Designer Brands to Look for at Thrift Shops
Anne Klein glencheck blazer, belt and Escada denim booties (all eBay finds), Oliveo chambray button-down shirt, lapis and malachit beads necklace (all own) and bootcut jeans c/o Ethyl Clothing

Which fashion lover doesn’t adore a Hermes scarf, Kelly bag, Gucci boots, …. you name it. While most of us can’t afford these luxury items, the good news are buying exclusively designer clothing doesn’t make you look effordlessly stylish, and we can search for them and buy them second hand at affordable prices. This post discusses what to look for, how to know a piece is right for you and worth buying, and which designers to look for plus styling ideas for second hand scores.

  1. How women shop
  2. How to get designer clothes on a budget
    • Before you buy – know your personal style
  3. Designers worth buying
  4. Outfits ideas with second hand attire
    • Outfits with second hand Anne Klein scarves and blazers
    • Looks with Burberry finds
    • Outfits with Prada pieces
  5. Major points to consider when buying designer second hand

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.

How women shop

Unless you are a heiress, married rich, won the lottery or became a billionair due your own hard work, you don’t buy a $4000 designer bag, a pair of $2000 shoes and a $5000 coat on a Saturday shopping trip on 5th Avenue or Avenue des Champs Elysées. Most likely, just doing one of those purchuases would automatically block your credit card.

No, I don’t envy them and you shouldn’t either. When someone pays 100 times the taxes you pay, a $1000 item is like a $10 item for you.

If you like it, you buy it.

That’s what the Rich do too. And,it’s good that they buy these products. They keep well skilled craft(wo)men at work. They help preserving the art of high-end fashion and Haute Couture. Or high-end fashion as an art? Anyhow. When you buy your $10 item, you help someone somewhere making a living. And always remember

Style is not defined by money, but how you edit and wear you clothes. #personalstyle Click To Tweet

… and yes, some of the expensive designer brands make their way to a thrift-store for a second time around.  Who of us doesn’t love recycling and being resourceful. One woman’s trash is another’s treasure.


clothing rack with pre-owed designer attire in a store


How to get designer clothes on a budget

Most of us are on a budget fashion-wise. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t get the one other high fashion item on a budget. There are two legal ways to adding designer pieces to your wardrobe.

  • Saving for the lust piece by putting a fraction of the monthly fashion budget aside,
  • Or buying them second hand in a conseignment or thrift store or online on eBay and alike.

Actually, I do both.

Unlike in a regular store, you cannot go in to buy a particular item. It’s no secret to score high on eBay requires patience. You may have to search a long time until someone sells what you are looking for.  Scoring high in a conseignment store or thrift-store requires regular browsing. It can be time-consuming unless you apply some time-saving strategies for thrifting.

Before you buy – now your personal style

Like you try to avoid mistakes when shopping the sales, it’s important to know when to splurge or bargain. Only buy items that fit you and your personal style. Otherwise you end up with a stuffed closet and you are not wearing the clothes you have. Recall:

Closet space is real estate. Don't waste it. #styletip Click To Tweet

It doesn’t matter that that Chanel skirt suit is $200 when you are a California Casual or Bohemian Style gal. It also doesn’t do you any good, when it is too tight or two sizes too large.

In these cases, alterations are impossible.

Only buy pieces that you can't wait to wear. #shoppingtip #HighLatitudeStyle Click To Tweet

and only buy when it fits.


over 50 years old fashion blogger in business casual look with thrifted boots

details of statement belt and pearl necklace

style blogger Nicole posing for the LOTD in blue and gray pieces

Nicole of High Latitude Style in business casual with mix of conseigned and first hand clothes
Details: Anne Klein blazer, statement belt and Escada denim boots (all eBay finds), Oliveo chambray shirt, pearl beaded necklace (all own) and Ethyl Clothing bootcut jeans

Designers worth buying

… when the piece works with your personal style (use this free online style finder if you don’t know your primary style). Here is a list of my favorite designers I look for when shopping second hand. They are listed in no particular order, but alphabetic so you can easily check them when browsing. Note that when they are second hand, they still have different price tags attached like they did when they were new.

  • Anne Klein
  • Ann Taylor
  • Balenciaga
  • Banana Republic
  • Bottega Veneta
  • Burberry
  • Calvin Klein
  • Diane von Fürstenberg
  • DKNY
  • Eli Tahari
  • Ellen Tracy
  • Escada
  • Fendi
  • GAP
  • Hermès
  • J. Crew
  • Jones New York
  • Lauren Ralph Lauren
  • Liz Claiborne
  • Michael Kors
  • Michael Michael Kors
  • Missoni
  • Oscar de la Renta
  • Prada
  • Talbots
  • Tracy Reese
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Stella McCartney
  • Tory Burch
  • Valentino Red
  • Vera Wang
  • Vince
  • 3.1 Philip Lim

Get the list as a cheat sheet to put into your purse or bookmark this post in your browser to have it handy next time you are looking for second-hand clothing.

Outfits ideas with second hand attire

The following galleries encompass photos with styling inspirations of pieces I bought second hand. They are sorted by brands.

Looks with Burberry finds

This brand has many eternal classic pieces that go with a lot of things. The garments are timeless.

Outfits with Prada pieces

I made good experience with their pumps.

In my opinion, their pieces run on the large size. Thus, always try them on or when biting on eBay, ask the seller for the measures.

Major points to consider when buying designer second hand

Don’t fall for a name, but look for brands that match your primary personal style and are timeless. Know the prices of the originals. Use that knowledge to assess whether the price for the used item is realistic. If it is too cheap, it’s most likely a knock-off. Thus, learn how to make that assessment. See the post at the link for how to score high when buying second hand.  Don’t rely on size, but measures. The former owner might had it altered.

I just found awesome tips what to look for in thrift stores. #slowfashion #sustainablestyle Click To Tweet

This post was featured in Links à la Mode: Fashion roundup by Independent Fashion Bloggers.

Photos of me: G. Kramm

© 2013-2021 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Jess

    I do both of wha tyou mentioned Nicole.I save up for an item and also look for it on consignment or Ebay.. found lots of deals that way. I love your blazer, chambray and denim look here!
    thanks for linking!
    jess xx

  2. the frugal fashion shopper

    Hello Nicole and two things. Thank you for the award last week – so very pleased and honoured. Also I do agree that you can get some fab outfits in thrift stores (charity shops in the UK). Here in the UK I’ve managed to find several Karen Millen outfits (nearly a designer) and I have bought a Michael Kors coat in TKMaxx – that was one great bargain.

    Loving the eye makeup btw. Also sorry I haven’t ‘liked’ recently. WordPress is playing up a bit and not letting me like some blogs, even when I sign in – so annoying. Because I do really like your posts x

  3. Nicole Mölders

    I can’t wait to find out and see it!

  4. mireilleftm

    I usually do not even look at the tag to see who made it if I like the item and it fits. Actually going thrifting tomorrow for the first time in a while, I wonder what I may find..

Comments are closed.