Glossary Part Two – Types of second hand items

Pre-owned/loved/hated items – (It seems to me that things put up for re-sale are more likely to have been hated than loved.) The second hand market is based on secondary ownership of items originally purchased from a retail distributor. Basically, an item that someone bought at retail (or received as a gift) and wore or used or tried on or never touched and then decided to re-sell. To buy something second hand, there had to be a first hand!

There are some subcategories of second hand items that are frequently mentioned and confused:

  • Thrifted items – I think of thrifted items as items bought at a hardcore thrift or charity shop, which does minimal pre-sorting and relies on donations for its stock. The glory of a thrifted item is the sense of having found a diamond in the rough, rather than having it presented on a silver platter. I have seen the term “thrifted” refer to any item bought second hand, but I think this is a bit confusing as in “I just thrifted this Prada bag (for $300 at theRealReal).” It is second hand, but thrifted seems a bit of a stretch.
  • Vintage items – Vintage items are a particular sub-category of second hand goods referring to older items. (Etsy uses 20 years or older and that seems reasonable.) If you go to a thrift store and find a vintage Christian Laboutin
    Thrifted vintage Christian Lacroix Bazaar handbag, bought at a charity shop for about $2.

    bag you can say you thrifted vintage, but most things in most thrift stores are from the last few years. Most vintage items are pre-owned but there is a separate category of deadstock defined below.

  • Deadstock – These are items that were never sold and kept in inventory somewhere. They are usually identified by the original tags still being attached, but sometimes a storage container of deadstock is found or a reseller buys unsold stock from a retailer. Deadstock can also refer to unsold merchandise that is no longer being offered at retail. Deadstock vintage is generally of interest to collectors, but for others the condition of an item is more important than its history. There are advantages to finding clothing that has already been washed and worn.

    Deadstock Yves Saint Laurent skirt.

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