WHEN friends and family ask how I get my hands on so many clothes in the space of a year to supply my fashion blogging lifestyle, I always let them in on my secret. I love finding a bargain as much as the next gal and spend a lot of time preparing for the end of summer/winter sales. However, for all of the downtime in-between, I am an avid second-hand clothing hunter and salesman! This is probably due to the fact that as a 16-year-old, I started working at a second-hand clothing store and stayed at that job for over two years. I know that working there amongst a steady stream of heavily discounted clothing inspired what has become a lifelong obsession with fashion, and is also where I learned to improvise with my style.
I try to take care of my clothing so that if the time comes around, I can sell it to someone who will appreciate it as much as I did. As you can imagine, I have a lot of clothes coming in-and-out of my closet, and my personal rule is: if I have stopped wearing it, then it needs to go. I rarely keep items for sentimental reasons and almost never regret selling my unused clothing to a new home. Having this system in place keeps my wardrobe fresh and allows me to stay inspired throughout the entire year!
So how exactly do I buy and sell second-hand?
I grew up in Washington State, where thrift shopping is a way of life and an easy way to get your hands on great pieces for amazing prices. I worked in a local group of second-hand clothing stores in the Pacific Northwest, but I am a huge fan of the Buffalo Exchange franchise which is all over the United States. In a place like Seattle, thrift shops are easy to find and dangerous for someone like me who can get happily lost amongst rows of discounted clothing. These stores are much harder to locate here in The Netherlands, but if you follow me on Instagram you will know that I have found a few gems in the heart of Amsterdam!
When I lived in the states, there was an app called Thread Flip where I first started selling my clothes by snapping pictures with my phone and listing them for others to shop. It was so simple to sell my clothing this way, and I found a ton of amazing lightly-used items that became the basis for my very first blog posts! Sadly, Threadflip is long gone, but luckily I found Depop only a short while later to continue listing and selling my clothing worldwide. Check out what I have currently listed by following me on Depop!
My last avenue for second-hand treasures are the online marketing platforms such as the eBays and Craigslists of the world. Since these sell more than just clothing and homeware, this route takes a little more persistence than the other two I listed, but can also be more rewarding. Here in the Netherlands, the main online marketplace is called Marktplaats where you can buy anything from clothes to coffee machines from people all over the country. I prefer finding items in thrift shops and on Depop over something like Marktplaats, but it does have advantages – there are fewer people searching for clothing and you can snatch up some great finds. For example, my boyfriend recently found a blazer originally worth over 1000 euros for only a 15!
DONT GET DUPED
If you’re a luxury buyer, the authenticity of these items is always a gamble, but I do have a few tips to share to prevent any surprises:
Google the label. You can learn a lot by simply taking a look at other versions of the tag or label. Can’t find it? Then there is a decent chance that it is not real.
Check the Seller. Especially on spaces like Depop and eBay, take a quick scan to see if they have a good rating and if they sell other items in a similar price range. Things like too many of the same item or a brand new account should raise a red flag!
ASK! Chat with the seller about the authenticity of the item – when did they buy it? Do they have original receipts? If you are buying a designer item that you believe to be authentic, I always recommend sending a message before buying to double-check that they are a genuine, active seller. Better to be safe than sorry!
If you are also an avid thrift shopper, I hope this helps you find more things that you love. And, don’t forget to let me know if you have any suggestions that I have not listed here!