By Esther Adams, Vogue magazine
Despite spring's alluring new silhouettes swinging full-price from store racks (in an unnerving way that makes the rest of our closets look positively outdated), holiday debt usually renders January a shopping-free zone. But it doesn't have to be. Why not sell your unwanted threads and let yesterday's wardrobe pick up the tab for the new?
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"I do a pre-season closet purge twice a year," says Fenton/Fallon jewelry designer Dana Lorenz. The experienced eBay seller found the perfect solution to keeping up with the cyclical nature of fashion six years ago, when she started funding her seasonal shopping splurges by auctioning off older pieces. "My Gucci sandals went for $600," she says, "and a portion of my Fendi baguette collection for between $200 and $500."
It's a simple, profitable sartorial practice-one in which model Hanneli Mustaparta is a firm believer. "It's my New Year's resolution to sell on eBay, but I need a model and great pictures first," she says. And according to PR maven Vanessa von Bismarck, who sold a Wunderkind dress on the site when she was moving into a new apartment, it is all about the photographs: "The better your images, the better your selling power," she says. But if all that stands between space for a new spring wardrobe is the cash flow to fund it, it is time to pull aside, clean, and photograph out-of-date garments (advisedly on a minimal, well-lit background), perhaps Mustaparta's resolution is one we could all consider buying-or selling-into.
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But there are points to deliberate first. Despite Lorenz's lucrative endeavors, von Bismarck's efforts weren't so profitable: "When I calculate posting, answering questions, packing, and shipping, I'm not sure it was worth it," von Bismarck says of the $55 her once "super-expensive" dress accrued. But that's where other sites come in: Unless you're selling in bulk, it's more fiscally beneficial to post less-prestigious labels on Craigslist, where there are no listing costs and buyers are looking for bargains. The downside? You'll meet potential buyers who may or may not bite. Etsy is another low-cost option, but as it's more densely populated by those with a handcraft bent, it narrows down potential customers. And as a forum where items are posted for a set price, it doesn't offer the same moneymaking power-or excitement factor: "Nothing beats that end-of-auction bidding mayhem!" enthuses Lorenz.
Whichever route you choose, self-selling takes time and effort, but according to Lorenz, who chooses eBay over consignment stores, it's the best option for those likely to change their minds any time, day or night: "I like being in control of re-pricing, or taking an item down if I panic and decide to keep it."
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Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio