When I was in high school, I was way into thrift stores. It was a good time to be into thrift stores. Grunge was all the rage, and there’s no better place to find colored cords, slouchy, holey jeans and cool 70s sweaters than your local Goodwill. Or at least, that was the case in 1995. Between my thrift store finds and a collection of clever little logo tees from Hot Topic, I was set.
It was also really convenient that I loved thrifting because I made $4.25 an hour at Domino’s Pizza and I hardly had any spending money as it was…I stretched those dollars like crazy at the Goodwill ($.75 jeans, WHAT WHAT!).
Man, the 90s were awesome.
Today, I still love to go thrifting. But when it comes to shopping for clothing, I do most of my thrifting online.
Yes, you heard me right. I buy used clothes online. And I love it.
The thing is, though…there’s an art to doing it right. If you randomly shop the racks of online thrift stores, you’re likely to get stuff that doesn’t fit you. I’ve learned this the hard way!
I’ve got a few tricks for making the most of online thrifting – this can be an incredible way to freshen up your wardrobe and satisfy your retail cravings while keeping your finances tightly under wraps.
How to buy used clothes online
First, a few tips – then I’ll send you off to my favorite places to shop.
- Buy brands you already know. I know what size I am when it comes to Target brands. I know what size I wear from the Gap. I know what Stitch Fix brands fit me. I shop specifically for brands I know, and I am almost never disappointed with how something fits.
- Look for websites that share measurements of each item. If you’re going to buy a new brand, or even something you’re uncertain about, look for shops that share measurements for the clothing they’re selling. Then make sure to measure yourself (guessing won’t cut it!).
- Try new brands when you see an amazing deal. I’ll occasionally break my “shop the brands I know” rule if I see a super good deal. But aside from that, I resist the temptation.
- Shop from stores with flexible and easy return policies. Again, sounds like a no-brainer…but know the return policy before you shop!
- If you hate shopping for pants because you have to try on a million pairs to find one that fits properly, don’t try to buy them from a used clothing retailer online. Just go into a store and try them on. Unless you can find the specific brand and style you know and love, you really are better off trying these on in person. Or, be prepared to return anything you don’t like.
- Only buy things that have a detailed product description. I’ve occasionally received things that were mislabeled (a red sweater that was actually pink when I received it, for example). This is going to happen every now and then, I get it – but finding a shop that takes care in their descriptions is so helpful.
OK – ready to shop?
Here are some places I love to buy from:
ThredUp – ThredUp is my favorite. I buy stuff from here All. The. Time. I follow my “buy brands I know” rule and occasionally venture out into new clothing territory when I see a good deal. The condition of each product is clearly stated and the clothing arrives in cute packaging, smelling clean (never weird and thrift store-ish).
My favorite thing to do is shop the “new with tags” category – so many options! You can also set up notifications, so if there’s something you’re looking for, they’ll email you if it becomes available.
LeTote – LeTote is a clothing rental company (I’ve tried it and was on the fence about it – I ended up canceling because a few of the items looks pretty worn when I received them, but mostly because they never had what I wanted to try in-stock). While I didn’t love the clothing rental service (and I SO wanted to), they do have some *huge* seasonal sales.
One more thing about the clothing rental – they have maternity rental! Now, THIS is something I would be super excited about if I were pregnant. I would absolutely try their maternity service (except the part where this baby making machine is closed for business).
What I really want to share about LeTote, though, are the sales – particularly the jewelry sales. If you like jewelry, you can find some crazy good deals (throughout the entire year, and especially during the season-end sales). You also have the option to buy clothing that you try through the rental service, or you can buy online at any time. Honestly, the “discounted” prices they offered when I had the rental clothes were waaaaay too high for me. But the jewelry was a steal!
Schoola – Like ThredUp, Schoola is an online thrift shop…but this one is mainly geared towards kids. They do have a women’s division too, though.
eBay – Remember eBay? It’s totally still a thing! This is where I go when I am looking for something really specific.
I save a lot of money by buying clothes online this way. Are you an online thrifter? Share your best deals below! If you’re looking for other ways to save, be sure to join our free 60 Day Budgeting Challenge below!