So, we’ve established that thrift stores are an awesome way to find clothes…it saves you money, it keeps your look unique and it’s a green way to shop. However, you are definitely at the mercy of whatever has been brought into the store without size variety or much selection. What if there was a gigantic store that let everyone bring their clothing together so that the second-hand cycle can be expanded throughout the whole country and even the world? Oh wait, there is one! Ebay is my OG when it comes to great deals on clothes/bags/shoes/accessories. It’s how I got started with second hand fashion and is especially beneficial to people living in smaller cities that can’t get to the great re-sale shops the more urban areas offer. I want to share with you some great tips and even search techniques that may have you paying more for shipping than the actual item…
Necessity is definitely the mother of invention.
I spent 6-years living in a small town in southwest Colorado and although it was beautiful, it was voted one of the worst dressed towns in America. We affectionately called the mall “The Hall” because it was a short run of a few shops and a pretzel place. The other stores in town were geared toward tourists and their bank accounts, leaving the locals starving for fashion variety and consequently, a little creative with their fashion. (Read: out of date and super casual). I don’t know about you but when I am shopping for a specific event, I know what I want to wear and I shop to find it. When you’re in a small town you more than likely aren’t going to find it. It was through panic inducing shopping trips to these limited stores that I decided I needed a new option. I was 6 hours away from any good shopping, so the internet it was.
Hurray for shoes!! Let’s just get that out of the way. The right pair of shoes is the cheese to the macaroni of any good outfit. I’m sure we’ve all purchased a pair of cheap shoes that have cut into our feet and made blisters in a way that had you wondering if you may have missed a safety recall notice about them. Ouch. Then there is the moment you put on a quality, non-synthetic pair of shoes and you realize that you really do get what you pay for. Ebay is the perfect spot to pick up nearly new designer shoes at a fraction of the cost, but it’s important to do your research before you begin bidding on every Manolo that comes across the screen. Take a trip to Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom’s or any other large chain that carries high quality shoes and try some on. Figure out what size you wear in different brands and record them. (Put Siri to work!) After you’ve got a feel for what you need as well as what you like, get yourself set up with an ebay account. Then use the search option to type in as specific or generalized search as you would like. If you are looking for; “brown heels size 8” then type that, or if you know specifically; “Tribtoo 105 Yves St Laurent pump, size 8 Tan/Nude.” You can narrow your search by color, style, size, heel height, condition etc. More often than not you’ll have a several sellers to choose from as well as a variety of photos that show all angles and any wear and tear on the shoes.
Good lord I love bags…It only took that first animal cracker box/purse when I was four and I was hooked. The same basic criteria apply for bags on ebay as it does to shoes. Do your due diligence shopping before to figure out which bags or designers you like, and then begin the search. The amount of designer bags that are being hocked online is a little overwhelming so be discerning. As I mentioned in my previous post, if it looks gross, it probably is. Bags with rips, tears or stains on them are a pass and any bag that is used but listed close to what it cost new is also a pass. A downfall of not doing business face to face is the chance of getting a knockoff bag at a designer price. Make sure you read the sellers reviews and make sure they are the real deal. Any seller with very little feedback rating or few transactions is one to avoid. Lastly, don’t be hung up on labels. Some of the coolest bags I have are vintage finds or even from overseas. Let your style guide you.
When I see someone in an outfit I admire, I take a mental note of what it is and I’ll search it through ebay. Many times the clothes that I’m feeling aren’t what’s in stores at the moment, and ebay can be a great way to find what I want, not what every store says I should want. For example, I saw a beautiful sundress that I loved and asked the girl wearing it what brand it was (And no, people generally don’t find you crazy for asking, but are rather flattered that you like what they’re wearing enough to ask). I ran the brand name and a few details such as “sundress and lace-up” though the search filter and immediately found several of the dresses for under $30. Retail price showed $85. Another option is to bid on “Lots” which are a group of items that you bid on all at once. If you really love tops from Guess then you can search “Guess tops lot” and will be shown groups of clothing that you can get at one low price. More than likely you won’t like everything is the lot, but there should be more things that you like than do not. Feel free to ask the seller for more detailed pictures or descriptions of the items condition, color, etc. The amount of clothing that people are looking to sell because they are either over it, or didn’t like it in the first place is staggering and they are happy to make any profit they can, which is completely your gain!
There are times that people are in such a hurry to list their items that they incorrectly spell the name of the designer or brand. So, by putting in variations of the designer or brand you’ll come across these misspelled items that have no minimum bid and aren’t coming up in a search for that item. For example: Michael Korrs (incorrect) instead of Michael Kors (correct), Victoria Secret (incorrect) instead of Victoria’s Secret (correct). By just transposing a few letters you’ll find many items that have fallen through the proverbial cracks.
PayPal really is your Pal
As in many parts of life, there will always be a few bad apples that will either not send your product or send a misrepresented item. If you paid the seller through PayPal, fear not! They will refund your money so you can shop with the peace of mind that you’re not only relying upon some stranger to get it together and send you your purchases in a timely manner. Also, they keep your financial information secure and it’s never given to the seller, a middle man if you will. In the 6 years that I have been getting shoes/bags and clothes from ebay I have only had one time that my item was never sent, and I was refunded in full by PayPal.
In closing, don’t buy it just because it’s cheap; buy it because you are making a quality investment in your wardrobe. By taking the time to seek out these gently used items you’ll save enough to invest in other quality pieces and create a collection that really speaks to who you are and you’ll actually have some money left over to go out and show off those amazing second hand scores!
Have a wonderful week!