I’ve found your new personal shopper

And now a word from a sponsor…

I like to buy clothes for myself, but I find myself buying the same type of thing over and over (my closet is a sea of navy tops), so I was intrigued by thredUP’s Goody Boxes — a try-before-you-buy service that acts as your own personal shopper. They learn about your style preferences, size, and budget and then send you a personalized box full of a huge amount of clothes they think you’ll like for a fraction of retail price.

As you might know, thredUP is the largest online thrift store that buys and sells high-quality clothing for women and kids. You can shop on-trend, like-new fashion from top name brands and designers for up to 90% off estimated retail.(That is a huge discount, and you could assemble a whole new wardrobe for pennies on the dollar if you wanted to.) They have a huge selection, with brands like Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Theory J.Crew, and more.

To try their Goody Boxes, you fill out a style quiz that asks you questions like what colors you do and don’t like, how you prefer items to fit (fitted, looser, etc.), how you feel about things like logos and ruffles, and lots more. You pay a $10 deposit which goes toward anything you decide to keep (and I have a discount for you at the end of this post) and they’ll send you a personalized box of 10 thrifted items hand-picked by their stylists to match your size, style, and budget. You only pay for what you keep and just return the rest (using a free return label so you don’t pay shipping). You can also tell them whether you want mainly casual clothes, business clothes, going-out clothes, or so forth. It’s not a subscription so you’re not locked in; you can just try it one time if you want.

This is where I admit that I’m pathologically picky, and I get nervous when other people try to pick things out for me, especially clothes … but I was surprised by how well they did. I’m returning a few items that weren’t for me (next time I need to say no denim jackets), but I’m keeping a ton of it, including what you see pictured, including a bunch of super comfortable skirts that I really liked from Ann Taylor, LOFT, and Marine Layer. I probably wouldn’t have picked those items out for myself but really liked them once I tried them all – which is the ideal function for a personal shopper to serve. Everything they sent was high-quality and way discounted off of retail prices.

Overall, this was an easy and fun way to get new things I’d like but might not find on my own, with someone else doing the styling.

Want to try a box yourself? thredUP is waiving the $10 deposit just for Ask A Manager readers! Use my link to order your NO deposit Goody Box today – there’s no reason not to try it out!

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

{ 59 comments… read them below }

  1. HugsAreNotTolerated*

    I’ve thought about ThredUp before but been unsure about online thrift shopping. I’m glad to know that you like the service Alison! Can anybody share their plus-size shopping experience with ThredUp?

    1. Nikki*

      I’ve shopped there a ton and I’m plus-size. I have good luck with decent brands (including Anthropology stuff that was “unbranded”. You can filter by size and type of clothes. About 1/3 of my work wardrobe comes from there.

    2. Tegan*

      I’ve also had good luck finding plus-size clothing, although it’s been about 3 years since the last time I shopped with them (through no fault of theirs, I’ve just been making more of my own clothes). As with most online shopping, it helps if you know your “usual” size in the brand you’re looking at.

    3. LCH*

      i’m on the smaller end of plus so i think the selection there is good (14-16), but i’m also petite and that can be a challenge. there is a option to select for petite, but the searching/sorting features aren’t foolproof. i’d say i keep about half of what i buy. and i always return for store credit to avoid shipping. so i probably lose money with the revolving purchasing/returns in the long run.

    4. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      I’ve only tried it a few times and it was okay. Unless it’s brand where you know your size, it’s difficult. I have to try things on and you generally can’t return for a refund (I think you get a credit).

    5. MyLifeInSocks*

      I’ve had lots of luck with their plus size active wear. Never returned any of those items.

      I have had reasonably high success with their dresses, and also pants (but I’m willing to hem them).

      I’ve had middling success with their shirts. As another commenter said, it really depends on if you know how well the brand fits on you. You have to learn your measurements, and I’ve still had a couple that didn’t turn out well because the brand’s sizing is nonstandard.

      Overall I’m pretty happy with it though. I basically redid my entire wardrobe this summer.

    6. CastIrony*

      My twin and I are both short AND plus-sized, actually. We’d stick to brands we know when it comes to jeans, but we’ve bought green shirts (generally 2XL women/XL men). The last time, I had to buy green collared shirts for work, and found this Adidas one for near… ten dollars? It’s one of our favorites in terms of looser fit! :) Other than that, I think we ended up only returning one shirt ever.

      It’s a shame I can only afford like $20 at a time; otherwise, I’d buy more, and if I could ask the Goody Bag to be all, “JUST GIVE ME BLACK PANTS FROM X AND Y BRANDS AND 2X GREEN COLLARED SHIRTS, AND NOTHING ELSE”, I’d try it.

