Who else is a fan of shopping secondhand?
I love it for several reasons: Not only is it easier on the wallet than regular retail, buying used clothing is also kind to the environment and a fun way to spruce up the wardrobe. There’s also the satisfaction of finding a unicorn, that unique and special item that might become the piece de resistance of your wardrobe. Whether searching for something you’ve had your eye or mind on for awhile or coming across it while casually browsing, when it hits your closet, it’s kind of like placing that last piece in a puzzle.
Secondhand buying and selling online seems to be just as common and accessible as thrifting and consigning at brick-and-mortar shops — perhaps more so since Covid, and maybe even better. You can browse an endless selection from sellers everywhere, all from the convenience of your computer and the comfort of your couch. It also lets you be more deliberate about your shopping: If you know what you want, whether a general idea (ie, black wide leg jeans) or a specific brand and name (ie, Frame Le Baggy Palazzo), you can search for that very specific item — and very often find it.
You may already be aware of some of these ways to secondhand shop online, but hopefully this little round-up of my favorites offer some fresh insight and maybe even an introduction to something new. Happy Seconds!
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Warning: This hub for secondhand shopping can really suck you in! Poshmark calls itself a “social marketplace,” connecting buyers and sellers, so you can browse and buy an enormous inventory of apparel, accessories, and home decor from other Poshmark users. Plus, you can sell your own items, too. As a buyer, it’s easy and fun to look for things, whether you have something specific in mind or are just doing some “window” shopping. Filters let you search by item type, brand, size, and more options, displaying pieces from other others’ “closets” that fit your criteria. If you like a user’s style, you can follow them to get their closet updates in your feed. A great feature: If you like an item but don’t want to pay the listed price, you can make an offer on it to the seller — they can accept or counter — and it’s often possible to score a really great deal and item. As a seller, you create your own closet or boutique for others to shop. It involves a bit of time uploading photos and creating listings, but you have control over pricing, sharing listings, and making special offers to followers and likers. Poshmark also makes shipping easier by sending pre-paid labels, the cost figured into their commission. There are also opportunities to join shopping parties that might focus on one brand or a certain style.
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The online consignment store is a great place to find used clothing and accessories — and easily get them off your hands. There is what seems to be an endless amount of women’s and kids items to shop, from everyday to premium designer brands. You can modify searches to look for specific types of pieces or browse more generally. Just about all of the merchandise for sale has been sent in by people who no longer want it. The main distinction of ThredUp is that they do the selling work for you (for a $14.99 fee). They facilitate consigning by sending a Clean Out Kit ($2.99), a very large bag to fill up with items you hope to consign, or emailing a free shipping label to use on your own packaging. They will pay you for sales of items they decide to keep — they say it’s generally about 40% of what you send — and do the work of adding it all to their website. While the payouts aren’t a lot, they do add up, and you can use the earnings toward your purchases or cash out. What they don’t accept can be returned for a fee or recycled.
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If it’s luxury you’re looking for (or trying to unload), this is your website. Another online consignment option, The RealReal only sells clothes and accessories from higher end designers and brands. Vince, Ulla Johnson, Torey Birch, and the like are common names you’ll see… Prada, Gucci, Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana will pop up, too. And you can score some very good deals on all of them. Filters aren’t as specific as some of the other sites, so browsing can require some extra patience, but it’s worth it when you find that extra special piece. And just like ThredUp, they do the consigning work for you: You can ship your items, have them picked up (where available), or even drop them off to a local TRR representative. Then a team of experts on their end will check the authenticity and get everything photographed and listed on the website. Sales payments can be made via direct deposit or check, or you can earn an extra 5% by keeping it within TRR for your own shopping.
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The original website for buying and selling from other people is still a boon for finding and unloading secondhand and even brand new… everything. There really is no limit to the kinds of items available on eBay. As far as fashion goes, you often can score good deals on premium brands and sometimes find items that are sold out in stores. I’ve bought unused Birkenstocks, lululemon tights, and other wardrobe staples for much less than I would have paid in store. When eBay launched, it was known for its online auction, with buyers bidding on items, and that element still exists — and can be kind of fun. While some things are listed as up for bid, more are sold with a “Buy It Now” price and many with a listed price or “Best Offer.” Like other secondhand sites, you can search specifically or do a more general browse. Either way, expect a lot of results!
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When I first started using Facebook’s space for buying and selling from/to other users, it was mostly home items and always local — giving away an old sofa to whomever could remove it from our house or buying an Ikea dresser from someone five minutes away. Then, Facebook’s marketing tool kicked in, and they started letting me know about “picks for you” that led me to realize there were all kinds of goods to shop through the Marketplace from people all over. Furniture, art, bikes, electronics, home decor, clothes… just about anything, really. Even better, a lot of it is good quality at good prices. While there aren’t as many filters to shop specifically for items like some of the other websites mentioned here, you can narrow down a bit depending on the category. You can also search within a certain distance if you’re hoping to score an item close to home that you can pick up. A slightly annoying feature is that a lot of sponsored products will pop up with your search, so you may get excited about something only to find that it’s neither secondhand nor a good deal.
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Buy Sell Trade (BST) Groups
I arrived late to this party, as it was only in the last year or so that I discovered BST on Facebook. These, essentially, are private groups formed by Facebook users that let people who join them buy and sell directly to each other. Usually they are brand or style focused, like the J. Crew & Madewell BST Group. Sometimes they are offshoots of other groups, like The Mom Edit BST Group, which was formed by readers of the fashion website to buy and sell clothing and accessories from a variety of brands. For all of them, you need to be approved to join and agree to group rules, which are usually very specific (ie, how to list and ship items, how many items you can list at a time, how to process payments). And if there is any incidence of scamming, that person will be removed from the group. You can often score great deals, since sellers don’t pay a commission fee to hosting websites. (A couple of mine have been a Farm Rio blouse for $30 and Madewell jeans for $35.) This also works out if you’re on the selling end, since you can price items lower and attract more buyers. How to find BST groups? Try doing a simple search on Facebook — just type in a brand you like or even the area you live in with “BST” along with it.
What are some of your favorite websites for online secondhand shopping?