When you love fashion but are on a budget, it behooves you to not only sniff out the SSENSE sale, but develop a knowledge of the vast, mostly useless online reseller markets. You won’t catch me on Grailed or even The RealReal. (Needless to say, authentication is not a priority for me, nor was keeping the tags on my Beanie Babies pristine.) The real real ones know that the best deals are in the places you least expect.
eBay has long been my go-to for text-your-friend-immediately steals. In the last two years, I’ve purchased a pair of Prada peep-toe wedge sandals for $36, a zebra-print Dooney & Bourke bag for $25, and a faux alligator bubblegum pink Liz Claiborne bag for $5, to name a few. (Not to BRAG!) eBay will always be my first love, but lately, there’s been some unlikely competition: ThredUp, which has had me in a chokehold even since I discovered their seemingly bottomless collection of beautiful, affordable designer bags and clothing.
ThredUp was founded in 2009, and unlike other resellers or online consignment companies, the main tenet of ThredUp’s brand is sustainability. (Their motto? “Thrift. Clean out. Do good.”) They advertise a signature closet cleanout service, where they mail you a Thred Up-branded bag for you to send back pounds of clothes. ThredUp isn’t looking for only designer clothes; their focus is on everyday brands like Old Navy, Ann Taylor LOFT, and Madewell. They also handle resale for companies, including PacSun, J. Crew, and Reformation, allowing buyers to shop gently-used clothing on the brands’ specific shops on ThredUp.
ThredUp isn’t targeting sellers who are getting rid of designer threads: They are targeting people who want to clean out the Gap shirts they haven’t worn in two years who might also throw in an old Gucci tote alongside it. These are the people we all have to thank.
To give you a taste of what’s on the site: You can buy a Birkin bag on ThredUp. This is not a drill! Sure it costs $8,599, but that’s off its usual price of $28,500. Right now, ThredUp has a vintage canvas Gucci bag for $191, a Prada wallet for $230, and a silk Roberto Cavalli cocktail dress for $124. But where they really shine is mid-tier designers: I’ve lost many many hours scrolling through their offerings from Dooney and Bourke, Coach, and Kate Spade. And it’s not only legacy brands: They have Miaou and Sandy Liang, too. Select items are authenticated, if that’s important to you. There’s a “luxe edit” including authenticated designer pieces from third-party sellers like REBAG and Luxclusif (though these are typically more expensive than ThredUp’s stock.)
I’ve long thought about how to explain the sheer volume of ThredUP’s too-good-to-be-true deals. It feels too easy to chock it up to people not knowing the value of what they have, because ThredUp is consignment. The catch is that these items move fast, because what ThredUp wants to do is sell: They care about moving these products to continue the life-cycle, so that not everything remains in a warehouse, out of reach. What’s worth more is making sure someone can actually buy it.