Where to Shop Secondhand: A Curated Go-To Guide For Beginners

Not in the mood to pay full price on something that’s already in store? Bummed that you FOMO’d on a cute pair of jeans from Cotton Citizen because they sold out? This weekend, use this opportunity to treat yourself to some secondhand treasures.

If you think that shopping for secondhand items feels gross, don’t let that turn you away from adding your soon-to-be newly favored fashion statement. No stranger to being a seasoned shopper for all things secondhand, I actually buy a lot of pre-owned things because it’s generally cheaper than the items that are new in store.  Also, shopping secondhand items can save up more land from being used as a dumping ground. From the 10+ years of experience that I’ve gained from shopping secondhand, the greatest thing about it is that you are giving the financial support to an individual seller/store.

Whether it’s an app or an online marketplace, here are my favorite places to go secondhand shopping:

  1. Basic Space

This is not your average reselling app. Instead of having to fish through thousands of storefronts, you are here to shop directly from the closets of models, musicians, designers, influencers and entrepreneurs. Inside the app, you are going through a (hyper) curated selection of apparel based on the individual seller’s inventory.

Given that each seller has a different aesthetic and unique personality to boot, you are going to encounter a selection of vintage, newly pre-owned and/or brand new items. However, you should know what you are looking for before you shop as you have to search through various stores to find the item you want.

In regards to whose closet you should shop at, I highly recommend Caroline Vreeland’s closet for high fashion finds.

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If you want cute and casual basics, look no further than Charlotte McKinney’s closet.

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Or, if you are an aspiring CEO in the making, Sophia Amoruso’s closet is filled with work-appropriate apparel.

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Last but not least, if you count the Spice Girls as your style twin, raid Sami Miro’s closet for a healthy mix of sweet, spicy, posh and sporty styles.

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Pros:

  • Easy to navigate
  • Immediate payment
  • Helpful customer service
  • Package will arrive on time

Cons:

  • Can’t get in touch with the seller directly. You have to get in touch with the Basic Space team to assist you with your questions.
  • Can’t add more than one item in the cart
  • International shipping is costly

2. Etsy

As the Amazon for the hipsters, you’ll stumble upon handmade and vintage goods. Blessed with many stores and eye-catching merch from all around the world, you will get immediately distracted. Trust me, it’s literally the most addictive website! (Just ask Courtney Love!!)

What I truly love about Etsy is that it’s a place for small businesses. No matter which store you go to, each one expresses the vision, character and expertise of the owner. As someone who owns an Etsy store (a.k.a. Soeng Signature), I mainly tailor it to sell vintage and handmade items. What’s awesome about Etsy is that you can shop for a variety of things whether it’s furniture, old movie posters, art, etc. But if you want to shop, it all boils down to what you are looking for.

Apart from my own store, other vintage stores I love include Shop Exile and FLUFF SHOP.I mainly go to Shop Exile for cute babydoll dresses whereas I hit up FLUFF SHOP for statement outerwear (like that iconic yellow feathered coat).

shop exile
This shop has a varied selection of casual and dressy essentials

 

fluffshopp
Get the party started with the hottest gear 

If you are into DIY, I mainly hit up Awesome Wares for my endless supply of vintage (and new) patches.

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Pros:

  • Stores offer you sweet discount deals that can help you save some $
  • Sellers are very responsive
  • Diversity of merchandise

Cons:

  • Not all stores ship internationally
  • Some listings only offer one quantity
  • Searching for the item with a good deal and a good price takes forever to find

3. Instagram

I cannot tell you how many times I spent hours looking at this app. Although it’s not good for me to stare at my phone all day, I gotta admit that perusing through vintage clothing is an excuse that deserves a pass. While there’s a lotta vintage boutiques to filter down, there are only a few that I actually like.

If you want to score some groovy goods from the ’60s to ’70s, look no further than The Junk Fairy OK, which is owned by Debbie Ellis, a former vice president at a Fortune 500 company. Not to forget, she is the secret go-to girl for Miley Cyrus’ vintage collection! However, you can only shop at her stall in Bad Granny at Oklahoma City. If you happen to live outside of OKC, just DM her what you want and she’ll get back to you ASAP!

