I honestly don’t know why I’m choosing this time to write these posts but I really hope it’s a reprieve from all the other shit in the world right now. Thrifting has always been what I do when I feel stressed out or just need a moment of space to myself.
I’ve been thinking a lot about writing a detailed post about thrifting for a long time. A lot of my coworkers have expressed interest in joining my on my thrift-ventures but unfortunately for COVID I couldn’t bring them along anymore. I paused thrifting for about 3-4 months when Shelter In Place happened and slowly started going back recently.
Obviously I do not recommend in-person thrifting unless you are comfortable (and can bring the necessary gear like masks, gloves, face shields) and if your state has increased precautions against the virus. While I do want to talk about in-person thrifting but I think today’s post I will dedicate to thrifting online.
Thrifting online is basically shopping at consignment/secondhand stores online such as Poshmark, ThredUp, Depop, Mercari, Ebay, etc. I will do a breakdown of the places I actually browse and shop on the most often, keep in mind my experience may not be the same as yours and as always I ask you to “shop smarter, not harder.” All of these apps require you to sign up using your email (so turn off notifications if you don’t want to be spammed!).
For Poshmark, I always recommend new buyers to read the seller’s “About” page. Their page should provide you with a thing called “Closet Info” which details their Average Ship Time. Average Ship Time lets you know how quickly they mail out your item, this is a GOOD sign! According to Poshmark Stats, a quicker shipper is someone who ships within 2 days.
You also should read the Seller’s Love Notes to see if they’ve gotten glowing reviews for the items they’ve sold. Depending on how active the seller is, they can range from having 50+ Love Notes to very little. I like to use love notes to gauge if a seller is trustworthy. But also keep in mind that Poshmark does not show reviews that are less than 5 stars. I recommend you asking questions about the item you want to purchase prior to purchasing (especially when sizing is questionable).
- Great search and filter function, you can search specific terms such as “strawberry dress” in addition to brand name, size, category, and color.
- Most sellers have solid item descriptions, are fast shippers and are generally very nice and responsive. So always ask the seller prior to purchasing for measurements.
- You can make reasonable offers on clothing you’re interested in purchasing
- Great for finding clothes from previous collections, seasons (e.g. Zara Disney items) or foreign brands (e.g. Stylenanda, Lazy Oaf)
- Scalpers and bad sellers can really damper this platform (generally rare, but Poshmark usually sides with the buyer if you do purchase something that was not described)
- All shipping for any item can start at $7.11.
- Sellers don’t always post “real” photos of the clothes they are selling, and opt for stock images. However, you can always ask to see photos of the real item.
- Sellers don’t always disclose damages or missing items (I had an experience where the seller lied about removing a lining on a dress).
The Real Real
- Most clothing have measurements in the description which makes it easier for you to judge whether or not it fits to your body proportions
- Great for sourcing high end designer items (e.g. Chanel, Miu Miu, Doen, Moschino) that are in great condition.
- Lists condition of the clothing (e.g. Pristine, Excellent, Very Good, Good).
- Free shipping after a certain amount.
- App is very easy to use; contains filters for category, size, and brands.
- Notification of items back in stock.
- Price. Some items are priced very reasonable, while the valuation of others are pretty ridiculous (specifically Supreme, Golden Goose and Off-White) and you might as well buy it off SSENSE or Farfetch during their seasonal sales.
- Measurements may not always be 100% accurate.
- Known to have fake items from time to time despite claiming every item is thoroughly authenticated. I would say this has mostly been documented with bags, though one person did claim that a Prada clothing tag was attached to a Tibi dress.
- Be aware of FINAL SALE items.
I truly only resort to ThredUP when I need basic items like t-shirts and Madewell. I absolutely hate their return process, it’s easy to send items back, it’s just not easy to get your money back. This is probably the best one to use for shoppers who want a great deal. I would not recommend this platform for sellers though.
- Huge inventory of Everlane, Madewell, J. Crew, Zara items.
- Really reasonably priced items for everyday wear.
- Always has sales starting at 20% off.
- Can save filtered searches.
- The search filter is very granular (from material, sleeve length, decoration, color, brand, etc)
- Can notify you when your saved brands have new items in stock.
- Terrible return policy. You can return items for full store credit, but if you want your real money back they take a huge restocking fee leaving you with pretty much a “partial refund”
- No detailed photos of clothing, usually 2 photos.
- Prices are not negotiable (the discount codes and sales help).
- Measurements can also be off.
- Clothing descriptions are not very detailed.
- Be aware of FINAL SALE items.
These are three of the primary sources where I like to browse and favorite items that I like and think on whether or not I’d like to bring them into my closet. Ebay is a great runner up because when I exhaust those three options I turn to Ebay. Most of the time I’ve used Ebay to source “You Are Here” Starbucks Cups from Japan or Disneyland.
Once you’re on a secondhand online shop like Poshmark, I recommend favoriting/liking items first (especially on Poshmark) because the seller does get notified of a like and sometime they will offer you a discounted shipping or lower the price of the item. I constantly check to see if my favorited/liked items get discounted over time, then I would usually think about purchasing.
I focus more on browsing and liking items rather than blindly buying items just because they are cheap, this is something I’ve learned from thrifting in person. This allows me to really think about a purchase before buying. A great deal is awesome, but what’s not awesome is that item of clothing sitting in your closet and not being worn. That’s not ideal right?
I definitely do have moments where I see an item and I know immediately that I will wear it especially if it is a rare piece or an unique item that I don’t see often, I will almost always purchase it. When you know, you know!
Let me know how you fare on the secondhand shopping sites! or DM me at nitrochique!
Next time I’ll talk about thrifting irl which will include a more in depth analysis of how I thrift and what I look for in an item.