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The online vintage-shopping experience finally hits its stride

Grant Cornett for TIME

If the women of New York City's Madison Avenue or Paris' avenue Montaigne ever create a temple to their fashion gods, they might stock it with clothing from e-commerce site Byronesque. Founder Gill Linton's inventory includes a 1987 Yohji Yamamoto deconstructed top ($1,005) and a 1981 Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren pirate scarf ($2,235). According to Linton, who launched Byronesque in October, sites like Net-a-Porter have conditioned vintage shoppers to expect great things without unnecessary legwork. "Consumers are used to a sophisticated online-shopping environment," she says. "Smelly thrift stores won't do anymore."

Neither will eBay, which works fine for shoppers who...

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