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Shall you look to spend your hard earned dinero on red hot retro designer gear, splurge your paycheck on The Corner Store, which is run by Stacey Nishimoto. As a former makeup artist/stylist at Nasty Gal, Nishimoto’s sensual eye for vintage apparel makes her stand out in a sea of streetwear resellers. Be warned: each piece sells out *very* fast, so make sure you call dibs first before anyone else gets your dream dress!

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Another store I admire is called Shop Girlfood, which sells wearable statement pieces from top notch designers like Jean Paul Gaultier to Vivienne Westwood. You absolutely have to give it a follow, dude! Even though her main store is in Depop, you can slide into her DM. 😉

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Last but not least, I swear by The Zoo, which is owned by Christine Messersmith, a Germany-based expat. Compared to most vintage boutiques, Messersmith picks out her pieces based on where she’s currently located whether it’s in Berlin, Paris or anywhere around Europe. If you want to order her goods, just type in the postal code under the comments section!

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Pros:

  • You have the option to zoom into the photos
  • Great visual presentation
  • Easy communication with the store owner

Cons:

  • Some shipments take time to arrive due to customs
  • You can’t return an item if it cannot fit you
  • You have to set your clock to the time of the shop’s location if you want to get an item ASAP

4. Carousell

As Southeast Asia’s answer to Depop and eBay (minus the auction aspect), the Singapore-based app is where everyone lets go of their items be it a car or barely used makeup. What’s great about this app is that you can find a lot of items at dirt cheap prices! Be it a pair of vintage Levi’s 501s or a secondhand Louis Vuitton purse, you’ll have your luck over there.

Similar to Basic Space, you are shopping from an individual seller; however, you will just be shopping from civilians like ourselves.

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This is my Carousell shop (@lapisandlayers)

Pros:

  • You can meet up the seller in person
  • You have the option to pay in cash
  • Easy to get the item you want
  • It will notify you if a seller is reliable and responsive
  • Prices are negotiable

Cons:

  • The app crashes a LOT
  • Some items are marketed as “vintage” when in reality, it’s just a vintage-inspired garment
  • Not all owners are responsive on time

5. eBay

As my top guilty pleasure for secondhand utopia, let’s not overlook the OG of secondhand shops. Mainly used as a place where you can auction your goods, users can simply buy anything from you ASAP without the need to place a bid. Much like Carousell, you are shopping from an individual store.

Since vintage stores are varied in styles, aesthetic and prices, you will have an easier time finding the same listing at two different stores. If this is your first time using eBay, just pick whatever is the better deal.

Despite the amount of items you can find, I mainly shop at eBay for vintage concert tees. My go-to store for authentic vintage tees is Wax and Threads, a Tennessee-based store that sells band shirts to movie memorabilia tees. (Seriously, their stuff is well-photographed AND the owners are super dope folks!)

wax and threads
Don’t you wanna buy everything from Wax and Threads?! 

Pros:

  • Cheap shipping rates
  • Easy to find duplicate listings
  • Searchable listings
  • High availability of goods
  • Sellers are reliable and willing to help you

Cons:

  • Some people spike up the price on an auctioned item
  • Most stores don’t accept refunds or returns
  • Customer is king mentality – in this case, some buyers lie just to get their money back (FYI, this is based on my experiences from selling on eBay)
  • Poorly presented listings

 

Published by

Michelle Varinata

Lapis - (n.) a layer Shrek once said that "onions have layers" as he was peeling one. Like an onion, I have layers. Born in Jakarta and raised in Singapore, I grew up being surrounded in a multicultural environment. Then, I moved to the States, where I lived in NYC and L.A. The creativity, hustle, bustle and vibe of those cities inspired me to become a blogger, journalist and influencer. Writing by day and living it up by night, I slay in the streets one OOTD at a time. Full-face makeup included, too. ;)

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