Articles Lifestyle 7 Online Thrifting Essentials To Keep In Mind

7 Online Thrifting Essentials To Keep In Mind

Navigating the thrifting world is a bit tricky sometimes. Learn the ins and outs of online thrifting and get the best bang for your buck with these tips.

Secondhand pieces may not exactly be what you have in mind when looking for clothes online. However, fashion has drastically changed. People nowadays care more about closet staples that have longevity and durability than dated pieces (see also: the tacky velvet tracksuits of the 2000s or the easily worn-out superhero-shirt-and-plaid-flannel look from the early 2010s). People also don't mind re-wearing a whole ensemble. The Duchess of Cambridge herself, Kate Middleton, repeats outfits within months. And recently, more and more fashion enthusiasts have embraced the art of thrifting, or purchasing pre-owned pieces. If you like to take part in saving the environment and your money to boot, then thrifting is a great alternative to traditional shopping. It's time to pop tags like Macklemore in 2012 and consider these 7 essentials when starting your thrifting journey.

Your Outfit Goals

Three girls on the field sporting a plaid knitted top and white tennis skirt.

Feeling that summery cottagecore vibe? Or are you a hiphop head and prefer street style clothes? Laidback like a Parisienne? Or are you more into form-fitting pieces like Kim K? Whatever style you like, it would help a lot to have an established peg so you know what pieces to look for among heaps and heaps of sartorial options. It helps if you have a moodboard too: look at Pinterest or Instagram to see ensembles that you would love to sport. This way, you can easily spot and pick the pieces you like, so you can complete your look or at least get something in the ballpark of your style peg.

Your Go-To Shops

Woman holding clothing pieces from the store.

You have to know where to buy your stuff from. Take note of the names of the shops you love, and ask about their return/exchange policy, just in case you'll have sizing or quality issues with their products. Keep in mind that just because your purchases are thrifted doesn't mean that your consumer rights should be compromised. Online thrift stores are still under consumer laws, so it's good to know what your rights are as a buyer. To know about online thrift stores on Instagram, here's a good place to start.

Your Body Measurements

A seamstress measuring a woman's waist.

Since you can't physically fit the clothes, you have to get an idea of your measurements. For women, memorize your bust size, waistline, and hips first and foremost. Note the length of the garment as well (whether it's a short, maxi, or midi dress for example) or the length of the sleeve (whether it's long, short, or middle-cut sleeves). If you're looking for shoes, it's good to know your ball girth, which is the widest part of your foot, as well as your foot length and your desired heel height. As for men, know your chest, waist, hips, and inseam measurements too. Ideally, a measuring tape is used for this. If you don't have one at home, you can try using a bendable ruler or yardstick.

Your Sharp Eye

A woman holding a magnifying glass over her eye.

After knowing your rights as a buyer, you're now more aware of what you're getting into. As much as it can be quite a hassle, if you see any defects or imperfections that wasn't mentioned when the secondhand piece was posted/endorsed, you are free to talk to the owner. If they give you the cold shoulder, you are free to (a) post a complaint, (b) report to authorities, or (c) in a more extreme setting, take legal action. Also, be wary of heavily filtered pictures of clothes or posts that have no actual picture of the product. In cases like this, chances are, your expectations won't be met: the material could be too sheer, or the color could be way lighter or darker than what you initially saw. Trust your intuition if an offer is too good to be true, because it probably is.

Your Method of Payment

A person doing an online payment through the phone.

Most thrift shops online accept payments through bank transfer, money transfer, or cash apps. If your payment method of choice is cash on delivery, then be wary of scams that demand money from an order you supposedly made but actually didn't. Scammers probably stole that information from your earlier purchases, so make sure that when you dispose of packages, you also erase your personal details. Tear up the original package, scratch out or cut up the paper that contains your sensitive information, or better yet, pay through banks, apps, or money transfer centers so you risk no exposure of personal information to scammers.

Your Time & Patience

A flatlay of a clock and a calendar on a pink background.

Online thrifting is no different from physical thrifting, especially when it comes to price negotiations. If the owner or salesperson flat out says that you can haggle the price down, then by all means do it. It may seem weird to need some sort of emotional labor for getting the "last price", but this actually saves people a lot of money. Another thing to consider is sifting through many thrift stores on social media sites. It takes a whole lot of patience, but it's worth it when you find the thrift store for you: great service, aesthetics matched to your personal style, reasonable prices, and quality goods. Making a worthy purchase feels good indeed!

Your Inner Tailor/Seamstress

A seamstress doing a sketch.

It's time to (literally) cut yourself some slack and put your sewing skills to the test! Making purchases that aren't exactly your size can be frustrating. Not to mention the annoying tears, holes, and missing buttons that come with getting items at a low price. If you don't trust yourself enough to cut and sew your new closet additions, then have someone do it for you. But if you're still hesitant to go out of your house to have your pieces repaired (because of the current circumstances) then it's fine to do it on your own. This skill is great not only for thrifted pieces but also for brand new ones. You'll never know when they'll come in handy, so brush up on your sewing and garment cutting chops.

Fashionably Sustainable (& Budget-Friendly At That!)

A woman shopping for thrifted clothes.

Which of these thrifting essentials is your favorite? Which tip have you done already? Do you regularly practice some of these? This list hopefully got you hyped over thrifting and its many perks. Get ready to start thrifting by checking out these local online thrift stores and this list of other to-dos when it comes to online thrifting!


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