Are Thrift Shops the Best Place to Buy Used Suits & Sportcoats?

Are Thrift Shops the Best Place to Buy Used Suits & Sportcoats?

I was recently asked what thrift shops are best for buying used men’s suits and sportscoats. The writer had difficulty finding decent suits for her husband at her local thrift shop. Perhaps you have the same problem. Here is my answer, based on more than three decades of experience thrift shopping for quality tailored menswear.

It depends, but generally no. Thrift shops may no longer the best place to personally shop for second-hand suits, although they are a still great resource for suits.

If that answer sounds a bit confusing, consider the reasons outlined below:

There is less demand for suits in general.

Thrift shops, like most retailers, want to sell inventory that moves quickly. If you live in a neighborhood where few men wear suits on a daily basis, it’s unlikely that your local thrift shop will have many second-hand suits for sale. They will focus on stocking clothing that sells quickly.

However, thrift shops located in more affluent neighborhoods may be a better option for finding high-quality gently-used men’s suits and sportcoats. They generally have an older population of business professionals that donate suits locally. Also, upscale department stores located in these areas tend to donate unsold clothing (including suits and sportcoats) to local thrift shops (such as Goodwill) in these communities. For your best selection of quality second-hand men’s suits. seek out thrift shops in more affluent neighborhoods.

Thrift Shop Sportscoat
This sportscoat was purchased used on eBay for $12.00

Selling used suits online is more profitable

Here are three reasons why the best second-hand men’s suits may no longer available in local thrift shops:

1. Many individuals are now selling gently-used men’s suits they want to move out of their closets directly through online marketplaces such as eBay and Poshmark rather than donating them to thrift shops.

2. Many thrift shops now reserve their best stock of men’s suits and sportcoats for online sale on eBay and other online vendors. National thrift shop chains Goodwill (shopgoodwill.com) and The Salvation Army (shopsalvationarmy.org) have their own e-commerce websites that offer suits and sportcoats from their locations nationally for sale online.

3. Professional resellers scour the thrift shops for better men’s clothing to be resold online. They buy the best clothing in the local thrift shops before you do for resale on eBay and other online marketplaces.

For the above-mentioned reasons, the casual shopper is less likely to find a good selection of men’s suits in their local thrift shops. You will find a broader selection of quality used suits and sportcoats for personal use online than at any local thrift shop. This option offers both benefits and (a few) drawbacks.

sportscoat purchased at Goodwill Thrift Store
The sportscoat was purchased for $6.00 at my local Goodwill Thrift Store

Online marketplaces such as eBay now offer the best selection of second-hand suits and sportcoats.

You will generally pay more for used men’s suits purchased in online marketplaces such as eBay and Poshmark. A second-hand suit that may cost $10.00 in a thrift shop may be priced at $35.00 or more when sold online (plus shipping). However, you will have a far greater selection of suits to choose from online in your choice of size, brand, and style. Plus, many eBay vendors accept returns. You are most likely to find exactly what you are looking for in a quick online search. Normally, it requires multiple visits to local thrift shops to find a suit you would consider buying.

This suit was purchased on eBay for $23.00
This suit was purchased second-hand on eBay for $23.00

Over 90% of the second-hand suits and sportcoats I have acquired in the past decade has been purchased online. I generally purchase casual clothing at local thrift shops. Check this post for tips on buying used suits online. Enjoy your thrift shopping adventures! -Don P., SplurgeFrugal

The silk & cashmere sportscoat at the top of this page was purchased second-hand on eBay.com for $32.00