How to buy designer clothes at discount prices

Fashionable clothes on hangers in boutique store

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There’s a lot to love about designer bags and clothing — except for the price. That is where the secondary market comes in.

We’re not just talking old jeans and T-shirts, however, as you can now buy actual name-brand designer clothing at just a fraction of the original price.

Lindsay Patterson is a freelance sports reporter and blogger who needs to look sharp. She has been renting designer clothing from the site Rent the Runway for several years.

“You don’t need all the dress clothes like we used to have in our closet,” she said, explaining her decision to rent.

Patterson said she’s saved thousands of dollars on designer-name fashion by renting and purchasing used items.

“The original price could be $800 or $900,” she said, “and you are getting it for $50 or $60.”

Amazon Teams Up With Rent The Runway

Patterson is thrilled that Rent the Runway has just partnered with Amazon Fashion, allowing customers to buy secondhand garments on Amazon that were retired from the rental service.

Lauren Copeland, assistant professor at Kent State University’s School of Fashion, says luxury brands have to figure out where they fit in, in this new era of working from home.

“They are learning how they can keep as much profit as possible and still keep their brand identity,” Copeland said.

The online thrift store ThredUp predicts the secondhand apparel market will grow three times faster than the apparel market overall, with younger generations driving the trend.

“They can buy something that’s been worn, and it’s unique in its presence or it has a story behind it,” she said.

But Copeland says to use caution when buying secondhand.

Sites such as ThredUp, The RealReal and Poshmark all have processes in place for authenticating items.

But if you’re buying from a seller directly, Copeland says it is important to:

  • Check the quality, especially at the seams.
  • Compare logos and labels, to make sure it is not counterfeit.
  • Make sure the price is in line with similar items on the market.

One caution: Designer items are limited, so if there are hundreds available, it may be a counterfeit.

Patterson said the best thing about secondhand fashion is that no one will know you bought that stunning designer outfit used.

“Just do your homework,” she said, and that way you don’t waste your money.

About the Author

John Matarese

John's goal is to help as many TV viewers as possible save money, avoid bad deals, know a rip-off when one comes their way, and be educated consumers. His informative weekly consumer segment "Don't Waste Your Money" now airs on 45 TV stations from San Diego to Tampa to Houston and Cincinnati. More.

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