There is nothing more plentiful in the average American home than clothing and textiles. Despite the fact that we regularly wear only a small fraction of what we own, when you take into account seasonal clothing, stored pieces that are out of style or no longer fit, footwear and accessories, it’s not unusual for a person to own several hundred articles of clothing. Add in closets and drawers full of bedding and table and bath linens, and you’ll quickly realize that the vast majority of what you own (by quantity anyway) falls into this category.
Needless to say, the vast majority of your used clothing and textiles are of little to no value on the secondary market. But before you toss the proverbial “baby out with the bathwater,” here are some guidelines to help you determine what items might be worth reselling.
What’s hot in the antiques market
Most antique garments kept as mementos are desirable in today’s market, and the older the better. Elaborate Victorian dresses and related items are of special interest, as are flapper dresses and any other pieces that remind us of a time long ago. Accessories such as shoes and bags from this period are equally desirable.
While less popular, gentlemen’s clothing from this period is also sought after, primarily for use as costumes. Antique and vintage uniforms and accessories, including military (the higher the rank, the better), police, firefighter, nursing and scouting, are always popular.
Many styles from the 50s through the 70s are also popular again, and the more crazy and fun, the better. Items such as poodle skirts, go-go dresses and other nostalgic designs are hot sellers, as well as certain men’s pieces (think leisure suits). Nehru jackets and platform shoes are also in demand.
Other sellable items include vintage furs and better cloth coats, hats, table and bed linens (unstained), tapestries and international garments such as kimonos and lederhosen.
Condition is important
In all cases, condition is key. Items you intend to sell should be in good shape and preferably professionally cleaned. Antique garments should be sold through an antique store. Certain vintage items can be sold through consignment shops, but make sure that they really specialize in collectible garments rather than just used clothing. Watch out for fees in consignment shops, too. Many are charging 60% or more of the item’s selling price, and a one-off valuable garment may sell faster on eBay.
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