Designer Resale Stores: What Everyone Has to Know Before Going

You know that feeling you get when you put on a nice pair of premium jeans? Or, the confidence boost you experience when you give a presentation in front of your boss wearing a designer suit? That feeling is great — the toll those designer duds take on your wallet, however, is not. Fortunately, there’s a way to wear the brands you love without breaking the bank. No, you don’t need to increase your income; you just need to shop designer resale. Here’s everything you need to know about designer resale stores. Once you start scoring great deals on designer clothes, you may never step foot in a mall again.

It’s NOT a thrift shop

man wearing a suit

Man in a dapper suit | iStock.com

Designer resale stores are NOT thrift shops. Thrift shops take donations and as long as it’s remotely wearable, they’ll accept it. It doesn’t matter if it’s Armani or Kmart. Sure, you can find a John Varvatos button down shirt at one every now and then, but they’re few and far between. The only exception to this rule is if you find a thrift store in a very affluent neighborhood, you might be able to find buried treasure, but there’s no guarantee.

Designer resale stores, which are sometimes called consignment shops, sell previously owned items. Merchandise is carefully curated. Some stores only sell high-end couture, while other range from J.Crew all the way up to what you would find at Neiman Marcus or Barneys New York.

The ick factor

woman looking at clothing

You can always wash it before wearing it | iStock.com

We all have our phobias, and let’s face it — germophobic dudes tend to avoid used clothes. However, don’t let this stop you. Many resale shops have plenty of brand spanking new items with the tags still on them. And for the slightly nervous semi-germophobe, send that jacket to the dry cleaners before you wear it.

What to look for

Blue Jeans folded

Get started with jeans | iStock.com

Designer resale stores are a great place to go to build an entire wardrobe. If you haven’t shopped one before, a great item to start looking for is jeans, mostly because they’re sturdy and often in excellent to new condition. Outerwear also tends to be in good condition when resold.

When you enter, it’s always a good idea to figure out how the racks are organized (color, size, item, etc.) and only look through the relevant sections. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of time and energy sorting though items you’ll never buy. This is also a good way not get overwhelmed because resale stores require a bit more hunting than what you are probably accustomed to.

What not to buy

a rack of clothing and shoes

Take a close look at everything | iStock.com

Before you buy anything, be sure to inspect it carefully for any rips, tears, or holes. If something isn’t in good condition or the fabric is looking worn down, don’t buy it. However, if you find an otherwise perfect garment with a rip in the seam, you can take it to a tailor to be repaired. Don’t forget to point out any damages to the cashier before purchasing. You should be able to get at least a 5% to 10% discount, which can offset the price of having it fixed.

Where to buy

man making online purchases

Some stores sell online | iStock.com

Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads Trading Company are similar chains with locations throughout the U.S. There isn’t a man who can’t shop at either one of those stores because they have a range of styles, brands, and prices, including a lot of casual wear, outerwear, and jeans.

You can also find tons of designer resale stores online. One site I really like and have personally ordered from is The RealReal. They carry lots of brands, including very high-end ones like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. It’s also one of the few sites to put things on sale, so sign up for its lists and don’t ignore those emails. If you are hesitant to buy resale online, you don’t have to be with this site, as they are very specific with their descriptions and fit measurements. Its fair return policy is also a good reason to let go and pull the resale trigger.