if you want new clothes for spring, do it this way

 

Here’s a stat that has made me think differently about clothes shopping: We trash 26 billion pounds of clothes a year, and textile waste is expected to increase 60% by 2030.

There are enough awesome clothes on this planet – let’s wear them! That’s one reason why I like thredUP. The other reason it that it saves me ridiculous amounts of money on clothes.

thredUP is the largest online thrift store and sells brands like Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, J.Crew, Banana Republic, DKNY, Cole Haan, Theory, and more, for up to 90% off estimated retail.

Instead of having to dig through racks of stuff you may or may not end up liking, thredUP makes it super easy to shop! You can save your sizes, search by brand, style, price and more to find exactly what you’re looking for – all from your couch. They add thousands of new items everyday so, there’s always something new to find. And everything I’ve received from them has been in excellent condition – they triple-check every item for quality, and lots of items are still new with tags.

In my most recent order, I got dresses from Theory, Brooks Brothers, and Shoshanna, a BCBG Max Azria skirt, Cole Hann shoes, and much more. In total, I got nine items for $177.53, saving over $1,665 off estimated retail price.

When I shop thredUP, I buy stuff that I’d never buy if it were full price. Sorry, Nanette Lepore dress, I like you but I am not going to pay $398 for you. I will pay $35.99 for you, though. That’s the kind of savings I’m talking about.

If you want to check out thredUP yourself, they’re offering an extra 30% off your first order to the first 100 readers to use my code MANAGER. (Terms apply.) Click here to shop.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by thredUP. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

{ 70 comments… read them below }

  1. Itsamea*

    I love ThredUp! Tip: it’s EXCELLENT if you have an item you love but bought years ago. I have work pants from some very obscure label found at TJ Maxx 4+ years ago and they’re nearing threadbare status. I was able to put my size and the label name into ThredUp and get 6 new (to me) pairs – EXACTLY the kind I love!!! I think ThredUp really shines when you know exactly what you are looking for (size, brand as written on the tag – e.g. Mango is MNG). It can get costly if you buy, try on, and return, because of the restocking fees. Still, it’s a great option!

    1. Sally*

      I do this, too – with shoes! I used to buy all of my shoes at Payless because my feet are very wide, and they have my size. Now Payless is out of business, so whenever I see a pair of one of the Payless brands on ThredUp, I buy it!

      I also used ThredUp when I unexpectedly gained weight and needed new work clothes in another size in a hurry. My only caveat is that their measuring is not always exact. I bought a pair of jeans that were supposed to be 38″ in the waist, which is a tiny bit too big, but I thought I could live with it. They actually had a 40″ waist (I measured), so I returned them. So I take the measurements with a grain of salt and don’t buy “final sale” items any more.

      But in general, I have to say that I LOVE ThredUp because I can get nice clothes at low prices online. You can filter by your sizes, the condition of the clothes, brands, colors, styles, sleeve length, etc.

  2. IT But I Can't Fix Your Printer*

    My newest use of ThredUp: maternity clothes! Not worth it to buy new clothes when my body is changing so quickly and I might only wear them a few times. I also plan to get lots of baby clothes there for the same reason. :)

    1. Arielle*

      Honestly they are not great for baby clothes! Baby stuff is ALWAYS on sale, and I have seen stuff cheaper new from Carter’s or Old Navy than ThredUp has it used. However, it was great to be able to just bundle up my maternity clothes and send them all out of the house at once! I ordered the closet cleanout bag weeks before the baby was due so I’d have it ready.

      1. Janey-Jane*

        My tip on baby clothes: Check out the outlet tab on Thredup. It’s much cheaper, and they almost always seem to be running “20 outlet items, get 50%”, which is about as good of a deal as you’ll find.

        The main baby section, with no coupons…yeah, I can do better.

      2. ElizabethJane*

        The counter point to this is that shopping at Old Navy and Carters is contributing to the fast fashion industry and the fallout related to that. Not only are these factories massive climate change contributors but they are also horrible to work in – just last week 7 people died in a factory due to poor working conditions. Clothing shouldn’t cost $2 brand new.

