Why I Shop the Designer Second-Hand Market
It’s no secret, I love high quality, unique items – always have, yet my shopping budget did not always support my taste for designer pieces. Yes, I love to save money by shopping sales and deals, but more importantly I love the hunt – discovering that unique, well-made piece that I won’t see everywhere. In addition, if you are into re-selling your clothing, high quality designer items tend to hold their value in the resale market, making them easier to sell or trade when you later tire of them.
Over the years I have accumulated quite a collection of designer finds. My favorite brands? It’s not random. Prada, Gucci, Jenni Kayne, DVF, Smythe Jackets, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino, Max Mara to contemporary lines such as Theory, Rag and Bone, Vince, Joie, Rachel Zoe and Designer Denim are on the top of my list of favorite designers. Understanding the fit, quality and design of each of these brands leads to success, when I go to work a new find, into my wardrobe.
10 Tips for Shopping the Designer Second-Hand Market
- Make a List! Everything is a deal in the second hand market, so I always have my “wish list” on hand as to not stray off into the berries, purchasing things I don’t need, just because they are a bargain. I also utilize the Wish List Option on sites like ThredUp and The Real Real. With thousands of new items regularly coming into inventory, if I don’t Wish List items I like, I may never find them again.
- Know Your Size. Designer clothing often has it’s own set of sizing rules, often running a full size or two smaller than your regular size. Consider trying on say a Moschino piece at Neimans to get your size right, before dropping your cash on a piece that may not fit to your expectation. The Real Real does a great job of sharing detailed measurements – read and compare the measurements to a piece you love the fit of in your closet.
- Go Ahead, Splurge a Little! Designer pieces tend to last longer, have better quality of workmanship, AND hold their value in the second hand resale market when if you decide to part with your find down the road.
- Shop Consignment Shops in Highline Cities or Neighborhoods. I find cities like Palo Alto (Fillmore & 5th), Burlingame (Millie Mango), Los Altos (Repeter) to Second Time Around on the Upper East Side in New York City to have a big selection of designer duds, usually in like-new or excellent condition. Utilize the internet to search for Designer Boutiques in your area.
- Utilize Search Engines. Online thrift sites like The Real Real and ThredUp offer powerful search engines, so use them! As I would with my favorite online retailer, I filter by designer, size, type and color. This way, when I am searching for a Prada pump, I don’t end up checking out with a Marc Jacobs wedge sandal that was just too good to pass up, I’m just sayin’.
- Get to Know the Shop Owner. I find most secondhand shop owners to be super friendly. Heck, they probably got into the buinesss because like you, they love at fab find! Looking for a Gucci Tote? Ask to be notified when one comes in. Then, rush down to check it out!
- Get on the Sale Notification List! Sites like The Real Real may look pricey at first blush, but put that Prada pump in your wishlist and you may just get a notification within a few days that your find is now 40% off! And when this does happen, I suggest check out quickly!
- Have you heard of ThriftShopper.com? Enter your city/zip code and state to discover thrift shops in your neighborhood or enter a city you’d like to visit and see what come up!
- Patience My Dear. Check back…often! I love Prada Shoes so I check back when I am online. Sites add new styles daily, you never know when you might get lucky! This also applies when shopping in-store, allow yourself time to treasure hunt!
- What is the Return Policy? ThredUp and The Real Real both offer a return policy which is huge for me – I only keep what I love. If you are shopping Ebay or Poshmark, you need to select carefully as sales are usually final.
As I would with my favorite online retailer, I filter by designer, size, type and color. This way, when I am searching for a Prada pump, I don’t end up checking out with a Marc Jacobs wedge sandal that was just too good to pass up.
To view how I styled some of this years favorite thrift finds, pop on over to What I Wore, Celebrating a Year of Second Hand Style (HERE)
Do you shop the designer second hand market? What tips do you have to share?
Drop me a line down below! I’d love to hear your strategies on finding designer deals on a dime!
I hope you pop back next Tuesday…I’m styling up my latest thrift find, a $428.00 Jenni Kayne camel coat that I picked up for under $100.00!
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