How to Shop for Used Clothing Online and Near You

Introducing “The 101”—not the name of my favorite California freeway—but a quick and dirty look into fashion concepts that can help make our closets more conscious, and even more fun.

For the first 101, let’s dive into secondhand and used clothing. Whether you call it recycled, resale, or used, it is the alternative to buying new. This post will focus on secondhand online and offline, near you, selling and buying. More to come on thrifting and vintage in upcoming 101s.


My journey to secondhand

I discovered secondhand and used clothing stores when I was in middle school. I learned geometry, life sciences, and how to identify a real Louis Vuitton rainbow bag from a fake.

I transferred from my neighborhood public school to a private school. And at my new school, trends were IT. If you didn’t have a Von Dutch hat, a Juicy Couture sweatsuit, and some Uggs, well, you might as well not show up to school on our non-uniform Fridays.

A "serious" uniform day. (Spot the Livestrong bracelets, navy Juicy jackets, and Lacoste polos.) I'm the happy one in the middle.

A "serious" uniform day. (Spot the Livestrong bracelets, navy Juicy jackets, and Lacoste polos.) I'm the happy one in the middle.

I told my dad I wanted to look at the stores on Rodeo Drive. (There were kids in real Louis Vuitton at my new school let’s not forget). Just picture a 12 year old going from Chanel to Gucci—with less than $50 of birthday money. He said, “I have a better placeMelrose.” I begrudgingly agreed to go.

We drove from the San Fernando Valley, over Laurel Canyon, to West Hollywood and walked into a place called Wasteland. 7 For All Mankind jeans for $50! (this 2003 people…), True Religions for $60!, and then there it was—Juicy shorts with "Juicyland" on the butt for less than $40. Birthday money here we go!

Wasteland on Melrose, the place where I purchased every prom dress, x-large men's t-shirts, too many jeans, and not enough fake fur.

Wasteland on Melrose, the place where I purchased every prom dress, x-large men's t-shirts, too many jeans, and not enough fake fur.

That same day I bought the Juicy shorts my dad got me a pair of used blue crushed velvet Dr. Martens. Guess which of these purchases I still own (and wear) today.*

My Dr. Martens hanging out on my present-day bedroom floor.

My Dr. Martens hanging out on my present-day bedroom floor.

*I am still a fan of Juicy, new and 2000s styles. The more sweatsuits in my life the better…just with less on-the-butt writing.


Back on the 101 

What is secondhand and used clothing?

Secondhand means owned by someone else. I like the idea the clothes have had a whole life behind them—they come with experiences, stories, and hopefully no stains. (Always good to double check before you buy!)

How can I sell my secondhand and used clothing?

Try both offline and online stores. At offline stores, they usually only take what is trending for that season. You can check out selling guides to see what the stores are in need of and what is popular. (I have gone in and they have taken nothing. Badge of honor, I think). You can get paid with store credit or cash for the items you sell. If store credit is an option, this will usually be a higher amount than if you go with cash.

You can also list your items on popular sites like thredUP, Poshmark, and Tradesy (see below).

Why buy secondhand?

First, it will save you money and make you can money when you sell your clothes too.

Second, It is more sustainable. Because you are buying used clothing instead of new, the chemicals and water to produce the clothes aren’t getting used, reducing the climate change impact of manufacturing. The less new clothing produced, the better the environment.

I’m ready to jump in...now where do I go?

Check out our list of offline (local and national) and online secondhand stores. And add a comment below if you recommend any others! 


Online Stores

Poshmark

Poshmark is a social commerce marketplace for fashion where anyone can buy, sell, and share their personal style. The site and app also include a community where members can curate looks and share ideas and trends.

 

Rebag

Rebag makes it super easy to sell your designer handbags.The company just launched an app too—and opened a store in Soho.

 

The RealReal

The RealReal is all about luxury consignment. The company ensures everything it sells is 100% real. Brands include Chanel, Dior, Versace, and more. (I got a pretty fierce Alexander Wang side bag here for only $200).

 

thredUP

thredUP is the largest of the online resale/secondhand shops with over 30,000 brands for women, kids, and teens. Think J. Crew, Anthropologie, and Kate Spade New York. Check out its strong deals (~90% off retail).

 

Tradesy

Tradesy is another place like The RealReal for buying and selling luxury designer fashion. You can shop styles at up to 70% off. (The marketplace is also made by women, for women, founded by fierce CEO Tracy DiNunzio.)

 

Vinted

Vinted allows its users to sell, buy, and swap(!) secondhand clothing and accessories. Think ASOS, Brandy Melville, Jeffrey Campbell, Topshop, and more.

 

Offline Stores 

Beacon's Closet

Beacon's Closet is a 100% Brooklyn-based, female-founded company. The store buys, sells, and trades clothing. Due to the fashionable people living around the stores, you are sure to find some unique, cool finds. Not in Brooklyn? You can also shop + sell online.

 

Buffalo Exchange

You can buy, sell, or trade your clothes and accessories at Buffalo Exchange for cash or trade on the spot. Check out one of its 48 locations across the US.

 

Crossroads Trading Company

Like Buffalo Exchange, you can find Crossroads across the US. You can sell your gently used clothing for cash or trade in store or by mail; and shop for name-brand and designer clothing at low prices. I have seen Forever 21 to Stella McCartney, Vans to Jimmy Choo.

 

Kilo Shop

A Europe (and Tokyo!) favorite (sorry fellow Americans), Kilo Shop has vintage and secondhand finds for cheap. Each item is labeled with a different color which denotes how much the item is per kilo. All items are weighed before purchase. (I bought an Adidas vintage sweatshirt and Levi's jean skirt at one of the Amsterdam locations.)

 

Wasteland

...And my favorite secondhand haven, Wasteland, is located in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Studio City. It prides itself for handpicking every designer and vintage piece, and seeking out new independent collections that express its spirit.