Thrifting from ThredUp – Cerulean Chinos

The universe is laughing at me right now.

You’ll probably recall my musings a few weeks ago about cerulean chinos – how they would make a perfect pop in my wardrobe and how I want to replace my navy pants with something brighter and less fussy for summer.

I was committed to wait it out on this one – I knew if I looked long enough and diligently enough I’d find something I loved.  After all, thrifting is a long game, and the long game ain’t failed me yet.

But then, I read a post about someone else’s experience with ThredUp (more on that tomorrow) and a lightswitch flipped. If I knew exactly what I wanted, and I want to wear it this season, not in 5 months when I finally find the perfect pair at a brick and mortar thrift store, why wouldn’t I hop online and see if I could secondhand me some cerulean chinos RIGHT NOW?

So I did.

I got on ThredUp (you have to create an account to browse – boo – but at least it’s free), searched for “cerulean chinos” (no dice), then “blue chinos,” then “Gap blue chinos” since I loved the ones just a size too small I had spotted at the Goodwill, and filtered for my size.

And this is what I found:


Price was $12 and change, plus shipping (about $6).

(Pro tip: Google “ThredUp coupon” and find yourself some free shipping or % discount.  I found a 40% off coupon for first time buyers which basically nixed the shipping price.)

At my local Goodwill I would pay less than this for pants, but I would also take longer to find just the right pair – so I figured I was paying for the ability to wear it all summer long, which was just fine with me.  Also, there are free returns within a certain time period, so I wouldn’t be out any money at all if I didn’t love them (not true at Ye Olde Thrifte Shoppe).

I got an email when it shipped and (after a holiday weekend) it arrived 6 days later.

This is the lovely packaging (I’d be willing to pay less to skip the cute sticker, the little booklet, the postcard inside, etc. etc.):


And how they look on:


Verdict: Too big, even though the next size down is too small (different season/style?  Label is the same on the inside of the pants….).  I was pretty disappointed, not gonna lie.

Then I went thrifting this weekend and found the exact, perfect-fitting, pants I was looking for by Loft for half the price of the ThredUp pants.  If only I’d had the perspective to play that long game a little longer…

They need to be hemmed but that’s easy peasy.

Thankfully ThredUp has free returns, but if you want your money returned, you have to pay a $9 processing fee.  If you want your money credited to use later on ThredUp, no fee – so for now, I have $12 floating around ThredUp waiting to be used, but of course I’ll have to pay shipping for whatever item I cash that in on.

(I heard you can set an alert for when new items fitting your search filter are posted, but I haven’t figured out how to do that.  Anyone out there know?)

I probably won’t shop secondhand online regularly because of the price, the possibility of a dodgy fit even when I know the brand (see above), and my laziness about returning things. Plus, online shopping just isn’t as fun for me as in-person shopping.

But maybe for you, online secondhand is the answer to your time-tight, live-nowhere-near-thrift-stores, or hate-fitting-rooms lifestyle – and you’re in love!  Maybe your only problem is that it’s SO easy/fun that you have to be careful not to drop a (relative) fortune.


Have you tried ThredUp, Schoola, or other sites geared specifically to the secondhand clothing shopping experience?  (Or Ebay’s great filtering system to help you sort through their zillions of clothing listings?) Scroll down to share!


5 thoughts on “Thrifting from ThredUp – Cerulean Chinos

  1. How great that you found what you were looking for in the end! — And hey, the ThredUp experience is valuable blog research, so I wouldn’t say it was a total wash.

    I’ve ordered from ThredUp for my daughter once but their selection in big-girl/elementary school-age sizes tends to be focused on trendy brands/styles that I’m not so interested in for her. Too many Juicy Couture velour tracksuits for $50+…no thanks! (I think their selection in smaller kid sizes is a lot nicer, so you could always use your credit for clothes for your girl!)

    I also looked at their women’s offerings but again I felt they were targeting a different style/aesthetic than I was interested in and I didn’t feel confident enough about the specifics (size, etc.) of what I’d be getting to place an order.

    I’m curious what your beef is with Ebay. I think it has a lot of advantages that ThredUp lacks: (1) items available reflect a much broader aesthetic (almost as broad as a thrift store, but easier to sift through to find the good stuff!); (2) access to information about fiber content and garment measurements. (Many listings include this as a matter of course, and other sellers will provide if you message and ask.) Having the exact measurements of a garment is the single biggest factor in ensuring internet-secondhand-shopping success, in my experience. I realize not everything sold on Ebay is secondhand, but it’s pretty easy to filter out what’s not.

    1. Yup, good blog research! I agree with you about the aesthetic on ThredUp – since I’m into more classic styles and not as many trendy things, it’s a bit harder to find things I’d want. It’s the same reason I don’t tend to shop consignment stores – they often focus on trendy things and leave those of us who don’t want neon/peplum/whatever out in the cold.

      Juicy Couture velour tracksuits for $50+, how can you say no?!?

      I’m embarrassed to say my “beef” with Ebay was based on outdated information – it’s been yeeeears since I searched for secondhand clothing on there, back when there was no filtering system so you had to just hope people had tagged items with the generic search terms you used, and the pictures were usually of a wrinkled up shirt on someone’s bed with horrible lighting. I now see they have filters galore including secondhand as you helpfully pointed out, and the pics are universally better. Off to edit my post to reflect reality – thanks for the wakeup call! :)

  2. Personally I think Thred Up is expensive. I like to touch fabric and examine it closely for wear. I also don’t like returning items and going to the post office. I do buy things occasionally on ebay, but I am usually familiar with manufacturer. I bought a gap down coat for $10 on ebay.

    Usually I go to a local thrift shop. I can find new or gently used items for cheap. Yesterday I found new awesome via spiga sandals for $5.. I found a Kate Spade ring for $1.. Tops are $4..

    Shopping for used items helps with my budget and it affords a bit of entertainment with the hunt of the find.

    1. I agree – I went searching for a blue sheath dress on ThredUp and the only thing I found in a price range I’m willing to pay (still twice what I’d pay at the thrift store) was polyester and poor quality. Something I was actually interested in was $45 and I know I can find that same brand for $6 at the Goodwill if I am patient. And yep, I want to be able to feel the clothing. I knew the feel of the fabric on the Gap chinos and thought I knew the sizing…but alas, ’twas not so.
      Do you find eBay prices lower because it’s an individual selling for what they think it’s worth vs. a business (like ThredUp) marking things up?
      And YES, the entertainment with the hunt! That’s half the fun. Thanks for commenting!

      1. I think ebay sellers factor in what clothes are worth on a secondary market. Shipping should always be a consideration. I just bought a calvin klein top for $8 incl shipping, only because I love their fit and quality.

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