Dear Response Angel Ellen: I recently started shopping for clothes from the resale sites you wrote about. What took me so long? I’ve found some amazing deals, but I’ve also found that it takes forever to find what I’m looking for. When I search for a specific item – a certain brand and in my size, there are often hundreds (even thousands) of results to sort through, many of which are NOT my size or the brand I specified. Also, I am surprised that some sites offer some pretty damaged and washed out items that look like they should be in the gift boxes. Any time-saving tips to help me search for good online business?
– Sandi T.
Dear Sandy: I am so happy to hear that you have started buying these sites. Not only do these sites save you money, they are also useful for favorite articles that have been abandoned. And, of course, there is the reuse / recycling aspect to help the environment. I have a favorite running bra that hasn’t been made in years, but I can find it pretty easily on these sites.
If you know exactly what you’re looking for, many sites allow you to fill out forms to alert you when your favorite item is listed. But another way to limit the number of search results you have to sift through is to search for your “NWT” and “NWOT” articles. NWT is new with tags; NWOT is new without tags. Both mean the items are used but not already worn. My friend Maggie, who started swimming to burn pandemic calories, was desperate for high-quality, brand-name swimwear, but didn’t want to pay the $ 100 plus they often sell for. Her research in the Northwest Territories found exactly what she was looking for at prices of 25-40% of the original retail price. Goal!
For those who haven’t experienced the fun of bargain hunting online, here are a few sites to explore. Readers, send me your favorites, please: thredup.com; eBay.com; mercari.com; tradesy.com; depop.com and for luxury brands, therealreal.com and us.vestiairecollective.com.
Online shopping can also go wrong …
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Do you have any experience with prom, wedding, and mother of the bride sites that have dozens of styles and around 45 color choices? They appear to be located outside the country. When you log into their sites, you are bombarded with coupons, sales, entertainment, etc. In addition to an abundance of colors and styles, they feature many dress styles on both slim and plus size models which is helpful. But I heard from someone who ordered from one of these sites that there is absolutely no way to return anything – no address in the packaging materials. Her dress was the right size and the right fabric, but nothing like the style she had ordered. I wonder if any of your readers have had good or bad experiences ordering custom dresses from these sites?
– Allison F.
Dear Allison: So many of these sites entice you with beautiful images and prices too good to be true. Some just hack professional photos of legitimate fashions from trusted websites and what you get for your money is nothing like what you ordered, if you get anything. And good luck getting your money back. As a general rule, avoid all offers that are too good to be true. And readers who have actually received articles tell me the size is often laughable. A large or an extra large turns out to be a US size 2 or 4. You get the idea. Consider yourself warned!
From Donna H .: “It’s no wonder women don’t wear well-fitting bras. Have you watched the bras ads? The model does not wear one either. So if this is what we are trying to emulate, we have guaranteed failure. Continue to manage our wants, our needs and our rants. You are the best!”
Janice O. writes: “For your reader Jennifer who complained that the 100% cotton T-shirts she loves shrink in length even if she doesn’t use the dryer, I’m only 5’4” and 125 pounds, but I buy Lands’ End (landsend.com) 100% cotton ladies t-shirts in size Small Tall. The Tall gives enough length that even though there is a bit of a shrinkage, you don’t end up with a boxy shirt. D’Ellen: Why didn’t I think about it? Thanks a lot, Janice.
Send your questions and rants – on style, shopping, fashion, makeup and beauty – to answerangelellengmail.com.