I'm an eBay Sleuth—Here's How I Find the Coolest Fashion Items on the Site


(Image credit: @laurareilly___)

In the grand scheme of secondhand shopping and online shopping in general, eBay tends to be my last resort. If I'm on the hunt for a special vintage handbag or past-season pair of shoes, my search typically leads me down a path of open tabs, including The RealReal, Etsy, Poshmark, and the like. Only if I'm particularly desperate do I turn to eBay. The site's endless offering and often confusing range of price points don't exactly make for an online browser's paradise, but recently, I've found a renewed vigor for the site, and it's all thanks to the shopping expertise of Laura Reilly.

Reilly, founder and editor of Magasin, is a true eBay sleuth. She's a pro at sourcing the best fashion finds on the site, and one look at the collection of designer items she's amassed—from Prada heels to a matching Pleats Please Issey Miyake set—tells you all you need to know. And who among us wouldn't want to score their most coveted wish-list items at unthinkable discounts? That's what I thought. Ahead, Reilly is sharing her insider knowledge for uncovering the very best finds, so get ready to roll up your sleeves and dive into the world of eBay. Trust me. The rewards are well worth the extra effort. 

Tip #1: Filter Down to "Used" Items


(Image credit: @laurareilly___)

Item eBayed: Burberry Trench Coat

"For general vintage, cut through the mass-produced fast fashion that makes up a hefty portion of the site's merchandise by searching for your term plus the word 'used.' eBay cleverly recognizes this search and also includes items described as pre-owned and pre-worn, expanding the results page to a broader selection of second-life fashion."

Tip #2: Search by Fabric Type


(Image credit: @laurareilly___)

Item eBayed: Hermès Silk Scarf

"One of the benefits of buying secondhand clothing is being able to find fine fabrics at low costs. Searching garments by fabric can yield high-quality results. In fact, sometimes, in tandem with the above tip, I'll search for 'silk used' (while filtering in the sidebar to women's fashion) and find some amazing, unexpected items."

Tip #3: Include the Year


(Image credit: @laurareilly___)

Item eBayed: Prada Kitten-Heel Flip-Flops

"If it's archival designer you're after, include the year in your search. For instance, when I'm looking for a wide range of vintage Gucci, I'll type 'gucci 1990' into the search bar, comb through results, and then update my search to 'gucci 1991' and so on and so on, all the way up to 2002 or beyond."

Tip #4: Take Advantage of Your Watch List


(Image credit: @laurareilly___)

Item eBayed: Moda International Leather Trench Coat

"Even if I'm not sure I'll ever buy a piece, if it speaks to me, I'll add it to my watch list using the built-in heart button. I find myself going back through my saved items every so often and exploring lesser-known brands from the '80s and '90s that cropped up in my general searches and then unearthing treasure troves of those designers' hidden gems."

Tip #5: Consider European Sizing


(Image credit: @laurareilly___)

Item eBayed: Maison Margiela Tabi Flats

"When scoping out shoes, search by European sizing (e.g., if you're a US 6, search 36), and for clothes, consider Italian and French sizing too. Depending on your query, it may take some adjustments in the left-side filter to get it right, but the quality of the results is often higher caliber."

Tip #6: Be Strategic With the Sort Feature


(Image credit: @laurareilly___)

Items eBayed: Pleats Please Issey Miyake Tank-and-Cardigan Set

"If I want to emulate the feeling of a thrift store, I'll try one of my above general search terms, like 'linen used,' filtered by women's fashion, and then sort using the drop-down on the upper right to show me 'Price + Shipping: Lowest First.' If I'm looking for deals on name brands, I'll search by 'Time: Ending Soonest.' The less time there is left to be outbid by a competitor, the more likely I am to find a good deal."

Tip #7: Re-Buy Your Thrifted Treasures


(Image credit: @laurareilly___)

Item eBayed: L.L.Bean Shirt

"Perfectly fitted Levi's 550s, flowy Dior button-downs, over-starched L.L.Bean men's shirts, crisp Escada trousers—I found all of these things first at thrift stores or pricy vintage shops and then purchased them in multiples for a fraction of the price on eBay."

Up next, 30 Affordable Spring Finds on My Fashion-Editor Shopping List

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.