Online shopping has become the norm for vast assortments of consumer products, however there was a lag in good clothing shopping experiences and then even more so in online used clothing shopping. The issue presented to fashion retailers at the time was how to communicate material, size, fit, and style via static images. Standardizing images (with multiple angles) and creating sizing charts and easy to use websites handled the first hurdle, online clothing shopping now controls a significant percentage of all clothing sold. The same is not the case for used clothing. Used clothing, thrift stores, and vintage retailers have not had the easiest transition to digital marketplaces and online stores. Thrift stores that sell used clothing are all over the world and boast massive inventories of used clothing to sell. The problem with selling used clothing online is the labor and time requirements involved in selling one of one products and the consumers perspective on buying used clothing. Buying used clothing in person is more commonplace because the person can look at, feel and try on the clothing, intimately inspecting the piece of clothing is much easier in person, because with used clothing the shopper must consider wear/tear and other defects that new clothing items generally do not possess.
Used clothing has always faced two pools of consumers, advocates and skeptics. Some people will dive into used clothing bins and dig around clothing piles to find one or two pieces that suit their taste while other people would not even consider buying used clothing unless it belonged to a highly manicured selection in a pristine retail store. Thus the abject perspectives, and inasmuch the transition to shopping for used clothing online is imperfect. The only way for sellers to handle this is to spend their time carefully detailing the clothing, taking extra images, creating uniform displays so that pieces can be compared, and generally over-describing the clothing as to remove any doubt from the process. If there is a sign of wear and tear that is not perfectly clear in the images then it must be detailed in the product description.
Side note: Most used clothing is not washed before you buy it, wash the clothing when you receive the package. For Pretty Old Clothing, some of the pieces are pre-washed by certain suppliers we source from, but the majority of used clothing comes as it is, which usually means unworn for years and years, but could use a wash.
Buying used clothing from Ebay or similar sites like Etsy, Grailed, Mercari, and Depop has its pros and cons along with designated vintage clothing websites. Mass marketplace sites allow any use to snap a few pictures and upload a piece of clothing from their closet or a recent thrift trip, this permits a wide and often great selection of clothing to search through, especially in the online world where you can use filters to sort through the sheer volume of available clothing to find the pieces right for you. However this user-input system also permits random listings and images that do not communicate the piece of clothing well along with descriptions that are not consistent in terms of message and details. Using larger vintage sellers will allow you to become familiar with their system as to anticipate how the clothing will fit, look, and arrive.
Wherever and however you decide to purchase used clothing, we thank you. At Pretty Old Clothing we find used and vintage clothing to be a net positive experience and practice.