        I know, I know, “But what about the people who can’t afford it”. Fine. The people who can’t afford it need to have low cost options. But if someone can afford to spend a bit more (or has access to a thrift store where they can buy used) they should do so as a good member of society. Your (general you, not you specifically) “right” to cheap clothing is not more valuable than someone’s right to not die producing said cheap clothing.

        1. Jennifer Juniper*

          If you’re a plus-sized woman, thrift stores can be a nonstarter. Yes, I know. Lose weight. But losing weight takes time and is not possible for everyone due to disability, medication side effects, etc.

          1. Andraste's Knicker Weasels*

            There’s a resale shop near me called Hips and is for clothes sizes 12 and up (I know they have at least to size 30). I love that place so much!

  3. Stormy Weather*

    Thank you for this. They have some pretty things, though I notice that many of the items don’t have the fabric content on them. As someone of a certain age with occasional hot flashes, I need to know what I’m buying.

    1. Minimal Pear*

      You can sort by fabric content with the filters on the side! It’s not perfect but I use it and it does help.

      1. Stormy Weather*

        Thank you! I was browsing on my phone and didn’t see that. I’ll check when I’m home and on my laptop.

      2. DataGirl*

        I have noticed that the fabric content is pretty good on dresses and pants, not always available for tops and sweaters. I like natural fabrics and thredUp has let me buy way more wool, cashmere, and silk than I could ever afford normally. :D

  4. clothing questions*

    Anyone here able to speak about the quality difference between a brand like Nanette Lepore vs getting something in the $60 range at JC Penny/Kohls? I’m interested in buying better quality, which to me means that the garment feels more “solid”. Like, the fabric feels more substantial or structured. Also zippers – smooth and easy to zip. I’m also interested in higher end fabrics. A lot of the Kohls/Penny’s pieces feel pretty decent, but they’re heavy polyester and they make me sweat, especially when they’re lined. I’m noticing a lot of the lighter weight pieces now are primarily Rayon, which I generally like for the first few wears, but Rayon just doesn’t age well. It gets fuzzy and pill-y.

    Thoughts?

    1. Anonnnnn*

      It really depends on the specific brand that you get at JCP or Kohls. Price is not always indicative of quality.

    2. WearingManyHats*

      If you are able to, go to a fancy department store like Nordstrom or Saks that carries the brands you are interested in. I pick a busy day so no one tries to sell me anything and then just try on a bunch of items. This will give you the start to learn about what brands fit you and how the fabrics are different. Now you are equipped to look for stuff online that will fit and is of better quality (you’ll still get duds but you’ll have better luck). You’ll be able to find quality pieces faster in discount or thrift stores when you know what nicer fabric looks and feels like.

      I am too sweaty for polyester and wear predominately natural fibers–used is the only way I can afford it!

        1. DataGirl*

          Me 3! Natural fibers all the way. I usually limit my search to Ann Taylor, Talbots, Gap, and other higher end stores. I feel like the quality does outweigh cheaper brands.

    3. Now in the Job*

      Honestly, as someone who loves fabric and is a hobby seamstress and hates buying ready-to-wear clothing because of quality issues, JC Penny and Kohls are nowhere NEAR nicer brands on the quality spectrum. Even if the fabric feels more substantial or structured–that’s probably because of the polyester, not because of the quality. Rayon ages beautifully–if it’s a good quality base fabric, but cheaper ANY kind of fabric just doesn’t age as well.

      If you’re looking for something a bit lower on the range of prices but higher on the quality marker, I would look more at what you find at Lord & Taylor. You can get coupons and stack them on sales to get pretty decent prices, even on clearance. For example–I have four merino wool cardigans that I bought in 2016 from L&T during some sales, got them for around $80 each (over the course of a few months). They are still going strong, and I *literally* wear them every day in the winter time, from about October through about April. I bought one sweater from Old Navy in 2018 and in less than six months of occasional wear, it was stretched and losing its shape and needing to be replaced.

    4. Sighhhh*

      It’s hard to speak too definitively if I don’t know certain brands, but I will tell you that there is oftentimes a very tangible difference in quality. For example, I love suede and suedette things, and I’m in the market for a suede moto jacket. Because I’m, er, thorough, I went to about 8 different stores before settling on my choice, but for frame of reference, let’s compare Kohl’s, Nordstrom Rack, and Allsaints brand.

