Contributors: Kaitlin Dang
We, like many of you, are addicted to online shopping. Nothing makes our day better than getting a package of cute clothes delivered to our doors. It’s even better when shopping comes with perks.
That’s where thrifting comes in.
Shopping for pre-loved clothes is not only good for your wallet, but also for the planet. With the proliferation of online consignment stores and marketplaces in 2021, scoring a covetable secondhand gem at a fraction of its original cost has never been easier. Here we’ve compiled and rated ten of the best online thrift stores to shop from today.
Thryft is not just the run-of-the-mill secondhand marketplace. Founded by two former UC Berkeley students, Thryft differentiates itself with its meticulous vetting process and emphasis on curation. They guarantee a shopping experience free of drop-shippers, scammers, and high markups that exist on other secondhand clothing sites. Thryft does not have the widest selection but makes up for it in trendiness: every item on the app is hand-picked by a team of fashion experts. The app’s coolest feature is that users can curate themed collections of Thryft items such as “Harry Potter” and “On Wednesdays We Wear Pink” and make a commission off of items that sell. Thryft is an all-rounder and is our top pick for beautiful vintage, thrift or as-seen-on-Instagram finds.
This mobile app-based marketplace for preloved apparel and accessories is a must-stop-shop for shopaholics. Their active online community and the app’s easy-to-use design has converted many customers into loyal fans. Despite its popularity, there are several downsides to the app: shipping fees are not covered by sellers, there are occasional scammers, and many photos are unclear or poorly lit. Poshmark’s review system solves most of these problems, but it is still important to do your research before making a purchase. The takeaway is that Poshmark is the app for millennial thrifters who like to shop within the sweet spot of $30.
As the e-commerce giant that transformed the way people shop, eBay is the company that made the rest of this list possible. With over 20,000,000 items available in the “Clothing, Shoes, & Accessories” category, eBay always has an impressive range of thrifting options. Although the site has its fair share of scams and quality control issues, its prices are cheaper than many other resale platforms. Moreover, eBay encourages haggling with its “Make Offer” feature — making it one of the best places to shop when on a budget.
Unlike Poshmark, eBay, or Thryft, thredUp is most similar to your brick-and-mortar consignment shop. thredUp has one of the biggest selections of women’s clothes and accessories and has everything from no-brand and low-end finds like Gap to high-end fashion brands like Burberry. We’re also happy to see thredUp has a vetting process that ensures every item is flaw-free. What we love most about the company is its dedication to the sustainable fashion movement with its Circular Fashion Fund and UPcycle program. thredUp is a complete fashion refresher and is a great option when on the hunt for mid-range brand names.
Described as a mix between eBay and Instagram, Depop is the premier social marketplace. Becoming a top seller on the app is a springboard to fame on YouTube or Instagram and vice versa. We thought the app was quite frustrating to use, however, the listing feed is cluttered and the search and filtering tool is subpar. Moreover, the app is home to many sellers who resell cheap items at ridiculous markups or mislabel products. Our advice is to read seller reviews and avoid simple, easily reproducible styles. For fashionistas hoping to dress like your favorite influencers or to find trendy pieces, Depop is the app for you.
6. The RealReal
If you are looking for luxury, The RealReal is the place for you. The company promises steep markdowns on luxury items that are “100% authentic”, with an emphasis on circularity. Although questions have been raised about the effectiveness of their authentication system, they have a “zero tolerance” policy on fake items and will issue you a full refund. Apparel and accessories on The RealReal are in almost-new condition and are professionally photographed, the only annoying bit is having to log-in to shop. If you avoid easily replicable pieces and do your research, shopping on The RealReal is an amazing, enjoyable experience.
Tradesy is a luxury consignor who wants designer to be affordable and accessible to everyone. Although its curated selection is primarily high-end, Tradesy also offers affordable brands such as Zara and Uniqlo. Its authentication system has a better reputation than The RealReal and will offer a full refund for counterfeits. We particularly enjoy how Tradesy items are organized in “closets”, similar to a profile where you can see all of sellers’ items and give them a follow. Tradesy is the only site on the list to have a “Weddings” category and is our favorite for ultra-classy, elegant clothing, and jewelry alike.
Vinted is a European online secondhand marketplace with a great selection at affordable prices. Although on the smaller side, it has a loyal online following who call themselves “Vinties” and who stay active through the site’s online forum. A cool feature Vinted offers is “swapping”, where members can exchange items with another member at an agreed-upon price. Sellers on Vinted have complete control over the listing and selling process, so the trendiness and item condition is strongly conditional on the seller. Another thing to note is the short 2-day time frame to request a return. Overall, Vinted is a social thrifting platform with killer steals you may not find anywhere else.
Commonly known as the platform that put a spotlight on handmade goods, Etsy is not the go-to source for preowned clothing. However, its reputation among artists and makers facilitates an emerging market for upcycled and vintage clothing — offerings unique to Etsy. We recommend making use of the platform’s stellar rating system to avoid purchasing inauthentic goods. Also, we found browsing on Etsy to be less intuitive than its competitors, its search feature is more effective when shopping for something specific. For upcycled or DIY treasures that can only be described as one-of-a-kind, Etsy is a must-shop.
Swap claims to be “Your Affordable Thrift & Consignment Store” and accomplishes just that. Many items on the site are under $10 while in great condition. Moreover, items ship in one business day ensuring you get your favorite finds as soon as possible. We found that the merchandise on Swap tends to be on the less trendy side of the list and we do not recommend this site for thrifters looking for unique, stylish options. Its range of preowned kid’s and baby’s apparel and accessories is notable, however, and Swap is hands-down the top choice when shopping for your little ones or when on a modest budget.