    7. Glitsy Gus*

      I’ve had good luck over all with Plus Size at ThreadUp, I’m a size 22 sometimes a 24, so medium fat.

      It can be a little bit feast or famine, one day you’ll look and it’s 18 of the exact same T-shirt covered in puffy paint and sequined kittens, then a couple weeks later you score a brand new, super cute Talbots blazer for $35 and a very cute denim skirt that still has the tags on it. I would say it’s very worth it if you have a little bit of patience and aren’t looking for anything specific. I have found quite a bit of great stuff that I wear a lot. I have only done one goody bag, but I liked most everything in it, I think I sent back a couple things I liked, but that really just didn’t fit right. If you are really set on something specific, though, it could end up being kind of frustrating. Also, play around with the filters. Once you get to know them a little it’s a lot easier to search for things that you like that are more likely to fit.

      My main issues with the site are that they really don’t put a lot of effort into taking really flattering or detailed pictures of the items (especially the ones that note “gentle wear,” they should put a detail picture of what made them add that comment). A lot of the items are super wrinkled or awkwardly pinned to the mannequin, so you have to kind of use your imagination there. They also used to be horrible about putting measurements, though it looks like they are getting a bit better about that lately, and if the content tag isn’t in place they don’t even bother trying to give any fabric description. Goody bags don’t have a restocking fee, but for regular purchases there is a restocking fee of $2 per item, and $9.00 for the shipping label if you want cash back rather than store credit. This is a bit irritating having to guess if it’ll fit well, knowing it probably won’t be worth it to send it back if it doesn’t or if that “gentle wear” they mentioned is actually a big coffee(?) stain that is still faintly visible right across the boob area. None of these things are deal breakers, especially since I have gotten really cute stuff for very reasonable prices, but they do sort of put a damper on the overall shopping experience.

  2. irene adler*

    So how often does one receive a Goody box ?
    Can one suspend things for a time period or two, then resume receiving Goody boxes?

      1. Leap Day Highway*

        They do offer subscriptions, too! I actually have a recurring Goody Box order that comes every other month. It’s only about a two-click process to reschedule or cancel.

  3. Elenia*

    Hey, I ordered a box. I’d been meaning to try them anyway and kept putting it off. So thank you!

  4. Chrissy*

    I used to love ThredUp! Then I did their “closet clean out” bag and got 2 dollars and 80 cents. $2.80 for a bag stuffed to overflowing with tops, dresses, pants, everything they list that they’re looking for on their site. It was a pretty disappointing experience and really turned me off to ThredUp.

    1. Environmental Compliance*

      Their clean outs can be pretty disappointing. I’ve gotten some with really good returns, and some with rather bad returns. It seems very strongly dependent on brand.

    2. Medical Librarian*

      Reading other comments like this online is why I’ve been hesitant to purchase anything from the site. Has anyone here had a good experience on “closet clean out” side?

      1. regular reader, rare commenter*

        Not with clothes for me (I look at it as “anything is better than nothing”) but I sent them a Fossil handbag and wound up getting $40 for it if I remember correctly. It was in very good condition because I didn’t carry it much. This was probably at least 5 years ago though.

      2. Rezia*

        I’ve had good experiences buying but I treat the clean out as just donating. You don’t make much money if at all.

        1. soon to be former fed really*

          The tax deduction value of donated clothing can really add up, so I would just take items to a domestic violence thrift shop (my favorite cause) or other donation site and that provides receipts if donating was my primary reason for sending items to ThredUp.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            The vast majority of the US do not itemize their deductions.

            So thinking of it as a “donation” and getting $5 is better than the literally nothing a tax-deduction receipt can be for most Americans who do not have more than 12-24k of deductions to pile up on their tax returns annually. Sometimes it’s worth it on a state level though, even then, often it’s not.

    3. SweetTooth*

      Yeah, the clean out experience isn’t always great. I figure, I am doing that instead of donating the clothes, so any little bit I make is cool, and they donate or recycle what doesn’t sell anyway. There are probably lots of ways to make more money from it, but they send a free shipping label and do the work of selling and shipping to the buyers. So it is great for someone who wants clothes gone easily but doesn’t want to have to expend much effort.

      Oh and it seems like they are always evolving on how it works. Like initially, I just sent stuff and it was all out of my control, but then more recently, I got to set and adjust prices for the accepted articles of clothing (within their parameters).

    4. nep*

      For shopping it’s fantastic; for selling, not so much. Maybe list on Poshmark or Mercari. thredUP isn’t the place if you’re looking to make money on clothes, agreed.