      Kohl’s has some cute suedette jackets in their Lauren Conrad collection. Priced at $50 (not including ya Kohl’s Cash!), it’s an absolute steal! But…it feels not great. It’s incredibly thin and totally unlined, and while the cut is true to size, it’s boxy and unflattering. The stitching is haphazard and it’s not real suede. I would expect it to last me exactly one season–not bad for the price, but then I’d have to go get another suede jacket next year.

      Nordstrom Rack also has cute suede jackets. One of their brands, BlankNYC, has excellent jacket options with real suede priced at around $188, but often discounted to ~$100. You can immediately see the difference here–these jackets are lined, have MUCH better hardware, and the zippers zip smoothly. The material feels thick and substantial, and the cut is flattering and hip.

      Allsaints is on another level, with gorgeous suede jackets priced at around $400. Not an impulse purchase for most of us, but they’r built to last. The suede is buttery soft, and the hardware on the jacket is the best you can buy. It’s lined, the stitching is immaculate, and the cut is timeless and hip. Truly top of the line, bar big name designer options like Saint Laurent.

      I went with the Nordstrom Rack coat. But, truly, you can often tell the difference in quality just on visuals. Shop around, feel things with your hands, try them on, visit stores you might not normally go into just for the experience of comparing quality! Hope this helped put it in perspective.

  5. Thankful for AAM*

    I’m trying to shop but I am caught in a loop – it says, unlock 30% off for AAM readers and then asks me to log in. I don’t have an account so I click sign up, and it takes me back to the box that says unlock 30% off. I cannot move forward with signing up, I cannot shop, I cannot access the page really. Any advice?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I believe you have to register before you can shop (which I know is annoying to a lot of people) but in my experience they don’t spam you at all once you register.

    2. scratchedagain*

      I had to go to the basic thredup.com url in order to be able to successfully register, it never let me do so with any of Allison’s link – just dumped me into the same eternal loop.

    3. Marthooh*

      Try closing the ThredUp page; go to ThredUp dot com and sign up from their home page; close that page (after you’ve verified your account, if they say so); and come back here to click through for the 30% off. (I’m pretty sure it’s more helpful to Alison to get there from here for the actual shopping.)

      1. Thankful for AAM*

        I did do all that. Closed everything and still got caught in the loop. But eventually it let me change my password. I swear I have never even looked at the thredup page before but ok, I changed the password. The regular main page is offering 50% off? Not sure if that is just a regular thing they say and AAM’s 30% off is a real deal or what.

        Hats off to those of you who can order clothes online! I got frustrated searching and key to me would be filtering by length, I’m short! Did I miss that option?

        I really wanted it all to work for me. I’ll give it a go another time.

  6. snuggly doob*

    I just started using ThredUp but even with the filtering, the results seem overwhelming. Any tips? I’ve tried searching for specific brands but it’s still turning up tons of results.

    1. Liz*

      Try NOT filtering by brand. But size, item etc. and maybe color? that helps narrow it down. I wish their filtering had a drop down for brands, but they don’t seem to; and you end up having to put in brands you think you might want to search for, BUT probably end up missing a lot that you might not know about.

    2. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

      Try searching by “local warehouse” – you get cheaper shipping and there will be fewer results.

    3. IvyGirl*

      Save your sizes first so that it only will show items that are likely to fit you.

      Then filter by condition. I only will buy like new or tags-on items of clothing.

      Then, sort by price. I do high to low, as there usually isn’t a terrible amount of really high priced things.

      You can also do saved searches where it returns only things that you are specifically looking for – denim wrap skirt, faux leather leggings, etc.

    4. ThredUp optimizer*

      I’ve been using ThredUp for the last three years at least…this is what I do. First, I have a pretty good idea of what I’m shopping for – TU is great for this. It’s less great for stumbling on a new idea, because there’s just so much volume.
      Set your My Sizes – don’t even look at things that aren’t close to fitting. I set up Saved Searches that filter for, say, “tan cashmere cardigan” in saved My Sizes, filtered by the top price I will pay. I zoom through those results (usually on my phone) hearting anything that looks plausible until I exhaust the results. Then I look more carefully using the My Favorites tab to compare the hearted items.
      Beware, ThredUp will email/mobile notify you when new results for Saved Searches occur, which can be annoying, but they let you turn that off in Settings.

