Racks upon racks of carefully curated clothing – and every single piece is different. For some people, this is the definition of heaven, but for others, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack…and it’s completely overwhelming. We’re talking about the buy-sell-trade phenomenon of course, a slew of stores that buy clothing directly from the public and offer their selections to you at a fraction of the price, though not at a thrift store price. A few examples you may know and love are Crossroads* and *Buffalo.
So I’m going to come right out and say it – I’m a buy-sell-trade shopping pro (and employee!). If you’ve ever set foot in a buy-sell-trade store only to step right out, I’m going to share my most tried and true methods of shopping so you end up with the most loot in record time. Ready, set, read on.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
For starters, let’s get back to that picture of the buy-sell-trade store above – the store that’s well stocked of great items, but everything is different. It could be overwhelming unless you arm yourself with a mental list. It may sound cheesy, but the most sure shot way to get in and out with boatloads of finds is to focus your efforts. Are you looking for a plaid layering piece or are you looking for a trend like pastels? You don’t need to write it down, but keeping what you’re looking for in mind will help you scour the racks and zero in on that plaid shirt or mint mini-dress. Crossroads is actually arranged by color, which makes it super easy if you’re looking for something in a particular color. And if you happen upon something outside of the list you like, there’s no rule against trying it on.
CHECK OUT THE WALLS
But before you try your things on, did you take a look at the wall? Normally, this is where the store staff displays the most prized merchandise. A real pro will scope out the walls before hitting the racks and generally give it one quick look before changing time. Done? Done. Let’s move on and try on.
TRY IT ON
Do you like how I assumed you’re going to the fitting room? I know a lot of the time we assume something will fit or look good, but at a buy-sell-trade store, the fitting room is usually where you will differentiate your yeses and nos…and if you scoured the racks effectively, you might have a lot of finds. Just like H&M or Zara, sometimes things fit differently than you anticipated or just don’t look good, and since prices are so low and everything is so different, you might have picked up more than you want to spend your money on. Trying things on will ensure you don’t blow your pocketbook – and that you only take home the pieces you absolutely love. Just be sure that you’re 100 percent about your decisions, because what you decided not to take probably won’t be there later!
Once you’ve made your cuts, you’re ready to pay…but neglect your buy-sell-trade for long. The number one thing buy-sell-trade veterans know is that in order to really score, you have to stop by the stores often. It doesn’t have to ruin your schedule, but the neat thing about buy-sell-trade stores is that inventory changes with every person who comes and sells. You never know when the owner of a Marc Jacobs Stam bag will walk in to sell it off. But you will know if you come frequently enough, and you could be the new owner. Now that’s a fashion story book ending if I’ve ever heard one.
So are you a buy-sell-trade store newbie or seasoned pro? What’s your method of shopping a buy-sell-trade store?
Photos by Sarah