This is part of a series on successfully navigating the world of secondhand style. Stop over here to get started and see the rest of the series.
Secondhand Shopping Options
In today’s shopping market that offers myriad options for brick-and-mortar as well as online shopping, secondhand style has followed suit. Some stores stick to brick-and-mortar, but if you don’t live near your favorite secondhand shops, the Internet hosts a plethora of options as well.
Below, I’ve included some of the best options I’ve found as well some information about each of the sites. I’ve noted whether the stores sell designer or everyday brands, if they have a charitable component to their business model, and whether they use consignment or resale models (or a hybrid). Not sure of the difference between thrift, consignment and resale? This should help!
The Real Real
An online daily deal sites, The Real Real offers curated sales of luxury consigned goods that last for a few days focused on a particular brand, genre or style, designer, season, etc.. This site sells primarily high end designer wares, so be ready to pay up. Surely the prices will pale in comparison to buying the items brand new, but they still aren’t cheap. Dedicated secondhand luxury shoppers can pay $5 per month to gain access to sales 24 hours before regular members. If you have high end goods you’re ready to part with, you can also head over to the site for more information about consigning what’s in your closet. (Referral Link)
Luxury Garage Sale
This local, Chicago-based shop has a brick-and-mortar store as well as pop up shops around the country. But they also have an online inventory of their high end goods curated from some fashionistas who love great designer products!
Walk In My Closet
This international consignment option really focuses on higher end brands, so while still being secondhand, items are pretty pricey. At the time I wrote this, they weren’t accepting new items for sale. But I suppose that means they have a pretty full closet of great finds for purchase. I’m new to this option, so I’m exploring and learning with you!
Love That Closet
This Canadian-based consignment outlet stands out from the crowd due to their practice of having sellers donate 5% of their proceeds from sale of goods to a charity of their choice. Stop on over to read more about the company and see what they have for sale.
Portero & Circa
Serious luxury can be found on this site! I haven’t ever purchased anything from here. It’s WAY out of my price range. But for those who like to spoil themselves with some major designer items, I’ve included this for you. The two sister companies sell handbags, watches, and jewelry. Beware, this is not thrifting! Ha.
Designer, Resale, Charitable
A secondhand charitable organization, this company has become a force in the fashion industry as a seller of premium secondhand goods. As expected,the designer tags don’t come free. But at a significant discount to the brand spankin’ new price tag, you can choose the charity to which you’d like your proceeds to be donated from their very long list of charity partners. That you have a direct say in who benefits from your purchase seems pretty awesome. You can be a double conscious consumer buying secondhand and benefiting a charitable organization with your purchase. Sounds like a win all around and the video can tell you more!
Designer, Everyday, Resale, Charitable
Everything from this charitable online retailer costs $15. Every.single.item. The company purchases new items direct from retailers after season (so not everything is secondhand) and collects donations of slightly used items as well. A portion of the sales support disaster relief efforts for various projects depending on where the current need is. The company also has a loyalty program through which you can earn points for future purchases. I bought this mod blue dress from here, new with tags.
Designer, Everyday, Resale, Consignment
This site combines resale and consignment. Sellers send in clothing and, depending on the anticipated resale price, items are marked for immediate payout or posted on consignment. The more expensive items typically are consigned and offer far greater payout ratios, if sold.
I’ve had decent luck with this site. I’ve used it both as a seller and a buyer.
As a buyer, I received generally what I expected. They provide high quality photos that are true to condition. They offer transparency about small flaws. And they have a ton of filters for everything types of product and details about the product (like necklines for sweaters, lengths for dresses, etc..), sizing, color, brand, etc.. I really like the filters! Finding great products in a secondhand store is already like finding a needle in a haystack, and when that process is taken online it can make one’s head spin. They have made the search process very very and effective. Further, they have separated their higher end brands into the X Collection, which is a fantastic way to filter for quality of brands and price without having to filter individual brand by brand. (Use this referral link for $10 off your first purchase.)
My only hesitation about this site relates to their limited information about sizing. They offer a “size equivalent” feature but it’s not all that helpful. Especially when buying secondhand, it seems so important to try things on. I NEVER buy something in a thrift store without trying it on, no matter what the tag says. I think they could offer more information about the product, like measurements of widths and lengths, to provide more clarity on sizing and help bridge the gap of uncertainty when shopping online to prevent surprises about fit upon receipt. I generally only buy products from this site either from very familiar brands whose sizing I generally know or items where exact fit isn’t necessarily imperative to loving the item.
As a seller, I thought I received a fair payout for my items. Given the simplicity of tossing all my items in a pre-paid shipping bag (easier than dropping things off at a thrift shop), it all seemed quite fair.