  7. Alli*

    a previous thredup post here on AAM about a year ago got me intrigued, and I ended up using the site to build out my professional wardrobe in preparation for my gender transition at work. i had no trouble at all and it was a great way to get what I needed with a minimum of friction.

    they are great and I recommend them wholeheartedly – at this point a good 80% or more of my daily outfits are from thredup or other thrifting.

  8. CountryLass*

    Aww, just found out they do not ship to the UK… Anyone know of a similar UK site, apart from eBay?

    1. Tamz*

      Yes! Thrift+ is great. It’s still smaller than ThredUp because it’s only been around for a few years but it’s still great. They do everything from premium high street (like Ted Baker) to proper fancy brands.

      And they’re a social enterprise so a portion of each sale goes to charity.

      https://thrift.plus/

    2. Tamz*

      Yep! Thrift+ is a UK version of this – added bonus, they are a social enterprise so a portion of each sale goes to charity.

      1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

        I’ve bought a few things from there. My problem is that I need to try stuff on, and having to return it and pay a restock fee isn’t worth it. If it’s a brand I know will fit then I might try it, but sizes are arbitrary and for me it depends on the store.

  9. Anon4This*

    I love ThredUp, I started shopping there after seeing a similar post on AAM a while back- I have GI issues that cause me to gain/lose weight rapidly so one day I’m a size 2 the next I’m a 6. ThredUp has let me get enough clothes in a variety of sizes that I can always find something to wear to work. I’ve also invested in some nice dresses and things I would never buy full-price.

  10. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

    On the opposing end, I’ve used thredUP to get rid of clothes I no longer wear. I live in an area with no local thrift stores, not even a Goodwill or Salvation Army, and so donating used clothes is almost impossible. With thredUP, I get a bag, fill it with anything I don’t want anymore but can’t justify just trashing, and they sell it or recycle it for me. I don’t have to take my own pictures or determine what its level of wear is or whatever, unlike stuff like eBay or Poshmark.

    You only get a tiny percentage of the sale price (ex: I sell a dress that was $80 retail, it gets sold on thredUP for $15, I might get $1.50), but I’m not using it to make money, I’m using it to get rid of stuff.

    1. Mrs B*

      I’ve filled a couple of clean out bags too, very easy, shipping label and postage included. Clothes I was just going to give away I make enough money to get (or get even cheaper) one thing I really want or can use.

    2. Glitsy Gus*

      I think this is an important thing for folks to understand. This isn’t consignment in the traditional sense, you aren’t really going to make any real money. It’s more like they give you a small “thank you” for taking the time to send your stuff to them rather than dropping it at Goodwill.

      If you have really nice stuff that you want to try to make money off of, try Poshmark or The RealReal.

    3. Kisses*

      Clothes Mentor has a decent trade/buy amount. $60 shoes retail, $12-15 gently used price, customer who sold gets $4.80-5.60.

      Sorry I’ll quit spamming my jam store.

  11. anna green*

    I first learned about thredup here and have started using it and it’s great! I have a michael kors dress and a coach bag that I would never have been able to afford otherwise. I have lots of regular stuff too from there. They’re also pretty good with returns if stuff doesn’t fit.

  12. Quiznakit*

    How is the selection for plus-size clothing? And I’m not talking “14-18” plus size, I’m talking plus-size. I wouldn’t mind having some nicer clothes, but that gets challenging for fat ladies such as myself.

    1. Glitsy Gus*

      It’s hit or miss, honestly.

      I’m a size 22 and I’ve found a few cute things on there, including a really great wool blazer that still had the tags on it and a beautiful, soft wool and silk cardigan, but I’m not going to lie, I had to wade through a whole lot of those weird, Rhine-stoned T-shirts that are screen printed with the fabric folded (who came up with that and why is it so ubiquitous in plus size???) that were obviously sent in as part of a store liquidation or something. It’s really clear they have much lower acceptance standards for larger sizes in order to keep overall stock quantity high. There is way more Old Navy and other lower end brands than you see in the straight size section.

