AS I WRITE THIS POST, I have that warm, fuzzy, slightly smug feeling that comes from landing an amazing deal. I just purchased a smart, gently used Calvin KIein Collection grey flannel men’s suit that formerly sold at retail for over $1500 for only $25.00 on eBay. The tailoring and construction of this suit include features you would pay over $3000.00 for if you were to buy a similar suit at retail prices today. As an experienced menswear thrift shopper, I get that warm fuzzy feeling quite often. Should you buy used suits online? Let me share why I think you should:
My thrifting habit started ‘back in the day’ when suits were standard business attire (long before hoodie-wearing Facebook executives were invented). I was working in the corporate offices of a major clothing manufacturer in New York City’s famed Garment District. Because I was a desk-bound ‘pencil pusher’ I had to wear a suit daily, paid for with my modest salary. However, I would interact daily with company salesmen who wore beautiful, expertly tailored suits. Unlike ‘pencil pushers’ like me, they had an expense account for their clothing purchases.
Being in the garment district, I would often see top menswear designers such as Oscar De la Renta, Bill Blass, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein noshing at local eateries during lunch hour wearing stylish suits that were well beyond my pay grade. This taught me that all men’s suits are not created equal. Needless to say, I cultivated a taste for quality clothing that I soon discovered could be satisfied by frequenting my local thrift shops.
My first meaningful thrift find was a luxurious Zegna wool suit in a thrift shop run by a local hospital charity. That suit cost me $25.00. When I took it to my local tailor for alterations, his eyes lit up. He began to point out all of the details that added to the exceptional quality of my second-hand purchase. That was the start of my education in fine menswear. That Zegna suit retailed for over $1,200 when new over thirty years ago. From that day on, I never purchased a new suit. Why should I? I could, with a bit of effort and self-education, find better quality suits, coats, and blazers that were well beyond my pay grade for little more than the cost of a meal at McDonald’s.
Six Reasons Why You Should Buy Used Men’s Suits Online
After decades of buying used suits (most recently on eBay), here are my top five reasons why you should buy used suits (and other men’s wear) online:
1. You Save Truck-loads of Money
By buying used suits online (and at local thrift shops) you can save so much money that clothing is no longer a major expenditure in your budget. For the cost of one new better-quality suit that retails for $600 or more, you can build a complete wardrobe by buying second-hand.
2. You Can Buy Better Quality
The $1200.00 Zegna suit I paid $25.00 for in a thrift shop has a level of quality I could never afford to buy at retail. By thrifting, you can indulge expensive tastes in clothing that would normally be beyond the reach of the common man. With a bit of good timing and research, I have purchased better brands like Hickey Freeman, Joseph Abboud, Canali and Oxxford when thrifting for much less than I would pay for lower-quality mass-market menswear brands when shopping retail. Yes, I can have my champagne on a beer budget!
3. Your Clothes Will Last Longer
For argument’s sake, let’s say that you buy four better-quality second-hand suits for a total of $200.00 and wear them in rotation. They will last far longer than one new suit purchased at retail for the same amount of money (and look better as well). Well made suits can last a lifetime if well cared for. Better menswear brands make suits that stand the test of time. If you buy quality, your second-hand suits will provide years of good looks and service.
4. You Will Look Better and Get More Compliments
Well made clothing shows your good taste and allows you to make a good impression. Besides, who doesn’t like getting more compliments?
5. You Can Dress Well All of the Time
Let’s say that you have purchased two expensive suits, each one costing you over $700.00. Chances are you are not going to wear them very often, only on special occasions. You don’t want to wear them out quickly. Now, suppose you’ve purchased ten high-quality second-hand suits, each one costing less than $40.00. You are more likely to wear them much more frequently. In fact, due to thrift shopping high-quality menswear, you can afford to dress well all of the time, not just on special occasions!
6. The Best Menswear Has Already Been Made
The current focus on casual wear and streetwear in men’s fashion has meant the death of many of our finest tailored menswear brands. Of those that remain, many are struggling to survive the abandonment of standards of good taste by men in general. The best tailored menswear ever made sits on the racks of our thrift shops and in online markets like eBay. Thrift shop now and you will be way ahead of the curve when suits make a comeback.
How To Get Started!
Have I convinced you yet? Great! How do you get started buying used suits online? Easy, check out my guide to buying used suits on eBay. I recommend eBay because you cannot beat the depth of choices they offer in used men’s clothing. Most thrift shops now list their most desirable items on eBay. Once you discover how much you can save, you’ll be hooked! By the way, once you acquire a few nice suits, you’ll need to know how to iron your cotton dress shirts the right way, check out this post to learn more.