      1. JessicaTate*

        Agree. If you’re looking to make money selling your clothes, this is not that site. But, if you normally donate old stuff (because the thought of dealing with selling directly is exhausting) AND you like buying on ThredUp, then I think of it as a way to get a small discount for my next purchase, for which I had to do basically no work.

        And if you do send to them, you absolutely need to make sure things are in great condition and a decent brand. In my experience, shoes and handbags get you the biggest payout.

      2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

        Agreed on making sure items are in great condition; the better you present your items, the more likely they’ll be accepted — freshly washed/dry cleaned, packaged neatly so they aren’t wrinkled, and if there is a button missing or a hem coming undone, sew it up yourself before you send it in. Even though they could take care of those things, they’re just not going to.

        If I’m really set on making SOME money from a clean out bag, before I send items in, I usually also do a search to see if/how many other listings there are for the same item and keep track for a bit to see how fast and how much they sell for; if they have 5 of the same item, and they’re not selling quickly or they keep getting discounted, my item isn’t going to do better. They used to have an option for a quick payout without the item selling (usually at a very low price but at least it was a guaranteed payout), but it seems they’ve done away with that.

      3. Glitsy Gus*

        Agreed. If I had anything that was of actual value, I would try Poshmark or even eBay. ThreadUp is for the stuff that you just want out of your house, and if you can get a couple bucks to put towards a new work dress, cool, if not, eh, the stuff is gone and that’s what’s important.

  5. profe*

    I will second this endorsement! Going back to work after nearly 6 months of WFH, I really wanted a seasonal wardrobe refresh, but I’m still avoiding stores due to Covid. I also love thrifting and am trying to give up fast fashion altogether, but I’m on a budget.
    I got a ThredUp goody box and about half the pieces were a great fit and were my style. Like Alison, there were somethings I wouldn’t have picked for myself but I liked them once I tried them on! Sending the rest back was seamless. I even got the first pair of work pants that I actually love (shouldn’t have taken my mom’s advice on business pants lol), so I went back on the website and bought three more pairs of the same brand and style in different colors for about half of regular retail price. I’m usually so hesitant to get pants online because of how difficult sizing is for women’s clothes, so it was incredible to actual get an order where the fit was spot on!

  6. Adrienne*

    ok I only visited Thred Up because (even tho a billion friends said it was awesome) Alison said it.
    They were right, she was right, it’s amazing. I got really good clothes for a fraction of their original cost and even if I didn’t like a thing I got their return situation is really easy and frankly it was cheap so I didn’t stress.
    Thank you ma’am!

  7. Aerin*

    Ha, I just plugged ThredUp in a comment thread yesterday! I’ve been doing a StitchFix every three months and have found them to be generally pretty good, but that’s also retail prices. I tend not to go to ThredUp unless I’m looking for something specific because there’s just so much out there, so getting a sampler box sounds like a really good idea.

    1. CherryScary*

      I’ve actually been debating swapping Stitch Fix for Thredup! I’ve lived the stuff I got from SF, but the last box was a bit out of my budget. (I’m not in a place right now to drop $100 on na dress!) I’ve done a few one-off buys from TU, but wasn’t thrilled with the way returns work if things don’t fit. Thinking about giving a Goody Box a go instead!

  8. Bostonian*

    Thanks for this and the discount! I love ThredUp (which I only discovered through AAM), and I had no idea they offered this. I love how easy it is to return items (I hate going to the PO) because I am also quite picky, plus the sizing on the site is really inconsistent (which, I guess is expected when you have so many different brands of clothing in one place).

    I also really like how you can filter results by their condition: you could choose to only see new items or “like new” items if you don’t want anything with visible wear.

    I will definitely take a look at the Goody Box when the work day is over. :-)

    1. Scrooge*

      Same here – the prices that AAM describes are what I pay for new clothes. But I really loathe to spend money on clothes, especially when everything looks at best tolerable on me (I really need to lose about 30 pounds).

  9. Des*

    Can you do anything on that site without signing up? It seems to not let me browse anything without providing an email and signing up, and as a first time visitor that’s not happening.

    1. foolofgrace*

      I can’t even get to the signup screen, I only get “Start Shopping” and it wants an email and password; I’ll try it again from home when I have time to fiddle around with it. I’m plus-sized and hate shopping.

    2. Reba*

      Yeah, it’s one of those sites where you have to put in your email (and then immediately check email and unsubscribe to the zillion marketing emails :) )

      I hate clicking through the endless endless pages, so the personal shopper service is intriguing. Especially since the photographs on the site are not really good enough to go by, at least for me. (this is true for all the used clothing sites of course!)

  10. DataGirl*

    I love ThredUp. my weight fluctuates dramatically due to chronic illness so I have about 5 different sizes in my closet. I could never afford that many clothes at full price. I really, really suck at returning things though so I don’t think the box is for me, but it’s a cool idea.

