How to Sell Vintage Clothing Positive Retail

Published: November 17, 2023

How to Sell Vintage Clothing, According to An Expert

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How to Sell Vintage Clothing Positive Retail

Having worked as a buyer on the high street for more than two decades,  when it comes to clothes, I know what sells — and how to sell it. Now, as the owner of Positive Retail, a resale brand stocking high-end clothes such as Prada, Burberry, Stella McCartney, and Gucci, I get to see first-hand what it takes to get the best price for each piece of designerwear.

I know what buyers are looking for when they go digging for secondhand designer treasures – and what can make the difference between a resale or a no sale. If you’re looking at the designer clothes in your wardrobe and thinking now’s the time to sell them on to someone else, you’re not alone.  The secondhand market is set to nearly double by 2027, reaching $350bn, according to ThredUp, one of the world’s largest online resale platforms.

Secondhand September provides us all with an opportunity to stop and think about what we’re buying and why – and think about adjusting our spending habits to align more with what’s needed. Here are my top tips for getting the best price for your designer clothes.

Sell it as you want to buy it

Our tagline at Positive Retail when accepting clothes from a seller is: “Sell it as you want to buy it.” Rule 101 when it comes to selling your designerwear on Vinted or one of the other resale platforms is to never overstate the quality and condition of the garment — this can cause you a lot of bother and ruin your reputation. Customers want honesty and transparency about this more than anything, so be honest and realistic. The better the quality of the item, the better the price tag.

Prep your clothes

Firstly, wash the garment (you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this!), cut off any loose threads, bobble off any knitwear, and take coats to be dry cleaned. Take the time to ensure whatever item you’re selling is clean and looks as presentable as possible — a buyer will appreciate this, and you’ll attract much more interest. I expect items in pristine condition, but I do understand we may have to press the odd thing or dry clean something if we get a huge box sent to us. Generally, we demand that people who sell with us have respect for their clothes.

Quality, quality, quality…

Style and taste are all down to the individual; quality is not. When I’m sifting through new items to bring into my store or sell online, I first and foremost look at the quality of the garment. Where has it been made? Buyers will be the same. If you’re selling on Vestiaire, the fiber compositions and country of origin are usually listed. But on Vinted, not so much. So, if you’re selling a Chloe bag, make sure to include the fabrics in your Vinted listing, as quality buyers will be looking for this information. Also, be prepared to share this information if a seller asks for it, which I usually do. 

Know when to sell

Selling your items when they’re coming into season means there will be lots more demand for your designerwear. If you’re selling items made from wool, cashmere, alpaca, and mohair, save these items for the winter season, as more people will be searching for them. Stick to linens and other light fabrics in summer.  

What price?

If you’re saying goodbye to your adored Burberry trench or your beloved Stella McCartney knitwear, you want to get the best price for it; that’s understandable. You’ve also got to be realistic and do your research. Look at what the item would cost brand new, and then search on resale apps such as Vinted what similar items have been sold for or are being sold for. Then, price your item accordingly. 

Snap happy!

On your Vinted listing, photos are key. If you want your items to go for the best price possible, you need to present them in such a way. Don’t just snap a few pix on your iPhone; instead, clean, iron, or do whatever’s needed to present the garment in the best light. Take some clear photos with it on a plain background — a piece of card will suffice! — in daylight. Don’t rely on house lights, as they could alter the color of the item in the photos.  

More is more!

Don’t scrimp on the details of your listing. If you’re expecting someone to pay hundreds of pounds, make sure to give them as much information to spark interest and to attract the right quality of buyer. Be clear about the size and definitely alert them to any wear and tear. Label the item clearly with the designer’s name — check out its full name online as it might draw buyers in from general searches. Research which year and collection the item is from. If it was a big designer at the helm at that time, for example, Phoebe Philo at Celine or Tom Ford for Gucci, it will be really coveted stuff, and buyers will also know these items will hold their worth. 

Try brick-and-mortar

Positive Retail works with sellers on a 50/50 commission basis – it’s a partnership. Our stores are highly curated and the staff are really knowledgeable. As such, in a store, we take all the service, advice, and beauty into consideration when pricing your garments. We also know our demographic and markets well. In Margate, for example, we can’t keep Gucci, Loewe, Stella McCartney, and Ganni in stock, while in the Deal shop, it’s Marni and Beaumont Organic that fly.

What not to do

On Vinted, I only ever shop for new items with tags, new without tags or those in a very good condition. I avoid people who don’t have any reviews, and I’ll often ask sellers questions to see how they seem and if their knowledge is good, and if they are open and honest people. You can tell a vibe a mile off.  There are also pitfalls to avoid like people with really good BNWT Acne Studios items but no reviews. I have bidded on these before and had them canceled.  

tips for buyers

Know what you love

Be specific with your searches, rather than typing “black mohair jumper” into Vinted, which will return a massive list, and your head might explode. Look into which designer brands you love and why. Is it Acne Studios or American Vintage for mohair? Burberry for trenches? Stella McCartney for tailoring? Then, use specific search terms and cross-reference other platforms, such as Vestiaire, eBay, and Vinted, to find the best deals.

Enjoy it and play the long game

Buyers are allowed to make five offers a day to sellers on Vinted – and the site doesn’t let you make an offer for less than a certain percentage off. I’m forever sending offers for items and have a massive watchlist. Play the long game. I’ve sometimes had items on a watch list for more than nine months, and I fully believe one day the seller will give in and give it to me!

Buy out of season

If you buy out of season, you’ll get a better deal. For example, I am now researching for SS24 and looking at what is on Vinted. You can save searches on the platform, so I will look for ‘Isabel Marant summer jackets’ and put in prices I think are reasonable for this time of year.  As we come into that season, items shoot up in price as demand for them hots up. If you can get into the habit of understanding your style and what works for you, you can buy ahead and plan your next season’s wardrobe more cheaply!