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Tips for Buying Clothing, Shoes and Accessories


  • Size - be sure you are buying the correct clothing size! This can be tricky as some manufacturers' size 8 may be another's size 10. If you are buying a label you have purchased before, use that as a guideline. Otherwise, read the description and ask the seller for exact measurements before bidding.

    Buying something manufactured in another country? These clothing size charts may be helpful, although they only show a limited range of sizes (off-site - opens in a new window).

  • Condition - If you are looking for new merchandise, search for descriptions with terms like NWT (New with tags), NBW (Never been worn), NIB (New in box) or NWOT (New with original tags). Gently used refers to merchandise which has been worn but is still in excellent condition.

    Have any allergies? Many sellers will make mention in the description of whether the item came from a smoke-free or pet-free home.

Designer Shoes, Clothing and Accessories:

  • Authenticity - if you're bidding on dollar for designer items, you may not care too much if you're getting authentic merchandise or a knock-off. However if you're paying "designer prices" you need to be sure you're getting what you're paying for!

    On auctions, check the seller's feedback - If someone is trying to pass off "Johnny Chew" shoes as authentic Jimmy Choo you can be sure previous buyers will have had something to say about it! Unscrupulous sellers have been known to use photos of genuine designer items instead of the item they are selling.

    Know the designer's merchandise - Many knockoffs of designer handbags (for example) are patterns similar to the authentic items but with key differences in details and patterns. An educated buyer can more easily spot a fake. Official sellers for a particular designer can be verified with the design house.

    Read the item description - How often do we have to say it? Read before you bid! Look for words like "faux", "replica", "look alike", "mirror image", "fake", "style", and other tip-offs that the item is not authentic. An "authentic replica Fendi style purse" is just a pretty way of saying "counterfit".

    Beware of "sob stories" - Sellers claiming to be selling an expensive item for far less than the usual price to pay for some heart-wrenching tragedy. Designer purses and shoes are hot items and a seller would have no problem getting a fair price for "the real thing".

    You may however be able to pick up used/older style designer merchandise at auction for low prices, especially clothing and fashion jewelry, but be suspicious of anyone selling the latest designer styles (brand new) in bulk and/or for unbelievable bargain prices!

  • Summary

    Authentic designer label merchandise you may find at auction for low prices: Off-the-rack designer label sportswear and other clothing for men, women and children. Items may be gently-used or unworn goods from last season. Accessories such as scarves and fashion jewelry.

    Bargain priced, no-reserve auctions for the following are less likely to be genuine designer merchandise: Shoes (especially womens shoes), handbags and purses. Bidding may start at one dollar, but expect to have a reserve price on the item - no seller is likely to risk getting $1 for an authentic Fendi handbag! But you may find some convincing replicas for that price.


  • Shoe Sizes - As with clothing, shoe sizes can be tricky to judge, especially if you are trying to figure out the US equivalent of a European size 39 shoe! We found this handy international shoe size reference chart which you may find helpful .

    When in doubt, measure the length of your foot and ask the seller for an exact measurement of the length of the shoe! Keep in mind that pointy or narrow toed shoes and high heels may feel smaller when worn, and that there's a little more leeway for size errors on open shoes, clogs and sandals.


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