How to Sell your Clothes at Clothes Mentor and Platos Closet - Plus, Never waste money buying the wrong thing again!

Last month, I went from store to store - selling my unwanted clothes. I went to Clothes Mentor, Plato's Closet, Style Encore, Once upon a Child, and two local resale boutiques. My experience was eye-opening!

I was cleaning out my closets and pulling things for my sister to look through while she was visiting. She wanted a few things, but by the time we went through it all, I realized I had a whole bunch of stuff I didn't want. I wasn't motivated to put it back in the closet, so I thought I'd give re-sale a try.

I loaded 3 extra large laundry baskets with clothes. I folded them all up and carried them off to the stores. Because I had never sold at any of the resale shops before, I decided to bring only my "best" stuff. More than half of the stuff still had tags, and all of them were brands like Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer, Calvin Klein, Lucky, Guess, Bebe, LL Bean, Gap, Abercrombie, Talbots, DKNY, Kenneth Cole, Banana Republic, etc. Nothing from Target in this batch! 

The results were astounding. 

The first stop was Clothes Mentor. They bought about 8 of my things - paying between $3-$8 per piece. I lugged in 3 huge (super heavy!!!) laundry baskets. I was not happy, but I pressed onward. I took the exact same 3 baskets to all of the resale stores in our town. We are located in a major suburb, so they are all pretty close to each other.  Each store bought 1-8 things. Then I took a small basket of kids clothes to Once Upon a Child. They bought 3 things. About a $3-$6 range there. 

I ended up with about $120 from the whole day. It kind of sucked. But I noticed a few trends:

1. No matter what I brought in, they always told me one of a few things:
  • The condition doesn't meet our standards (even when all of the clothes were new with tags!)
  • These are brands we don't buy  - even if the brands were listed on their website, brochure, and found in their stores
  • The clothes are more than 2 years old. Sure thing - Of course, you know how many years ago things were sold. 
2. Every store uses the same "too old, not good enough condition, wrong brands" lines. They just need an excuse to tell you they can't buy all your stuff.

3. The merchandise in the stores is pretty poor. The quality is okay for the most part, but not a lot is new. They also stock really poor brands and some outrageously hideous items. 

4. What gets purchased is very highly dependent on the person working the counter. If they like it, they buy it. If they don't, they don't.

5. None of the stores bought jeans from me. All of the jeans were brand names, no holes, no wear to the legs, perfect. But they never bought any.

After my first run through the stores, I kept the laundry baskets in my car. I brought the same baskets back to the stores a few days later (in the exact same order as before) and they bought a few more pieces. It worked both ways. 

Things that were passed over as being "not good enough" the first time were selected. And there was a dress that Style Encore offered to buy the first time for $8. It was new with tags, originally $160. I refused to sell it, assuming I "might" still wear it some day. Well, the next time I went back I decided to put the dress back in the mix - realizing I'm never really going to wear it. This time, 3 days later - they didn't buy it.

After running my baskets through twice, I had about $200 and had cleared some of the clothes from my closet, but I then decided to go back with my "no thank yous." These are clothes that I am so ashamed to own and am barely willing to donate. 

I took a basket of these unmentionable tops and jeans to resale shops. Again - same order. Clothes mentor, Platos closet, style encore, then the two boutiques. Surprise, surprise! I got the same line about age, wear, brands. This time though, I only had crappy brands like Maurices, Target/Walmart/Kohls stuff, aeropostale, etc. 

They bought the same percentage of the stuff - and to my shock and horror - they bought my worst items. I'm talking - stuff I wore way too many times and things that never fit well. Some of it may have been my own personal bias -  some of the things fit like crap and I assumed they would look bad on everyone. I secretly hated them for wasting space in my closet for years and was glad to see them go. 

Here are my tricks for selling at these resale shops:

1. Keep bringing your stuff back. Different workers will select different things.
2. Don't take their comments personally. They will give you the same line whether your stuff is brand new or full of stains. They have to give you a non-confrontational dismissal. Their stores are so full of stuff - they have to say no to a lot.
3. Clothes Mentor pays the biggest amount for items. They have a thing for Chicos brand (which I think is mostly garbage but they bought every chicos item I brought in)
4. Plato's closet has a thing for gothy/trash clothes. They bought mostly Maurices and Kohls/Target type clothes. They paid the least.
5. Style encore paid pretty poorly and took the least number of things - but I always went to them last, so it may have effected their choices.
6. If you are tempted to shop there - sign up for their text alerts. I have been texted by them multiple times to alert me of $1 sales - whole racks where everything is a dollar. Yep. Maybe don't shop there except on $1 days.
7. Bring anything you don't want - that is in good shape. They say they only buy certain brands, but it varies so much and you never know what they might want. 
8. Expect to get very little for each time. 

