothes listed as good are the perfect canvas to experiment with different styles. For instance, jeans in good condition can be distressed or cut to make shorts.


You may run across sellers advertising items as ‘unusable’ or ‘acceptable’. This is in reference to their original states. For example, a purse may be old and worn, but its fabric or parts can be used in different ways. This can also apply to old electronics, household items, etc. With items such as these, the possibilities are endless. Old clothing can be taken apart and resewn together, fabrics can be used in quilt projects, and so on.

It is important to remember that the ultimate goal of thrifting, secondhand, and shopping vintage is to support sustainability. Reusing and recycling reduces the environmental impact that fashion industry manufacturing has on our planet. It also encourages us to be conscious of the care we take of our clothing and possessions so that we can pass along items in our own closets.

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