They say that one person’s trash is another man’s treasure. So, instead of throwing away valuable items that you no longer need, you should sell them to thrift stores near you where they can be reclaimed and resold to people who need them at discounted prices.
And if you want to buy vintage fashion items at discounted prices, consider buying them from a thrift store. This article lists 6 affordable online thrift stores for vintage fashion.
What Is a Thrift Store?
In the 18th century, people hardly discarded old clothes because textiles were not readily available. But as the cities continued to grow and mass-production of clothes became the norm, wealthy urbanites started disposing of some fashion items from their closets – mainly by donating them to charity organizations. This gave rise to thrift shops – then contemptuously referred to as “junk stores”.
The first junk stores were first launched by reputable companies like Goodwill and the Salvation Army as a way of funding outreach and ministry programs.
In the 19th century, these shops became known as “thrift” stores as a way of enticing more middle-class housewives as opposed to the immigrant populations who mainly shopped there. But despite the focus on selfless and monetary benefits, thrift shops were often the focus of racist humiliations.
But this extremist behavior toward thrift shops changed after World War II because pop culture, counterculture, and high-brow culture drove people to secondhand stores to find vintage items that reflect their interests better and cost them a lot less than the modern fashion items.
Today, the baggage associated with thrift stores has disappeared completely thanks to the ongoing societal shifts and the Great Recession, which has taken a huge toll on retailers and consumers.
Currently, there are dozens if not hundreds of thriving thrift stores on the internet. So, you do not have to walk or drive around the city looking for an affordable thrift store for your vintage fashion needs.
Is Thrifting Bad?
The current social media boom has brought new possibilities and opportunities to make an extra dime. For example, it has become quite common for people to resell their old clothes and other fashion items on social media platforms.
But some people feel that thrift shopping is unethical, especially because some thrift shops are selling second-hand items at exorbitant prices, defeating the logic behind thrift shopping. Remember that thrift stores were initially designed to help low-income earners access quality clothing at low prices.
Others argue that reselling second-hand fashion items will lower their accessibility to low-income earners because it will force thrift stores to raise their prices due to the rising demand and the number of people willing to pay higher prices for vintage items. But does this mean that thrift shops are all bad? The answer is, absolutely not.
Thrift shopping has proved to be one of the most effective ways to save the environment because items that could end up in landfills are finding their way back to the stores. Furthermore, thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army use the money they earn to fund their charity programs around the world, including offering disaster relief and distributing food to the hungry.
Six Affordable Online Thrift Stores
Based in Brooklyn, New York, Etsy is one of the most successful online thrift stores, with a wide range of products for adults and children, including clothes, shoes, bags, and other fashion accessories. This certified B Corp is a perfect way to support small businesses and local sellers because most of the products are from individuals or retail shops, with climate-neutral shipping.
2. Patagonia Worn Wear
If you are looking for affordable second-hand clothes to keep you warm when you are outdoors, then Patagonia Worn Wear is the right place to look. This online store is based in Ventura, CA, and it sells used Patagonia clothes and accessories that are usually traded in by the brand’s enthusiasts. The store repairs or recycles the traded-in clothes and gives Worn Wear credits in exchange.
Its repaired collections include clothes manufactured from other worn out or faulty garments returned to the warehouse by customers. So, instead of throwing your old or worn-out Patagonia clothes away, you should trade them in for credits. The store has something for both adults and children.
3. Beyond Retro
This thrift store, whose offices are based in the UK, sells adult and children’s apparel, fashion accessories, shoes, and bags. It is a one-stop-shop for all your vintage fashion needs, especially if you love brands with a vision. This store’s primary mission is to reduce, reuse, and reclaim 10 billion items.
Another notable thing about Beyond Retro is the fact that it uses eco-friendly packaging and carries an upcycled reworked collection. With this online thrift store, you are guaranteed to find the rarest vintage fashion apparel, including the 1970s paisley blouses and the Hawaiian style button-downs for men.
Depop is a London-based online thrift store that stocks a wide range of fashion items for adults and kids, including apparel, intimates, accessories, shoes, and bags.
It is a global marketplace for vintage and second-hand fashion items, bringing together over 30 million vendors, creatives, stylists, collectors, designers, and fashion influencers from all corners of the globe. Its interface resembles that of Instagram, allowing sellers and buyers to interact directly through comments, likes, direct messages, and follows.
It also allows you to search for your favorite pieces using hashtags. The store’s main objective is to make fashion more inclusive, diverse, and less wasteful. It also helps to reduce landfills by reclaiming old items.
Based in Downers Grove, IL, Swap.com sells adult and children’s apparel, accessories, shoes, plus-size, and maternity items. This store has been featured by Vogue, The Wall Street, and The Today Show. It is also one of the most affordable online marketplaces for second-hand and vintage items.
Swap.com boasts a vast catalog with over two million high-quality products and unique products. Buying your fashion items from Swap.com will not only help you appear more fashion-forward but also help to recycle textiles and keep waste out of landfills.
Based in Los Angeles, California, Tradesy was founded by women for women. It stocks a wide range of vintage fashion items for adult women, including apparel, accessories, luxury brands, wedding attire, shoes, and bags. This thrift store is known to carry designer brands such as Gucci, Rolex, and Loius Vuitton.
With this online thrift store, you can expect nothing but 100 percent authentic labels. It also offers free returns and works with Affirm for payment plans. Tradesy is the easiest and most affordable way to splurge on your favorite vintage sets whenever you want.
4 Tips for Choosing the Best Online Thrift Store
1. Know Exactly What You Need
Before you start looking for the best online thrift store, you need to ask yourself these questions: Do I need luxury or budget-friendly second-hand brands? Do I need vintage or contemporary items, or something in between? These questions will help you to narrow down your search so that you can only go through thrift stores that reflect your needs.
2. Prepare a List
Identify gaps in your wardrobe and prepare a list of the items you need. That way, you will only focus on stores that offer what you need. However, do not limit yourself to the list when you are shopping around.
3. Look for Your Favorite Brands
If you didn’t know, some of the top fashion brands have second-hand online stores. Some have also partnered with specific retail stores to sell their vintage and second-hand products. So, before you look anywhere else, you should search for familiar brands.
4. Read Online Reviews
Before you commit to any online thrift store, it is important to read as many reviews as possible. That way, you will have an idea of what to expect from the store. Reviews help you to understand how other customers feel about the store.