The Dish: After you've purged your closet of the gems you'll never wear (if you haven't worn it in six months and it isn't seasonal, give it up!) via clothes swapping, there's always the option of selling your stylish duds to local resale shops. When it comes to trading in cast-offs for must-haves, no one knows more than Editorial Assistant Liz Miller. Clothes are to her as biscuits are to me, so you know she knows what's up. In a very special guest post, Liz shares the secrets to the resale retail industry.
5 Secrets for Selling Your Clothes
By Liz Miller
1. Case the Joint. Okay, so not in the 1930s-bank-heist way, but casing out a resale shop should always be the first step to crafting a discerning seller's eye. Every secondhand store has its niche, from name brand buyers to vintage purveyors. So, after performing an intensive wardrobe inventory, separate items by style and figure out which clothes will garner the most value from varying shops.
2. Buyer's Market. Vintage-friendly shops are less likely to care about retail labels, meaning that they want your cute Forever 21 party dresses as well as your grandma's old school Dooney & Burke purses, but have no use for your collection of J. Crew khakis. Save those for the brand focused boutiques, which look for current styles and routinely check the season/year listed (example: SUM08 indicates summer 2008) on the inside tag to determine value. Carefully cut these tags out of older, still stylish apparel.
3. Time of the Season. Most stores only buy by season, so it's crucial to call ahead to find out what items a store is currently buying. If you're set on making a dime on out-of-season items, save them until the appropriate season comes around.
4. Stealthy Shopper. If you've had bad luck selling clothes in the past, consider rethinking your strategy and scouting bargains to buy and sell. Use your shrewd sensibilities to shop for buried treasures at thrift stores, where nothing is off limits based on size or personal style—if it looks trendy, it's worth the investment. Remember to also keep an eye out for hidden high-end gems.
5. On the Mend. If some of your cast-off clothes need small repairs, take the time to fix them before hauling them away to sell. Sewing new buttons onto a cardigan or quickly stitching up a small hole are easy ways to upgrade old pieces of clothing. For super-faded items, buy a cheap box of RIT dye at Walgreens and give those dull duds a washing machine makeover.
The Final Word: It's all about understanding the resale shop at which you're trying to sell. If you make an effort to play the game, you'll be rewarded Mario-style with more than a few gold coins—or, more realistically, dolla' dolla' bills.