A full wardrobe and empty bank balance are bad news for your new season style. So trim the excess and get back in the black by flogging what you don’t wear. It’s more personally rewarding than carting the lot to the charity shop.
Be Brutal With Your Wardrobe
You are not Kim Kardashian. People are not clamouring for your cast-offs. Which means that if you’re ditching pieces for any reason besides changing taste, odds are you won’t find a buyer – only Yeezy can sell t-shirts with holes in. Anything faded, stained or moth-eaten belongs in the bin, says wardrobe minimalism expert Anuschka Rees, founder of Into Mind.
Of what remains, pull out anything you’ve not worn in the last year or which you can’t immediately picture in three separate outfits. Ditto for anything that doesn’t fit. If you’re struggling to let go, you might need a trial separation; stow pieces for a season to see if you miss them. And remember that if you find it tough to bid adieu to a piece, the more chance someone else will want it too. Their cash will assuage any parting pains.
Although there’s a limit to how much cash you can expect. Near-new clothes can earn close to retail, but for anything more lived-in expect to take at least a 50 per cent hit. Which is still better than it languishing on the digital shelf.
“It’s all about your price point,” says Daniel Wilmot, whose trainer resell store, HookedBHM, nets him around £40,000 a year. “I had a page selling exclusives and collaborations but they just sat there. They had a lot of attention but people weren’t spending £150 on the app. They were picking up £40 pairs.” He switched his focus to outlet kicks at prices that don’t require a glance at your bank balance before buying. Now, he struggles to find enough pairs to meet demand. Be as realistic with your own wardrobe.
“Research before you price it,” he says. “Look at forums, eBay. Search the product number and you’ll find the stockists on the Google Shopping app. People are savvy and they’re looking for the best deal.” Apps like Depop encourage communication, so be willing to haggle. “Work your prices on a deal-by-deal basis. I once gave some guy some trainers and he put me up in a hotel.”
Throwaway fashion is precisely that. So don’t expect queues for your Primark slogan tees. Premium pieces, however, hold their value. Especially if they’re from an in-demand brand. And the better recognised the label, the more you can charge. “Brands like Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Gucci always have a high resale value,” says Bertrand Thorel, head of menswear and watches at luxury resale site Vestiaire Collective.
If you take the plunge on a Saint Laurent leather jacket you won’t just get a killer set of Tinder shots – when you decide to sell it on you could get back three-quarters of what you paid. Which is (kind of) like getting a luxury piece for 75 per cent off. It also helps to keep an eye on the industry. “The arrival or departure of a creative director impacts interest and therefore tends to increase or decrease an item’s value,” says Thorel. If you’ve got any Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent, or Raf Simons for Dior, now’s the time to sell.
Have All The Accoutrements
Your Hermès scarf is an excellent accessory. But when you come to sell it, the best accessory is its original receipt. “It’s proof of purchase and authenticity,” says Thorel. A service like Vestiaire Collective will authenticate every piece before it sells, but the receipt also means that you can sell on less rigorous platforms like eBay – which charge a lower commission – where fear of knock-offs prevents buyers spending big.
It’s not just luxury where it pays to have all the original bits. “Trainers will depreciate if you don’t have the original box or label,” says Wilmot. Use yours to store your shoes and you’ll not only keep your flat tidy, but make a tidy sum when you sell them on. Just make sure they stay in good nick. “I double box all my shoes [when I post them]. It comes at my expense, but if I was the buyer, I wouldn’t want the box battered when it arrived.” That extra investment is good news for your bottom line – a happy customer is a return customer.
Nail Your Pictures
A picture sells a thousand garms. Unless it’s a dark, grainy snap that makes your Lanvin blazer look like something from your dad’s wardrobe. Not that you need to invest in a Testino-worthy studio. Just take things outside. “Natural light and a plain background will do,” says Wilmot. He shoots all his shoes against a brick wall, to create a sense of uniformity on his Depop store. It also means he can find the same shot wherever he finds shoes, instead of waiting until he gets home to post a listing.
“Make sure it’s clean, tidy and that the product is the main focus,” he says. Apps like VSCO or Photoshop let you clean up pics, to brighten colours or get rid of glare. Just avoid filters – they’re good for the ‘Gram, less so when a buyer discovers their white Yeezy Boosts are actually brown.
Choose Your Market
The best stores to make the most from your old wardrobe
Vestiaire Collective is dedicated exclusively to luxury fashion, and is big on brands like Berluti and Gucci with a smattering of high-end streetwear mixed in. Ideal if you’re looking to clear some of that vintage Helmut Lang out of your walk-in wardrobe.
How it works: set up an account then photograph the pieces you want to sell. Post the pics with a brief description and the brand’s curation team will either approve or reject your post depending on the brand and item condition. When it sells, you ship to Vestiaire for free, they check the piece is genuine and in good nick, then pay you and post it on to the seller.
Commission: Varies. Below £40, you give up 50 per cent of the sale price. But that drops to 18 per cent for anything over £2,500. Or take advantage of its concierge service, which will collect your clothes in bulk, then shoot, post, sell and ship it all, for a 35 per cent cut.
This app-based market is a haven for affordable streetwear. Supreme, Palace and Nike are particularly well represented, but it’s also a good place to get rid of anything from Ralph Lauren shirts to worn-in Vans.
How it works: snap a photo on your phone, price the piece and it’s live within seconds. “People don’t rifle through your profile, so you need to list constantly to get an increase in activity,” says Wilmot. When someone buys, you ship straight to them. After 14 days, you get paid.
Commission: A flat 10 per cent, plus a 2.5 per cent transaction fee if you use the in-app Depop Wallet, or 3.4 per cent if you sell through Paypal.
Fancy ditching the day job? Set up an online boutique through ASOS Marketplace, which will host your store and promote it to its audience. This isn’t one for an occasional clearout – you need at least 20 pieces stocked at all times if you’re going vintage, 10-15 for new brands.
How it works: This is essentially an online shop. First, apply. If you’re one of the few successful applicants, you then get your own customisable storefront to post your products. They need to adhere to ASOS’ Marketplace photography standards and if your stock level drops, you’ll be shut down.
Commission: £20 a month rent plus 20 per cent on all sales.
The second-hand OG offers good returns, but you’re in a crowded marketplace. The auction format is best for rare or one-off pieces that are liable to spark a bidding war. Less so if you’re selling plain button-downs.
How it works: Photograph your items then post with an extensive item description. Either set a “Buy Now” price or a kick-off point for the auction. Now wait.
Commission: 10 per cent of the total sale, including shipping.