How I Conquered Online Clothing Swaps

What's a broke girl who loves designer threads to do? Figure out how to navigate the new generation of online clothing swap sites.

By Beth Levine July 10, 2017

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It's like this, but over the internet.

Image: Shutterstock

Summertime is sundress weather in Houston. When it comes to sundresses, I have an obsession with Young Fabulous and Broke, which makes effortlessly casual yet elegant versions that are not only ridiculously soft, but look good on just about everyone. Their draped perfection does come with a hefty price tag though, usually ranging from $100 to $300 a piece. So what's a YFB addict to do? After stalking eBay, Revolve and ShopBop, a friend of mine (and fellow YFB addict) told me about Tradesy. Haven't heard of it? Well neither had I, but after she showed me all the clothes she'd found on the site and broke down what great deals they were, and I was ready to give it a try.

Alongside sites like Poshmark and ThredUP, Tradesy is bringing back the old-fashioned clothing swap for the internet age, where you can sell or buy not only clothes but also handbags, shoes and accessories. In a world of luxury knockoffs permeating not just eBay but sites like Amazon, Tradesy promises 100-percent authenticity with a return policy designed to make things easy for both buyers and sellers—every purchase has a four-day confirmation window to make sure the item purchased is authentic and as described. 

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My Young Fabulous and Broke Hamptons maxi dress, snagged for less than half the retail price on Tradesy.

The site breaks down listings into several basic quality categories: new with tags, like new, gently used, etc. Users can also search by designer, so I decided to see what Tradesy had to offer me in the way of YFB dresses. Pro tip: When shopping on sites like this, it's a good idea to focus on brands where you already know how they fit.

Full of excitement, I plugged in my parameters, hit search...and score! Listed as new with tags was one of YFB's signature maxi dresses almost identical to one I already have and love, just in a newer pattern—and for only $86.32 (including shipping) instead of the usual $190. There were actually quite a few YFB selections to choose from, but I felt going with something that I knew would fit was the way to go, so I signed up and bought it right away.

After the rush of the first score, I started perusing the rest of the site for everything from shoes to purses. Tradesy boasts quite a selection of shoes in particular ranging from high-end designers like Prada and Jimmy Choo all the way down to Forever 21—keep an eye out for ones categorized under "sample." I got so excited looking at everything that I even thought about uploading my "gently used" Marc Jacobs boho bag to the site. I'm not there yet, but it's tempting—it would fetch enough for a couple maxis at least.

The verdict? I found Tradesy makes finding, buying and authenticating brand-name clothing easy and affordable—so easy that it's almost addictive. That feels like a fair trade. 

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