Many thrift stores have had to temporarily shut their doors, but there are still great options for shopping secondhand online. We’ve gathered the best tips for you from some of the savviest ethical shoppers we know: the TRC community. Here are their tried and true rules for shopping online for secondhand clothes.
1. Choose familiar brands
“For me, shopping secondhand is easiest if I know the brands that work well for my body. I know J.Crew jeans work well for me, I search specifically for that on thredUP. I know my size, I know what cut I like. Makes it easy and takes the headache out of shopping secondhand online!” - Bethany Tran
“I love to buy the brands I know that fit well. I shop by length, rise etc., and then save the search on thredUP so once I get a discount code, I just quickly check if anything works for me!” - Jill Kindorf
“LOFT jeans are my absolute favorite. Once I decided to switch to an ethical closet (as much as possible) I decided not to buy them new, so I buy my favorites on Poshmark.” - Heidi Pettigrew
2. Go in with a plan
“When shopping thredUP, I make sure I know exactly what I’m looking for. If you browse all of the options, you’ll be overwhelmed quickly.” - Christen DiGerlando
“I narrow my search to a few brands and colors when looking for something specific.” - Brittany Schmell
3. Read reviews
“So, I just tried Poshmark for the first time a few weeks ago. I know what brands tend to fit me well and can search for my size. I read the comments/questions closely, and I check to see the rating a seller has. Oh-- and for these overalls I searched the brand and this particular pair from the brand’s website. I got to read more reviews on the fit there.” - Brandy Ostream
4. Take your time
“I always make sure I'm not impulse buying. I try to save a lot of things (especially on Poshmark) so I can compare price, condition, and my ability to bundle with other items I like from the seller. By letting it simmer I can decide if I really want something and figure out the best price for what I'm looking for.” - Krystine Ritzen
“Wait for sellers to come to you with a deal, or create a bundle and make an offer. Be prepared for a few rounds of offers back and forth, and if you're unsure of the size and brand combo, don't pay more than you could at least resell it for -- or find a few friends you can swap clothes with!” - Amanda Bametz
5. Sell, then buy!
“I have a pretty good rule for myself of spending Poshmark credit I have rather than money, so it encourages me to sell things when I want to update my closet so I don't keep piling up more and more stuff. It makes me save things for later to make sure I really want them (and sometimes by then, the price has dropped too!).” - Annette Hammond