Friends can’t believe that I buy most of my clothes on eBay. The trick is to buy “new” and stick with brands you have purchased before so you know how they fit.
I’m comfortable buying most anything on eBay. For instance I buy all my swim suits on eBay but usually I buy only the brand names I know because suits within a brand usually fit the same way. I love the Carol Wior swimsuits. They are fully lined and keep their elasticity after lots of time in the pool. I know what style suits me best, so buying a swim suit on line is definitely possible. Gottex styles also appeal to me, but they aren’t fully lined and sometimes they run smaller. I have several Miraclesuits, but find they eventually lose elasticity.
Things to watch for when shopping on eBay
I would recommend that before you bid on shorts or slacks, you do your homework. I suggest you spend some time shopping in stores and write down how different brands fit you. Shop for those same brands and styles on eBay. Restrict yourself to only those you’ve tried on. You will probably be able to get them for less than half price (sometimes as little is $.99) so it’s worth a little extra effort. (Create “searches” so you are notified when someone lists your favorites in your size.)
But the other method of finding a good fit for shorts or slacks is to measure a pair which you currently own to know exactly what size fits you best. Then request the exact measurements of the item for sale. Often the eBay listing won’t include this information, but ask the seller to lay the item flat and measure hip, waist, and the rise. (Rise is especially important and often forgotten.) Take into consideration the fabric. If the slacks you measure have stretch and you love them, don’t think a similarly measured pair with no stretch will work.
Do not shop by size unless you know how the brand fits you and even then, ask for measurements. I have made the mistake twice of going with a name brand in “my size” but not checking the measurements. In these two cases I was disappointed, the brand was one I had purchased but it was mis-marked. I should have asked measurements and I would have realized they weren’t true to size. Note: Often the seller has been able to buy the item cheaply because the size is wrong. Using measurements, you will find that the measurements will vary as much as three sizes.
And don’t be turned off because you need a larger size. I’m looking at a cute top on eBay which is a “large.” I usually wear medium, but this one says, “It is a size Large which fits a 36″ bust size. Fabric is stretchy, so it can easily fit a size up or down.” I would bet I’d need a “large.” Measurements are the key.
I said, “buy new,” but there are exceptions. I have purchased lots of crocheted tops that were pre-owned. If the item is clean and in good condition, it is often a good way to go. I wouldn’t recommend buying used knitted items but crocheted items of rayon or cotton seem to look like new longer. Many of the items which are listed as crocheted are actually knitted or even worse, they are created of fabric to look like crocheting. (Crocheting is an art form using a hook and yarn or thread. It can not be done by machine while knitting can be machine made.)
EBay is especially good for matching items that you love in your wardrobe. Example: I had purchased some capris on sale at Kohl’s which I loved. Unfortunately the next season that style was replaced by other styles I didn’t like as well. So I went on eBay and shopped by brand. It was easy to spot the style which I liked. I was able to buy them in several different colors. I knew how they’d fit. Right now I’m hoping to find some Koret capris which I already have but I’d like to duplicate in other colors.
Shoes are often great buys on eBay. Buy new. Shoes are pretty standardized in size. Generally a size 7N is a 7N. I have just purchased pair of shoes to replace some which I’ve worn out. They have served me well. I spotted some very similar (same brand) on eBay so I bought them. They haven’t arrived yet but I’m sure I’ll be happy.
With sandals, I have shopped by brand and style. Since I have very narrow feet, I usually try to buy only those with heel straps.
What wouldn’t I buy on eBay? I wouldn’t recommend flash drives from Hong Kong or any other foreign country. If you find a 128 GB flash drive at an unbelievable price, resist the urge to order it. It’ll come packaged to look like it’s a name-brand, but it probably won’t work.
Recently I bought some nice sized fresh-water pearl earrings for $.99 from China. I figured I wouldn’t be out much if they weren’t nice, but they are very attractive! Just make sure you buy from a seller with decent feedback. There is one pearl seller with nearly 5,000 sales in 12 months and only ONE dissatisfied customer. A string of freshwater pearls for under $10 is a bargain.
Be sure you watch shipping costs. If you get a great price, but pay high shipping, it’s no bargain.
Electronics can also be found at remarkable prices, but before you buy on eBay, google that same product and see how much it will cost and make sure it’s just what you want. Once you know what you want, often you’ll find an online price that is lower than on eBay. (I just found a battery for my new video camera at an unbelievable price. They were also available on eBay, but more expensive.)
I suggest that you create saved searches on eBay and check them every day. Don’t expect to find the perfect item immediately.
eBay is extremely safe. (I got a full refund for the flash drive which I bought from Hong Kong.) Always use Paypal. It’ll make refunds much easier.
I have also looked at items on http://www.shopgoodwill.com/default.asp. (Haven’t purchased from them but especially used musical instruments appear to be good deals. Again, check shipping costs – they seem high on this site.
I have purchased many items which have been great deals on eBay. I purchased a service for 12 lovely Pfaltzcraft stainless 18/8 for about $50. Hand made Christmas placemats and table runner for about $15. I’ve purchased lovely handmade afghans, cellphones, cellphone batteries, my favorite perfume, bras. musical instruments, instrument tuners, glassware. I’m always looking for a bargain.
Have I been burned by a bad seller or a bum deal? Once I bought an HP printer which ended up not being what was described. I got my money back. Same is true of a cellphone which was advertised as new but had been set up with someone else’s passwords. EBay has gotten better about refunds. A month or two ago, I bought a flash drive which didn’t work and had my money back the same day I complained.
I have actually thought about running “classes” in Florida for folks who want to understand how to shop successfully on eBay. Might be a good idea, but then I’d be competing with these folks for the “hot items.”