Clothes are a lot like cars in the sense that, when you buy a new one and drive it off the lot, the value drops instantly.
A piece of clothing can have the tags on and be completely unworn, but if it isn’t being bought from the store, the potential price of that item drops with every day that ticks by. This is what makes buying secondhand so smart.
The problem? A lot of thrift and secondhand stores have reputations for being cluttered, disorganized, and full of things that are clearly worn – and most of it is definitely not current. It’s often hard to see how an older, seemingly dated piece would work into your wardrobe, especially for a new thrift shopper. This makes it tough for those of us who like to participate in current fashion to succeed when secondhand shopping…
Good Secondhand Shopping Online – It’s A Real Thing
There is power in creativity – you can make anything work if you feel amazing in it – and there are companies out there like thredUP that want to make it easier for you.
thredUP is an online shop that populates its digital shelves with gently used & secondhand clothing, jewelry, and accessories. They also offer you a quick and easy way to turn your old clothes and household items into cash!
Getting to play around on their site is honestly a thrift shopper’s dream come true.
These Seychelles wedges (from this outfit) are my newest price possession. Not only because they’re glorious, gorgeous, and sleek as hell – but the deal I got on these was amazing. Finding a pair of coveted Seychelles under $50 is already a total blue moon moment, but finding them in basically perfect condition for less than $20 is freaking amazing. $17.49!
Think that you’ll miss the feeling of having “something really new”? Check out my J. Crew 100% cotton sweater that came to me with the tags still on after I paid only $11.99.
Tags still on. Bonkers! As good as a sweater at the store, but easily one of the best bargains I scored from my “trip” to thredUP. And I’m not sayin’ these are the same sweater, but mine looks an awful lot like this one at J. Crew that retails for $79.50… $12? Ha.
How thredUP Works
It all starts with a bag. Well, first, someone decides they want to get rid of some of their nearly-perfect clothes. Then, they get a cleanout bag from thredUP (they cover all of the shipping costs), a vessel in which you can send your clothing back to their San Francisco HQ so they can assess, photograph, and sell your stuff!
One of two flannel shirts I snagged for under $8 each!
Why of course you get a cut, silly! Or, if you want to donate your share, they can arrange that, too. (I’m definitely not judging you for not donating. Mama gots bills to pay!)
Their quality standards are obviously extremely high, so bear that in mind when ordering a cleanout bag. Also, this spring, they will be debuting their new section called thredUP X, which will contain high end designer pieces available for tiny fractions of the retail price!
Why thredUP is Awesome-r Than Other Thrift Sites
Here is a breakdown of why thredUP is above-and-beyond awesome, and what makes them different from every other method of secondhand shopping online. The image you see above is the exact product page I came across when I fell in love with the Seychelles you saw earlier!
1. The product photos & tagging system
Before you even click on a product, you can tell whether the product is new with tags, average wear, or if it has a “tiny flaw.” As you can see, there is allegedly a “tiny flaw” on the shoes I bought… I’ll take their word for it, because I certainly can’t spot it.
Every photo is an actual photo of the products. Unlike eBay, where you can post a picture of a perfect item and then sell someone a knockoff, thredUP does the listing and shipping of every products, so they can show you exactly what you’re receiving!
2. Consistent item listings
One of the most frustrating things about secondhand shopping online is the lack of standards when it comes to item listing. “Cute shoes polka dot” doesn’t tell me anything about the size, shape, or condition of the product! thredUP uses categorization like any other online store, and the item listings follow a clear canon. The brand, style and size will always be easy to find.
3. Item details containing things you want to know and care about
Yes! Just like your average eShop, the nitty gritty details of each listing are all laid out for you in an easy to find, easy to read display. You can even see where the product came from! On other listings (that aren’t shoes), the fabric type, other tag information, and even equivalent sizes if the product is an ambiguous “L,” etc.
This is also where thredUP details the alleged flaws that accompany their products. In this case, “general wear” was considered a flaw… But you can see the footbeds of those shoes – they are pristine! But I’d rather thredUP be generous with their flaw flags (?) than tell me something is perfect when it’s not.
4. A broke girl’s best friend: referral incentive
Yes, just like the sample sites of yore, thredUP has an incentivized referral program. I have happily given this link out to my friends and family already, but if you want to earn some quick store credit, send out your personalized link to your friends on social media. You and your newly-joining friend will split $20 in credit, leaving you each with $10. They get $10 immediately, and when they spend it, you get yours!
As you can see, there is very little about this site that I don’t like. In fact, I’m still looking.