    1. hbc*

      Not trying to change your mind, but I have literally never returned anything to a store (or sent back food at a restaurant), and for some reason this kind of set up is very different for me. Everything is prepped in a way that it’s really easy and it doesn’t feel like I’m being a pain-in-the-butt picky person, which are really my two hangups about returning things.

      (No judgment on anyone who regularly returns things–like I said, I know it’s a hangup.)

  11. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

    I miss being able to shop on ThreadUp! Between being under-employed and not going anywhere these days, I can’t justify making any purchases. I used to order at least once every month or so and have gotten some incredible deals on some stunning pieces, especially shoes.

    1. Alice*

      Same boat as you. I love shopping, but I haven’t bought new clothes since March. Financial instability is a crusher.

  12. CaptainMouse*

    How long do you have to return things? Also, can you specify things like skirt length? I would only wear one of the skirts you posted because, for me, the other two are too short. But I’m short so most maxis are too long, soooooo picky! Also pockets, I need pockets.

    1. Ann Perkins*

      I just tried one out and it has a good style quiz, and also the ability to add notes at the end.

  13. KAnneE*

    Hugely bummed that they won’t ship to Alaska. I was really hoping it would work out. I love the personal shopper subscription boxes but most of the other ones are outside of my budget since they are new clothing only.

  14. DarnTheMan*

    I love ThredUp but just an FYI for Canadian shoppers – services like Goody Boxes, Rescue Boxes and Closet Cleanout aren’t available to be shipped up here.

    1. Dove*

      I was going to comment on the same thing, yeah – the site won’t even let me click on the Goody Box page! The code “MANAGER” still works, though – you get 30% off everything in your cart. (Which can be less than the code “NEW” will give you, but it’s a guaranteed 30% across the board.)

  15. Katie*

    I concur!! I’ve ordered a couple Goody Boxes from ThredUP and I’ve been super happy with them! Not only do you get 10 items instead of 5 like with Stitch Fix, but the prices are so affordable and returns are super easy! This has been a lifesaver during Covid when I’ve needed new clothes but haven’t wanted to shop in person. I’ll definitely be ordering a couple boxes for fall and winter as well!


    THANK YOU! I used ThredUp for the first time recently and had a great experience. I’ve been wanting to try the Goody Boxes and this gave me the perfect incentive.

  17. nep*

    Love, love, love thredUP. I say that every time it comes up, but I won’t pass up an occasion to praise this company. I’ve gotten so many great clothes there. As I’m sure others have noted, returns Could. Not. Be. Easier.
    Great for the environment too, of course. There are already more than enough clothes in the world…

  18. juliebulie*

    I signed up. Now I’m feeling antsy. I wish my box would get here already!

    One thing that was funny was when it was time to pick my favorite brands… one of the choices was “Basic Editions” which you get at Kmart, and a few other sort of discount labels, as well as a ton of much higher-end designers that I never heard of; but they didn’t list Duluth Trading which is where I get most of my clothes. (They had LL Bean, though!) That’s okay; I just thought it was funny.

    My motivation here is that I’m pretty sure that a stranger will pick better things for me than I can. :-) I also suspect that context makes a big difference, too; when I’m in a big store surrounded and overwhelmed by new things, it’s not the same as checking out a few garments at home.

  19. stellina*

    It sounds great, but I’d like to know: are the clothes washed by ThredUp before being dispatched?

    1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I haven’t been in their warehouse to know first hand, but I would say no. The items are just like you would get at a brick-and-mortar consignment or second-hand shop — straight from the bag to the rack. I always wash or dry clean any clothing before wearing it. I got a GREAT trench coat for a fantastic price from ThredUp, but it smelled like perfume around the collar when I received it (luckily not B.O., yuck). A good cleaning and it’s like new.

  20. Van Wilder*

    Before quarantine, I was using LeTote, which is a rental clothing service. But since working from home, I haven’t needed a constantly changing wardrobe. But I just got to the point where I’m bored with all my WFH clothes and was thinking about signing up for Stitch Fix. I just used your link to try this instead! I’m excited!

  21. Ann Perkins*

    I love ThredUp but didn’t know they’d added a subscription box! I just tried one to see how I like it. I tend to shop at a local consignment store that does only higher end brands but it takes a lot of time to wade through all the options. I first found ThredUp when I was looking for nice maternity clothes and it is a fantastic deal for getting good maternity clothes.

  22. Thea*

    Thank you! I am petite 4ft 9in so finding the right fit has always been difficult, and quite picky. I always dread shopping for clothes. A trip to the grocery store or Home Depot is much more enjoyable.

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