      Ultimately, I would say give it a go, but it’s going to be a lot like regular thrift shopping- sifting through a lot of crap to find the few gems.

    2. M Dubz*

      I’m a size 20-22, and I’ve found a bunch of well-constructed items for relatively cheap and in natural fabrics, which is important to me. Including stuff like a nice leather jacket, a pair of red skinny jeans, and some really gorgeous wool sweaters, which is stuff I have difficulty finding in stores like Lane Bryant. That being said, you have to be willing to sift for the gems, and to return stuff.

  13. Gail Davidson-Durst*

    Alison, I don’t know what guidelines they give you for sponsored posts, but if possible you might want to mention their range of sizes! I was pleasantly surprised that they had plenty of stuff in my size (22/2x), and they’re now my go-to source for fun blazers, which are part of my staple work wardrobe.

  14. Annie*

    I cannot recommend the Goody Boxes enough! I’m not sure if the promo works with them, but I love ThredUp and it’s the only way I go. You can select a “make your own” box, and you choose ten (TEN!) items from your home warehouse for them to ship to you to try on. It’s a $10 deposit, which gets deducted the price of any items you keep.

    It’s great because my main issue with online shopping, esp. thrift/consignment, is that you really do need to try on. And at ThredUp, they have a $1.99 restocking fee for any single item returns – so you can return, but it’ll add up if you’re doing multiple items.

    I save searches for brands I like, in my home warehouse, and scroll and favorite over the course of a few weeks – then bundle it all up into a goody box. It’s a great way to go out of your comfort zone and try on things you’re not quite sure will fit – I found a fantastic, like-new Tory Burch dress I added on a whim for $80, retailed for $700!

    Thanks for coming to my ThredUp TED talk!!!!!!

  15. Researchalator Lady*

    No for Canadians. I don’t know of a comparable service for online shopping; I have the most luck with 3 things: 1. eBay, with a couple of US sellers that I follow avidly selling display models, odds and ends, seasons leftovers, etc., 2. Macy’s sales with Borderfree shipping, and 3. Goodwill shops in large cities.

    1. Kes*

      Yeah, you can shop ThredUp from Canada (have done this) but since shipping costs are so high you really need several items to make it worth it and then you hope they fit because shipping costs for return make it pretty much not worthwhile – I generally assume I would just donate anything that doesn’t work out. I do wish they had an actual Canadian version (ie had a Canadian warehouse)

      Poshmark does have a Canadian version but unlike ThredUp it’s not consolidated in a warehouse – you’re shopping someone’s closet and have to pay shipping to send whatever items you want to buy from there. Item prices are a bit higher than ThredUp, shipping is lower since it’s fixed at $13 but often will be higher per item since it may be more difficult to find as many items to buy together from one person’s closet. I find Poshmark more worthwhile for higher value items, unless you find a particular closet with a lot of items you like, whereas ThredUp I more find value in getting multiple items.

      Ebay is definitely an option as well, although obviously you have to know what you’re looking for more and shipping costs from outside Canada can again be high, although it varies.

      To be honest most of these can’t really compare for value to shopping at actual thrift stores in my experience (Salvation Army/Goodwill/Value Village), but they can be more convenient and it depends on the thrift stores around and what kind of items you’re looking for.

  16. JB (not in Houston)*

    I have used thredup and will do so again in the future, but a word of warning to the scent-sensitive: I have before received some items that had been washed with a heavily scented detergent, or else had been sprayed with perfume. It made everything in the box stink of the same perfume-y smell. I returned most of the items but kept the culprit in the hopes that I could get the scent out. No matter what I tried, that smell persisted, and I ended up having to give the item away because I couldn’t wear it without getting a headache. (I’ve also received an item that smelled pretty heavily of cigarette smoke). Overall, it’s worth the risk to me; some of my favorite clothes came from thredup. But if you are highly sensitive to scents, you should know going in that sometimes items won’t work out for you and you’ll have to return them, even if they fit perfectly.

