I’m a denim snob. Jeans are not worth my time if they’re not designer-made. I can spot a fake a mile away and yes, I will give them the stink eye. I love 7 For All Mankind but would not be caught dead in Seven7s (I’ll explain why in a minute). I take my jeans to get professionally hemmed even though I don’t own an iron.
The thing is, I don’t have a budget that allows for my most oft worn item of clothing to cost upwards of $250 a pop. And honestly, as much as I love Citizens of Humanity’s skinny jeans, I can’t image ever paying the same amount of money for them as I would for a new phone.
Nevertheless, I still get the jeans of my dreams — sometimes for more than half of what they would cost in stores — via that “worldwide garage sale” known as eBay. It’s the best place to buy high-end jeans that are well outside of your price range.
But you have to know how to do it right in order for this method to be truly cost-effective. Otherwise you’ll waste a small fortune on unfortunate mistakes. (Believe me, I learned the hard way.) So to save you from the ridiculous credit card debt I racked up when I first started this technique, I’m going to share five key tips for eBay-jean-bidding success (which does not include checking feedback — that’s a given for any auction site).
1. You can’t be skeeved out by second-hand stuff. In order to get a really great pair of $200 Premium Paige Laurel Canyons for well under $100, you have to be comfortable wearing used clothing. If you aren’t, this isn’t the denim saver for you. Lightly worn, second-hand pairs offer the best savings.
2. Try before you buy. While it’s possible to get lucky one or two times by blindly bidding on a pair that seem right, you need to come prepared in order to be successful. Know the brands that fit you best — go to a department store and try on as many pairs as you can. Note the size, style name and style number for each pair you like. Take measurements. When you’re ready to start shopping, keep these numbers by your computer and bid only on the pairs that you know will look good.
3. Do your brand research. The reason I’m so disdainful of Seven7s is because I got duped — I fell for this seller’s sneaky trick and assumed Seven7 and 7 For All Mankind were one and the same. Wrong! Seven7 jeans are fine in and of themselves, but they are far from high-end and certainly not worth more than $60. So pay attention to details like this when you are trying on jeans and snap some smartphone pics of the designer’s logo, back pocket and tag. Pictures don’t lie, and had I known what genuine, designer-label 7s looked like, I wouldn’t have made this mistake.
4. Look carefully at photos. Use the info you’ve gathered to examine each sellers’ pictures thoroughly. If a listing only displays one image, move on — that’s not enough to make a proper judgment (and odds are the seller is hiding something). Minimum amount of images should be four, and they should show the front, back, hem and inside tag of the jeans. Be sure to look carefully at the tag — does it look the same as the tag on the pair you tried on in the store? Is the size information the same as what the seller has advertised? Finally, make sure that the images look like they were taken in a home or office and not simply pulled from the denim brand’s website. You want to make sure that you are looking at the actual pair of jeans that you will be purchasing.
5. Use the Buy it Now feature. If a pair of jeans that you’re looking to bid on offers this option, take it. You never know with these auctions — sometimes the price can be reasonable until the final moments, when someone swoops in determined to win and ends up raising the price significantly. With Buy it Now, you can avoid all of that and nab your jeans before the price gets too high.
Those are the basics. The more you shop for jeans on eBay, the better you’ll get at spotting phonies and bidding on the pairs that will look best on you. Let me know how it goes if you try it — or if you’ve already shopped for designer denim on eBay, what was your experience like? Share in the comments!
P.S. I ended up buying two pairs of jeans while writing this piece. And realized I forgot to add this tip: Always check the inseam. If you’re on the short side like me, look for pairs that have already been hemmed. It’s a great way to save a little more money as well as a trip to the tailor.
(Photo: eBay.com Screenshot)