Fashion and Retail Association
Tips & Tricks For Thrifting Online
By: Emily Ho
Thrifting is such a great way of incorporating new pieces into your wardrobe, discovering your own personal style, and either stepping away from the current trends or finding them for a steal. Thrifting can often be a challenge, leaving you exhausted, overwhelmed, and at times, disappointed, however, the rewards outweigh the challenge when you find those special pieces. Since thrifting is typically a significant investment of time and energy, sometimes you’d rather shop from the comfort of your own home. For those times, we put together some tips and tricks to thrifting online. This guide will be especially helpful if you’re new to thrifting online or just looking for some tips to better your search. This list will be broken down into two parts:
1. General tips & tricks
2. Hacks for shopping on Poshmark, eBay, Depop, ThredUP, and Swap.com
First, let’s start with general tips that’ll apply for every platform:
1. Know your measurements
Sizing varies based on the age and brand of clothing. I recommend keeping your bust, waist, hip, arm length, torso, and inseam measurements in your notes app or somewhere accessible. This makes the buying process so much smoother. Knowing your measurements makes it faster to filter and search for exactly what you’re looking for, and result in more confident purchases. Unless you’re already familiar with a clothing brand when buying second-hand, knowing your measurements will save you the time and money from visiting the tailor, returning the item, or having to resell. If the item measurements are not found in the product description, then make sure to ask the seller. I found this tip especially useful on Depop and Poshmark, with many more successful purchases. I also love ThredUP because they post measurements for almost every item.
2. Pay attention to the fabric
Knowing the fabric of the item will be useful in figuring out how the garment will fit. Each type of fabric will lay a different way on your body and once you begin thrifting, you’ll have a feel for which fabrics are automatic buys and last long-term vs the ones which should be passed on. When making a purchase decision, I usually ask myself three questions regarding the fabric: What type of material is it, how will it fit, and how long will it last me?
3. Search by brand
Searching these sites or apps by brand is an easy and quick way to finding amazing pieces. One of the most helpful hacks I use is researching older brands that were popular in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s because they typically have a better fit and hold up well. A great way to finding these vintage brands is through in person thrifting. I tend to browse in person and try on pieces to take note of the sizing and brand, then I will go home and look up those brands on second hand websites or apps. You can also do this sort of “research” through TikTok. For example, if someone posts a thrifting or online clothing haul/try on, take note of the brand (if it’s in the comments) and the fit (of course every body is different but you get a general idea for how the brand will fit).
4. Invest time in the search
This one seems a bit obvious, but it’s good to remember that the best finds result from time invested in the search. When you start to get the hang of thrifting online, the process will become easier and faster.
Now let’s get into the specifics. Below you’ll find a rundown on tips to thrifting on each platform. Each platform seems to operate similarly but there are unique tips to thrifting on each website or app.
Poshmark is my personal favorite – it’s my most used secondhand shopping app, and I tend to find the best deals and most of my favorite purchases on there. I would say it’s the most intuitive platform to navigate and there are so many posted listings. The best way to find items is by using the search tool and then filtering by brand, category, size, and color. I also find that sellers are highly responsive to questions on this app so feel free to ask away. Shipping is pricier on this platform, but I suggest using the “offer” tool to get a better deal. Sellers are the most open to offers on Poshmark.
In my opinion, eBay is the most intimidating. There are an endless number of listings on the website, and it can be difficult to know where to start your search. I’ve linked Laini Ozark’s YouTube video on ‘how to find cute clothes on eBay’ below. She has extremely useful tips and does a great job at explaining how to navigate the website which helps in narrowing your search. I highly recommend her video, go check it out here.
Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for (brand or item), the best way of shopping on Depop is by seller or by “My DNA” if you’re just browsing. I recommend going on TikTok and searching videos referencing specific sellers then following them on Depop. Typically shops on Depop have a general aesthetic, and following an account which fits your taste is the way to find pieces you know you’ll love – this also limits search time. Depop is great too because sellers tend to post try-ons. Moreover, the “My DNA” tool is helpful because it recommends items curated to your taste. If you’re starting out on Depop, I would spend some time either “liking” or “saving” pieces you love so that the “My DNA” page can start recommending similar items.
ThredUP is another great website to find deals on amazing brands. The website always has some sort of deal going on whether it’s your first purchase or not. To find these discount codes, search ‘ThredUP haul’ on Youtube. Since there are a ton of listings on the website, I would recommend inputting your sizes to filter out a bunch of pieces. As previously mentioned, ThredUP lists measurements for every item which ensuring the right size. Another hack: I would not recommend using the search bar to find items, I found that it’s best to search using just the filtering tools.
If you’re just looking for a steal, go shop on Swap. Swap has the most options under $15. My friends have gotten amazing Theory trousers for $2 on there. The website is pretty intuitive as well. I recommend using filters or just using the search bar. I would go onto this website with a specific item you want in mind. There are too many items to search through if you are just looking to browse.
You’ve reached the end! We hope these tips and tricks are helpful in your next online thrift search – happy shopping!