The turn around time for receipt and review of my bag took a very long time! I believe I sent the bag in before Thanksgiving and heard back about review of the contents just after the new year (about 6-8 weeks). I received several apologetic emails throughout the process acknowledging the delay in processing, which I appreciated (as I started to wonder after some time if my bag had gotten lost in the mail). They affirmed they intended to hire more people, so this could be a function of their rapid growth that will be resolved in time. But know that if you do plan to sell through their site, you’ll have to be patient.
Designer, Everyday, Consignment
This online consignment shop offers quite a different experience from the two previously mentioned options. It’s a bit more of a community and transactions feel more direct. Each user generates their own closet. So if you found one thing you like, you could see all the other things that same person has offered for sale. This actually seems like a pretty interesting feature if you find someone who’s the same size as you and has similar style.
Because it’s consignment, the selling process dictates the buying process more than in a resale environment, so let’s start there. As a seller, the site allows you send in products for posting by their professional team, similar to the aforementioned options. This is called Full Service. The team sets a price, posts the products, and does all the heavy lifting for you.
Alternatively, a sellers can also post the product to their closet themselves, taking their own photos, setting their own price, etc… This results in more work for the seller but for those sellers not as experienced in the process, it generally leads to lower quality photos and, I presume, fewer interested buyers. This combination of professionally and personally curated closets creates a wide range of images and product information. But it also allows the seller to earn a bit more on their potential sale because, as you’d expect, the Full Service offering costs a bit more to process and leaves less money for the original owner of the product.
As a buyer, you’ll still find high quality products. The site does limit products to only qualifying brands. They have the same great filter functions and product descriptions as Twice. One thing largely different from the resale shops, however, is the fluctuating pricing. Patience can pay (if no one else buys the product). If a buyer marks a product as a favorite (with their little heart icon), they will receive email updates when prices drop. Not only do prices automatically drop over time for unsold products, but individual sellers can change pricing as they see fit.
More than the resale shops, this site is an active market of buyers and sellers making it more personal and interactive but also subject to greater variability in quality and pricing of items. (Use this referral link to get $5 off your first order.)
Designer, Everyday, Consignment, Social
This consignment site is even more of an open market than Threadflip. All items are uploaded directly by sellers and the market for buying and selling ensues. The site hosts “parties” that focus on certain types of products or brands and sellers can have their products included in those parties. Users can also share items and gain followers so any new items you post are automatically shared with others who’ve already decided they like your style and might like your items. Contrary to the resale sites above, this option is much more interactive and more like a social media community.
Items sold on this site will run the gamut in terms of quality and brands, just like the community of people who post to the site. So you can likely find a wide range of pieces. But the site does offer search and filter functions to help you narrow down and find the perfect item on your wishlist.
The site also offers a guide to help users navigate the entire process. I haven’t yet used this site yet, but I know several others who have and had great success with it. Erin, from Loop Looks, has used both Poshmark and ThredUP and wrote a great comparison review you can check out for more detailed information about how the two experiences compare.
Designer, Everyday, Consignment, Social
This very unique secondhand style options let you walk inside the closets of some of your favorite bloggers. With sellers limited only to bloggers through an application process, you can shop directly some of the pieces you’ve seen and loved on bloggers you’ve followed. I think this is such a unique idea! You’ve likely seen the blogger wear the piece, so it comes with built-in styling tips. Beyond the traditional buying and selling of secondhand items, this feels a bit more intimate. Your piece almost comes with a personality you’ve grown to love.
Consignment, resale, and thrift stores abound in just about any neighborhood throughout the country (and I suspect around the world in various fashions, but I’m no expert on that). Unfortunately, I don’t have a great option for finding local consignment shops aside from using old fashioned tools like your eyes and word-of-mouth. You can look them up online too, but I don’t always have the greatest of luck finding them all. I’ve searched on sites like Yelp and recognize that many about which I know from passing them on the street or hearing from friends aren’t listed. So I use online searching to add to my list, but acknowledge it’s not a complete resource. (Know though that I’ll be searching and will update here if I find anything better.)
Some dedicated thrifter, however, has taken the time to compile a growing list of thrift stores across the country at The Thrift Shopper site. I compared the list the site offered to those I already knew in my area and found it to be pretty complete, at least with respect to my familiarity. So definitely pop on over and check this out if you’re searching for places in your area.
To get you started, you can always search the websites for store locations of these national and regional chain thrift shops:
Unique (IL, OH)
Unique (CO, KY, MD, MN, MO, VA, NY, NJ)
Volunteers of America
The Salvation Army
In summary, this should be a pretty good starting point to help you find some secondhand styles that you love no matter your price point, tastes, or preferred method of shopping! Now head back to read the rest of the series and find out where you can reach me if you have any questions. I’m always happy to help and love hearing from readers!