Now - the most important advice - How to stop wasting money on clothes!
All my life, I have been on the hunt for clothes that look/feel good. It's been a life long struggle. It's stupid, really. But I finally figured out a system that works so that I only have clothes that look good and fit well. I am no longer wasting money.

1. Only buy clothes that fit you. Period!!! If you try something on and it's cute, but.... PUT IT BACK. Unless it's just a little big and you are good at sewing, put it back! 
2. Only buy clothes that look good on you. This is a little trickier. I am trying to find links to a fantastic blog about fashion - of course I didn't save it and can't remember the title!! She goes over all the rules. Until I can find her blog, google "dressing according to body ratios" "dressing golden ratio" "dressing by body type" "necklace placement according to body ratios." Her necklace advice was spot on and also helps choose the right type of tops for your body type. Damn - I am so mad I can't find her blog. 

Bottom line - you must dress for your body type. Once I stopped buying double breasted jackets, short shirts/jackets, and bought tops with more top detail, I look a million times better! My body is such that my waist is practically at my bra line - attractive, I know! To look good in clothes, my jackets/shirts must end around my hip line. Who knew?  Not me, and all my clothes looked horrid on me for years.  I also have a small top compared to my bottom and need details up top to make my body look balanced - the necklace info helps you know which necklines are best for your body and of course what length necklaces look best on you. It's pretty awesome body science and it changed my closet forever - and for the better. 

3. Stop buying clothes at Target, Walmart, Kohls, etc. They only sell crap. Crap, crap, crap!! It's all garbage. Maybe it looks good for a few days, but it will pill, wear out, get grungy super fast. It's garbage. If you want to buy undergarments, tank tops, socks, at Walmart/Target - fine, but not real clothes. No!!

4. Buy quality items and learn to layer appropriately. This is important for temperature control, sweat mitigation, clothing longevity, style, and modesty. Do some internet searching for ideas and then practice. How do know if something is quality? If you've been shopping at Target, then it's going to be an eye opener for you. Trust me, I bought all my stuff on Target clearance racks for years and I looked like garbage. All of my twenties were wasted looking like ass, when I was in the best shape of my life. There's no going back - only forward.

  • Clothes should fit well
  • Clothes should hold up to washing
  • Jackets, skirts and pants should be lined!
  • Fabrics like merino wool, cashmere, leather, fur and silk belong in your wardrobe - but not cheap crappy blends. Get real stuff or quality blends. 
  • Fabrics should not snag, tear, or pill easily
  • Don't buy saggy, draggy clothes or clothes with no shape
  • Limit the amount of polyester you buy (unless it is blended with spandex for workout gear/base layers). It just gets saggy and stinky.
5. If you accidentally buy something that fails within the first few washings, bring it back. This is unacceptable. 

6. It's okay to buy your clothes used! I buy ALL of my clothes (minus the undergarments and socks) used. ALL! There is no money in clothing resale (for the individual person,) so major name brands can be had for pennies on the dollar. Thrift stores, garage sales in upscale neighborhoods and even ebay (which I personally hate, but still...)

7. Buy classic pieces that go with many options. It broadens your choices tremendously. Capsule wardrobes do a good job of this - look at a few capsule options to get an idea of the basic pieces that work the best. Then add your fun pieces around that.

8. Dress for your age. You can interpret this however you want. If you're 60, you don't have to be a frump, but you probably won't look the best in whatever the "teens" are wearing.

All of the above applies for coats/jackets too. Buy a good quality coat and keep it in good condition. Buy one that is warm enough and large enough to be comfortable without looking like a box. Buying an expensive coat - goose down or multi layered ski jacket will probably be worth every cent in the long run. It can/should last for years. Same with boots. Don't even get me started on boots....

Best of luck!



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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!

Angela

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