It’s always a wonderful idea to shop used for holiday dresses — considering they’re not part of your regular rotation and you may only wear them once or twice a year. But in 2020, secondhand shopping is especially wise. Even if you’ve managed through this economic crisis mostly unscathed, there’s enough uncertainty to justify a big pullback in your clothing budget. And one of the best ways to manage that pullback involves shopping used for stuff you won’t wear that often.
Buying used is trendy
Some 62 million women bought secondhand items in 2019, up from 56 million the year before. That stat, from Thredup’s 2020 Resale Report is just one data point that tells people what you and I already know: Buying used is trendy.
Imagine that! Fashion girls are finally warming to the idea of wearing someone else’s old clothes. Even as the industry tells us we need to remake our entire wardrobe every season to toss out the old and make new for whatever weird trend walked its way down the runway. I welcome the shift. I take it to mean budget fashion is cool again, and who doesn’t like being cool?
To celebrate the increased adoption of secondhand shopping, here’s a look at the 10 best holiday dresses on online consignment shop Thredup. (I’m also hoping to convince anyone who’s on the fence about shopping used that it truly is the most cost-effective way to add high-fashion flair to your wardrobe.) If you see anything you love, scroll to the bottom for Thredup shopping tips.
Gorgeous (used) holiday dresses
1. Little red dress ($40)
I see this dress pairing perfectly with silver pumps and a handbag that’s tea green or even a soft aqua. Put your hair up to show off your pretty shoulders, too.
2. The plunge ($40)
I always hesitate to use the term “universally flattering,” because someone will tell me that’s impossible. And I agree that nothing looks amazing on everyone, but this dress is likely to flatter a wide range of figures. The V-neck, high waist and draped skirt…just perfect.
3. Mixed media LBD ($37)
I love this holiday dress a different type of LBD. The wool skirt feels very serious, while the sheath cut and the short hemline balance that out perfectly.
4. Something blue ($28)
Pretty, pretty, pretty. The colors and textures here are so feminine — I can imagine I’d feel like a princess in this number. This is my favorite pick of this collection.
5. Foiled ($32)
For the lady who prefers to keep her decolletage under wraps — some things are too good to put on display — this Alice + Olivia dress is just the ticket. The textured and shiny floral pattern adds some holiday flair without being silly or gaudy.
6. Lovely in lace
Black isn’t the only B in town. This blue number definitely falls into the category of little blue dress, with it’s short length and body-hugging cut. What I like is that the lace and floral details soften up the sexy silhouette so you’re showing off your bod in a girly kind of way.
7. Your ivory tower ($42)
No doubt you’ll turn heads in this ivory dress by Etcetera. It has a mysterious, exotic vibe to it, but of note is the neckline and shape of the sleeve. They put the top of your shoulder bone on display — and the effect is alluring.
8. Grey goddess ($49)
Here’s another dress that uses sheer layers to double-down on femininity. The single sheer arm with the rolled strap on the right side has a toga vibe that’s feels oh-so-elegant.
9. Slinky leopard ($48)
What can I say about this piece? You can’t go wrong with a slinky animal print with side ruching.
10. Silver sparkle ($52)
This Theory dress is a classic holiday pick, with the strapless construction and sparkle overlay. The high waist and A-line skirt will give you curves if you don’t have them, or show off your curves if you do.
Essential Thredup shopping tips
1. Act fast
There’s only one available. If you find something you love in your size, pick it up quickly.
2. Know the return policy
Thredup does allow for returns, but you have to send the item back in the exact condition you received it. Don’t try and wear it and then send it back — that’s bad form. You have 14 days from the day you received the product to get it back to Thredup and there is a $1.99 restocking fee. Refunds are processed to the original form of payment, but you do not get your original shipping refunded.
3. Try the Goody Box
The Goody Box is a collection of pieces picked for you by a Thredup stylist. You pay a $10 nonrefundable deposit for the box, which is applied to any items you decide to purchase. You keep what you want and send back the rest.
4. Read the descriptions
Thredup is great about telling you in the description if the dress has any flaws. Read the description carefully and don’t settle. There are so many secondhand holiday dresses out there — hold out for the one you’ll truly love.