You’ll have to excuse my French, but online thrift stores are the absolute SHIT. I’ve got the common love raiding other people’s closets and the equally common love new clothes, but here’s my dilemma: I want ALL THE CLOTHES, but I also want to save my wallet from a vortex of eternal grief, y’know? Enter thrift, the happy medium to all my clothes-related lust. I like sifting through brick n’ mortar thrift store selections as much as the next clothes-hungry chickadee, but sometimes I like to chillax and search for the next additions to my dream wardrobe without getting out of my pajamas. Like…thrift surfing. (This isn’t an actual term; I just came up with it now.) There are three main places I get my pre-loved duds away from the rush and crowds of IRL thrift stores:
- Instagram closet sales. I love to search through #closetsales on Insta and look at the wonderful on-point stuff my favourite digital fashion plates are selling—I admire these people so much, and the idea that I can have a sampling of their killer style is sometimes irresistible. I try to stay local for Insta sales—or at least within Canada, since the CAD vs. USD battle is so not equal right now—and it usually serves me pretty well. Be sure to ask for try-on photos, exact garment measurements, and close-up pix of the item(s) you’ve got your eye on before committing to a purchase—the last thing you want is the exciting arrival of some secondhand stuff that doesn’t fit you, has stains or holes you didn’t notice before, or otherwise isn’t up your alley in person as much as it was online. For your own protection, pay with PayPal as much as you can and get tracking numbers for everything you buy!
- Depop. This app is so seamless and well-coded that using it is totally effortless. It’s super helpful to have a feed of sellers you follow to see what’s up for sale at-a-glance, and the Instant Payment feature (linked with PayPal) takes out some of the worry of sending money to people you don’t really know. Depop will back you up and refund you if you get scammed using the app while paying with Instant Payment, and it’s comforting to know that the both Depop and your payment gateway have got you covered regardless of what happens during your closet-expanding adventures.
- eBay. I think a lot of people underestimate how great eBay really is for finding…well…anything and everything! If there’s something specific you’re hunting down that’s sold out everywhere, chances are you’ll find someone selling it—or at least something like it—here. Just make sure your searches are as specific as you’d prefer to maximize your chances of getting the best matches for what you’re looking for and you’re golden. And make sure to check user reviews and seller ratings! One concern people tend to have about eBay is the potential for scams and inauthentic items, but if you’re careful and logical, you should be able to (in my experience) avoid most of the unsavoury characters claiming to sell vintage Chanel handbags for three hundred dollars. Besides that, handle your cash with caution: As an added precaution, I always pay sellers using PayPal to ensure that I’ve got buyer’s protection in case I get burned (which hasn’t happened yet, but it’s always good to be safe). I use PayPal for everything if I can, but it’s especially important with eBay—it gives you more credibility if you happen to open up a complaint case. Or maybe not. I dunno what’s up now with the recent division of eBay and PayPal into two separate companies, but I’ve always paid with PayPal in the past and gotten great results every time.
There are tons of options out there—these are just the three I use most. I’m a huge fan of online shopping, so thrift surfing works particularly well for me—but that said, sometimes you’ve just gotta suit up, venture into the mess and the crowds, and sort through the physical items to really satisfy that thrift craving.
*FTC Disclosure: With the amount of times I’ve mentioned them in the last three paragraphs, it might seem like I was sponsored by PayPal or something to endorse them so much—but nah, man, that’s not it. I just really love PayPal. This goes for all the other companies I’ve mentioned in this post, too.