We’ve all seen those amazing thrift hauls on YouTube and Instagram and been immediately inspired to hit up our local thrift stores. After watching someone else’s haul, you’ve got hopes of finding a coveted pair of orange label Levi’s (or whatever you’ve been coveting. You do you, boo.), only to be disappointed with the selection of items available — very, very disappointed.
But what if we told you that you don’t have to spend hours and hours sifting through racks upon racks of clothing to find what you’re after? Online secondhand shopping is a thing, y’all, and it’s so much easier to navigate than your local thrift store.
We’ve rounded up our 8 smart tips for secondhand shopping online so that you can score thrifted gems every time!
1. Choose your store (carefully)!
Are you looking for luxury or are you looking for more budget-friendly brands? Vintage or contemporary? Something in between? Narrowing in on what exactly you’re looking for and choosing an online shop that reflects your needs will set a foundation for success.
There are so many great sites to shop secondhand online. We love: ThredUp, The RealReal, Poshmark, Etsy, rose girls, Depop, sororité, VSP Consignment, and the Vestiaire Collective.
Looking to spend a little bit more on a designer piece? Choose a shop that employs a team of experts to authenticate its luxury items. While you’re at it, make sure to check out each shop’s shipping and return policies. You know, just in case.
2. Make a list
…but don’t restrict yourself to it. Identifying gaps in your wardrobe and making a list will help you focus, but sometimes you’ll stumble upon a wonderful something that you didn’t know you needed. And that’s totally okay, too!
3. Look for brands you already love
In case you didn’t know, a lot of the brands you already shop from can be found secondhand online.
Looking for and purchasing familiar brands takes the guesswork out of online shopping because you already know the quality of the clothing and the brands unique sizing. Easy peasy.
4. Know your measurements
Are you looking to explore vintage or brands that you may not already wear? Well, you’re going to need to know your measurements for that. We’re not tailors, but you can find a comprehensive guide to figuring that out on websites like The Chic Fashionista. Once you’re armed with that knowledge, make sure to check your measurements against the measurements of each item you’re considering to ensure a great fit!
5. Take advantage of each online store’s search filters
Searching specifically for a red midi dress from Reformation? Same, girl. We recommend using your favourite online secondhand store’s filters (clothing type, colour, size, etc.) to find exactly what you’re looking for in under a minute. Bet you can’t do that at your local thrift store!
6. Put it all into your virtual cart
Do a quick scan of items available and (virtually) grab everything that catches your attention, even if you’re not sure about it — this is especially important when shopping from online stores that reserve your items for a specified period of time. Your first look through is not the time for making final cuts. If you don’t grab it when you first see it, there’s a chance someone else will snag it from right under you.
7. Always double check
Enlarge the photos of the item and scrutinize them. Read and reread the description of the item. And then do it again. You don’t want to be surprised when your secondhand item arrives and it’s not in the like-new condition you envisioned it in.
8. Don’t buy it just because it’s cheap
For the love of all things thrift, don’t buy something just because it’s cheap! When you buy something you’re not one hundred percent into, you risk filling up your closet space with items you don’t end up wearing. Not to mention, you could be taking away the opportunity for someone else to love that piece to death. Just let them have it.
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