Tag Archives: ut campus

How To Online Thrift Like A Pro

We all have that one friend who can skillfully find almost anyone online, whether you’re searching for an old ex’s new girlfriend or a mysterious acquaintance. I have a similar talent, but rather than to people, my internet searching skills apply to finding clothing and accessories.

It all started in 10th grade when I saw a Paris Sport Club jacket on Depop when the app first began to gain popularity. I was stingy back then, and for some reason I can’t recall, decided not to spend $20, a small price to pay, on an amazing vintage jacket. 

That small decision haunted me for the next few years. Every few months I’d think of that jacket and regret having made the choice that I did. Fast forward, almost 5 years later, I am now a proud owner of a Paris Sport Club jacket, identical to the one from all those years ago.

Left: The Paris Sport Club jacket that got me into online thrifting. Image Courtesy of @Crossmyheartvintage on Depop
Right: My Paris Sport Club jacket I purchased on eBay. Image Courtesy of Lauren Breach

You see, every few months, when I’d randomly remember that jacket, I’d spend hours searching for it online. As the years went by, I refined my online searching skills and eventually learned how to find almost anything on a reselling site. While most of my friends agree I was a little too invested in finding this jacket, my ability to find prom dresses and limited edition sneakers that came out of this journey has led me to gain appreciation from my more skeptical friends. 

With Covid-19 preventing many of us from going out in the ways we used to, now is the perfect time to share some of my top tips for finding pieces online. Whether it be a toy from your childhood or a pair of jeans you’ve outgrown and miss dearly, these tips will help you find what you’re looking for.

1. Try various combinations of phrases in your searches

Oftentimes, products are listed on reselling sites without their brand names or key descriptors. For this reason, I recommend starting with a more refined search such as “black lesportsac gabrielle bag” and switching to more broad phrasing, such as “lesportsac purse” if you aren’t able to find what you’re looking for. Oftentimes, people don’t take the time to properly list items with the item name from the store they originally came from. On occasion, sometimes it’s even worth forgoing brand name altogether when looking for a piece. For example, I once found a bag posted on an influencer’s page three years ago by sorting through thousands of listings using the search “black leather purse”. It took hours but I’d argue it was 100% worth the effort since I now use that bag every single day.

Left: Ellie Thumann pictured with the black purse I was searching for online. Image Courtesy of @Elliethumann on Instagram
Right: My black purse, identical to Ellie’s bag, that I found on Poshmark for $5. Image Courtesy of Lauren Breach

2. Search various online reselling sites

Most people typically start with Depop and if their search turns up empty stop there. Depop is one of the most popular reselling apps among teenagers which is largely why it can be hard to find trendy items. It’s also not uncommon for Depop users to markup items for ridiculous prices. Just a few weeks ago I saw a Kim Possible lunchbox I had when I was seven sell for $50. I recommend searching Poshmark, Mercari, eBay and even Etsy in addition to Depop, prices are typically cheaper on these sites and they often have larger selections. 

3. Check back every few months

Sometimes, you won’t find what you’re looking for on your first go, but don’t get discouraged. It’s worth it to keep checking. Sometimes, it can take months, but the satisfaction of having found something you regretted not getting can be amazing. Every time I wear that Paris Sport Club jacket, I feel like I stepped out of one of my favorite 80s movies and the hours searching feel worth it. 

4. If all else fails, get something similar or modify a purchase

On occasion, your searches will lead you to find something even better than what you initially went searching for, so don’t forget to be open to other possibilities. Also, if you’re unable to find exactly what you’re looking for, consider getting it in a different color if available. Using dyes like RIT dye or customizing items with embroidery or patches can help you get the desired look, even if you can’t find the exact item.

At the end of the day, I always recommend shopping locally at thrift stores over going online. However, sometimes, when you can’t find what you want locally, online reselling retailers offer a great alternative. Online reselling stores also offer a second chance for thrifted and vintage items and an opportunity to support small online businesses.