    1. Dee Em*

      That happened to me a couple of years ago with a sweater I received from thredup. It smelled like a combination of faint cigarette smoke and a strong fabrezy kind of scent. But the bad smell did wash out after a while. I haven’t gone back and tried thredup again until today.
      I just tried to use promo code “manager” for today’s purchase and it wouldn’t work. Maybe a hundred people have already used it? It did give me another promo code for being a returning customer though, so that was nice. Three shirts ended up costing $30.00 (including shipping). From Gap, Macy’s and J Crew. One brand new with tags!

  17. AwsomeRandGMom*

    On the cleaning-out rather than stocking-up side of the comments, this weekend Talbots stores are accepting “nearly new workwear” donations for “dress for success”, a worldwide organization that supports women towards economic independence including the providing of interview / job appropriate attire.

  18. Gig-less Data Analyst*

    ThredUp is my absolute go-to for shoes, as I wear a size 5 which is almost impossible to find in a brick and mortar retail store. Fashionable, quality shoes made of leather – as someone who exclusively shopped at Payless for most of their lives, I could hardly imagine the luxury of shoes that don’t fall apart after a couple of years. They were having a big blowout last year and I scored a pair of vintage Balenciaga, Emporio Armani and Manolo Blahnik heels for about $120 for all three pair.

    But honestly, I’ve built an amazing wardrobe and accessory collection (I’m a sucker for purses) that I could never, ever afford otherwise. I purged a bunch of cheap, worn out clothes and replaced them with beautiful and much higher quality pieces that make me feel professional and polished for both work and interviews.

  19. Jay*

    LOVE ThredUp. I had bariatric surgery two years ago and when I was losing rapidly, I shopped almost exclusively at ThredUp. I also sent a bunch of stuff off to them as it got too big – I didn’t make much money but it got it out of my house with no effort at all. As others have said, it works best when you know what size you are in specific brands. My size has been stable now for months and I still cruise the site for pieces from expensive brands – all my Eileen Fisher comes from there, and most of my Banana Republic clothing as well. I bought my first piece of BR from ThredUp, having never shopped in the store before because they don’t do plus sizes, and was kind of horrified to see the prices in the store.

  20. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

    How do you figure out sizing when there are so many brands? Depending on what I’m buying, I range from an xs to a medium, or a 2-8, and I don’t always know what I’ll be in what brand, so I almost never buy online unless I’m very familiar with how a particular line of clothing fits me

  21. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

    How do you figure out what size is right? If i go into a new store, I’ll be trying on clothing from size 4 to size 8 to figure out what fits, so I almost never buy clothes online

  22. Kisses*

    I know this is helping you out Alison, and it’s awesome cause you’re a boss in every sense of the word.
    I just wanna throw out Clothes Mentor as well- designer tops as low as $6, pants for about $12, and shoes as low as $12. They also buy your stuff, and it’s done same day usually. If you have one in town check it out! (Yeah, I worked for Winmark for a decade. Once Upon a Child and CM)

  23. Loose Seal*

    Does it have men’s clothes? I’d love for my husband to be able to get a suit that looks nice on him. We just have the local JCPenney, etc. type stores plus tailoring at the dry cleaners. But I want something for him that has better fabric, seams, etc. without having to get a custom suit.

  24. Wakeens Teapots LTD*

    UGH. I was too busy to read AAM yesterday and I see I have missed an

    I LOVE THREDUP session.

    god I love ThredUp!

    I lost a substantial amount of weight and needed to buy an entire new wardrobe. I have been able to get most everything I need from ThredUp, nice clothes at a fraction of the cost + I am helping the environment. And I save the pretty tissue paper and reuse it! Cannot say enough good things.

  25. The answer is (probably) 42*

    They still don’t ship to my country :'( I sometimes use forwarding services for lightweight items like cosmetics but for clothes I’m pretty sure it would cost an arm and a leg. Hopefully eventually they’ll expand their shipping options!

  26. Ck*

    Is the site for only women’s clothes, or men and women?

    It only has pictures of women’s clothes on the front page, and can’t look without signing up… I don’t want to sign up if there are no men’s clothes.

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