Looking to upgrade your wardrobe without hurting your wallet? Read on!

By jencress
Updated January 24, 2013 02:00 PM


It’s never been easy for a regular girl with a small paycheck to call a Chanel quilted handbag or a pair of Christian Louboutins her own, considering both of the items cost more than a month’s rent in N.Y.C.

But luckily, there is now a way to dress up your wardrobe without going into debt — and no, not by living on ramen for a year. The solution? Recommerce sites, where you can buy and sell gently worn designer duds at super-steep discounts. And since there’s a plethora of online places, we narrowed it down to our five favorite sites for you to drop minimal cash on luxe labels. (Bonus: We included one place where you can get your favorite mall-store brands for less-than-clearance costs.) Intrigued? Read on …

Threadflip: Essentially an Internet version of a swap party, you can get rid of the stuff in your closet that you haven’t worn in forever and replace it with new clothes. The Pinterest-looking site offers everything from department store finds and cool vintage pieces to high-end brands at crazy-affordable prices — like a Miu Miu skirt for $167 (regularly $450), Céline bags for less than $1,000 and Marc Jacobs ballet flats for $81.

Vaunte: Think of Vaunte as the Barneys of recommerce, as in, it only carries the most elite labels like Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, Alexander Wang and Marchesa. Also, most of the pieces are plucked from the closets of fashion editors, designers and industry insiders. And while a majority of the garb is still relatively pricey considering it’s used, you can find some killer deals with a little digging. (We spotted Prada pumps for $90 and knee-high Manolo Blahnik boots for $150!)

HipSwap: With more than four million pieces for sale, there’s no way you’ll just browse. Type what you’re looking for in the search box and hundreds of matches will appear. The selection is unprecedented compared to others — you’ll see finds from A.L.C., Rebecca Minkoff, Tibi, Christian Dior, Stella McCartney, celeb-loved denim brand MiH and many, many more. Also, it recently began offering loot from celebs’ closets.

The Real Real: Similar to Vaunte, this members-only operation (you have to sign up to shop) offers a Fifth Avenue-approved selection. The site is very selective of the product they accept, so you won’t have an eBay-like experience where you search forever to find that one thing you want. And rather than a post-and-sell method, it runs curated flash sales (think: Gilt) featuring brands like Rag & Bone, Christian Louboutin and Derek Lam.

Copious: Copious carries similarly discounted stock to the other sites on our list, but it has something that none of the others do: a major social component. Users can only login using Facebook and Twitter, and all members are required to create a public profile. So you know exactly who you’re forking over your money to — relieving that “Who am I dealing with?” anxiety you may encounter on, say, Craigslist. Each seller receives ratings, too, so you won’t have to second-guess whether that brand new Balenciaga bag is authentic.

Tradesy: Tradesy does sell high-end brands, but it’s their more affordable finds — like Aqua, Forever 21, Express and Nine West — that have the biggest presence. We recommend this one if you want to stock up on $10 Silence & Noise rompers and $12.50 LOFT tops.

Tell us: Have you ever bought anything from a resale site before? If so, what’d you get?

–Jennifer Cress