If you’ve ever read this site before then you know that I think clothing is one of the best (if not the best) thing to sell on eBay.
In the past I’ve also talked about the merits of selling shirts that only make you a couple of bucks.
But the truth is that you can make hundreds of dollars from one shirt that you find at Goodwill.
In fact, the first (and only) time my mom came thrifting with me, she found a cashmere sweater and bought it because it was and very soft. She knew nothing about the brand.
It turned out to be a Loro Piana sweater that sold for $270 a couple of days later:
It may have mostly been luck that my mom found that sweater on her first time thrifting, but I’ve heard things like this happening all the time.
This story shows that finding valuable clothing isn’t rocket science, anyone can do it. You just need to know what to look for..
2 ways to find valuable clothing
The easy, and intuitive way to find valuable clothing is to find valuable brands. High end designer things brads like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Versace, Supreme, Yeezy, Loro Piana, Tom Ford, Prada, etc can easily sell for upwards of $100.
The only Gucci and Louis Vuitton things I’ve ever found were ties. And both of them had a stain on the front. But, they both sold for upwards of $50! And these were just ties.
As you’d guess, jackets and blazers of nice brands can also sell for a lot of money.
I’ve sold a nice, new Brooks Brothers blazer for $200, and this winter I sold a nice suede jacket for a couple hundred:
And here’s a new suit that I got for $20 that retails for over $300. I’m asking $174 for it:
It’s easy to predict that high-end clothing would sell for upwards of a couple hundred dollars.
But my favorite way to find valuable clothing doesn’t involve designer brands or exotic fabric like baby cashmere, angora, mohair, or shearling.
This way involves finding really niche, or unique pieces. I like finding valuable clothing this way because it’s more fun.
The high-end stuff that I’ve sold is usually boring- the clothing is only one or two solid colors. And if I don’t recognize the brand, then I don’t know that it’s valuable until I look it up on the eBay app.
Finding bizarre, but profitable clothing is like a treasure hunt. But, unfortunately, most of what you’ll come across at thrift stores or Goodwills is fools-gold (aka it’s worthless).
In my experience, the most frustrating brand that will trick you is Old Navy. Dozens of times I’ve seen a shirt that like it’s from the 90’s or that has cool graphics, but ends up being from Old Navy, so I put it back on the rack with disappointment.
But by always keeping my eyes out for unique finds, I found both these shirts this winter:
Would you expect these shirts to sell for more than $150? I know I didn’t, and I almost dropped my phone from shock the first time I looked them up.
This is a suit that I got for $4 at a thrift store near my apartment:
I’m guessing that you’ve never heard of either Mambo Loud Shirts or Trimingham’s of Bermuda. If I didn’t sell clothing online I would live my life and never know about these brands, and that would be ok.
But now that I do know them, it’s time to use this knowledge.
What to Lookout for
So we’ve established that the two easiest ways of finding clothing that will sell for more than $100 is (1) to look out for high-end name brands, and (2) unique and bizarre pieces.
But these two methods aren’t mutually exclusive. A lot of bougie designers like to make really flashy, and sometimes ugly pieces. Look at this Versace shirt:
The point is that by looking for strange and unique pieces instead of obsessing over brand, then you have more of a chance of running into profitable pieces.
Yes, it’s a good idea to learn name brands so you’ll recognize them when you find them, but that takes time. Looking out for shirts, jackets, shoes or pants with wild colors, crazy pictures, or historical events is a more direct way to eventually stumble on something valuable.
What else sells for over $100?
Honestly, clothing is a harder category to find things to sell for more than $100.
Electronics, musical instruments, and car parts are some of the highest ROI categories. More than a few times I’ve found an electronic like this iPod that I get for cheap ($20 in this case), and then sell for upwards of $100.
But I still like focusing on clothing because the margins are the best. I rarely pay more than $10 for any clothes that I sell.
Up until the last couple months, because I’ve slowed down buying clothes, I would meticulously scan all the clothing racks and look at almost every piece in the mens section.
In the past two years I’ve probably looked through at least 5,000 shirts, pants, and jackets and I’ve sold tens of thousands of dollars of used clothing:
And the easiest, most fun way to find profitable clothing for me has been looking for unique and interesting pieces.
Scanning the racks
If you’re going to sell clothing on eBay than it’s easy to get into a flow and spends hours looking through all the racks. The thought process that keeps you going is like someone with a gambling problem- What if the next piece of clothing that I look at is the big score?!
But, looking at every piece of clothing can be a big waste of time because most of what you’ll look at won’t be worth anything.
Taking a step back and scanning the rack from afar is a good way to let something catch your eye. And as you train your eye to be on the lookout for unique patterns and gain more experience you’ll get better at distinguishing what’s worthless to what’s valuable.
Now, when I’m looking for clothing I don’t look at every individual piece and label. Instead I sift through the racks and scan the stuff, and can usually pick out profitable pieces.
Sometimes I stop and research what a particular brand has sold for, but mainly I just scan the racks.
If you’ve ever tried to learn speed reading than you know that the advice is to not focus on every individual word because our peripheral vision is better than we think at picking and deciphering words.
The same is true with reselling clothing.
So remember. Keep your eyes out for flashy and vibrant colors, weird and crazy designs or pictures, and culturally significant events (like festivals, concerts, sporting events, etc) because eventually you’ll find a shirt or jacket that you’ll sell for more than $100.