Between Us Girls, Let’s Talk Thrift Store Lingerie

thrift store lingerie

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner it makes me wonder about all that lingerie at the thrift store. Does anyone ever buy it, and if you DO decide to buy it how much, ahem, sanitizing does it need? Ahlissa Eichhorn is a lover of flourishing, living, and writing. She writes over at Money is Fickle, and just so happens to be a fan of thrift store lingerie so today she’s telling us all about it. 

Every woman, young and less young, know that you can score some real treasures in a thrift store. It’s becoming easier to be fashionable while hunting through the bargain bin, especially with vintage always being “in” along with the unspoken fact that grandpa sweaters will always be cool. But what about the “automatically ignore” section called, “Lingerie”? Lingerie, yes, as in attire worn under clothing or for intimate pursuits, as I like to say. Can a level-headed female even consider prying through camisoles and bras worn by others? Let’s talk about that.

The first issue is undoubtedly hygiene. I do not support buying used panties! That would be crossing the line in many books. But otherwise, lingerie is just like any skirt or shirt you’d buy at the thrift store. It has been worn by another person.  “But what if other…stuff…has been on it? You know, because it is lingerie?” Well, no one knows what the girl did in the skirt you just bought and I’m pretty sure you don’t want to know. In any case, the solution is called water and laundry detergent. Genius inventions they are. Now, if you can’t get pass the fact that somebody may have done something steamy in an item, by all means don’t fluster yourself over it.

Reasons I’m Into Thrift Store Lingerie…

 

1. Used lingerie is cheaper

Keep in mind that the thrift store isn’t the only place to find it. There are thousands of Ebay auctions going on right now for bras, many new with tags, of various brands: Maidenform, Victoria’s Secret, Ambrielle, Frederick’s, etc. All you need is an account. I have won 3 Victoria’s Secret bras in my size and in excellent condition for under $30 TOTAL. Crazy awesome, I know. You can learn practically everything about the bras condition just by looking at them. If there are no visible sweat stains, snags, stretched elastic, or rogue under wires, you are good to go. Don’t hesitate to look for nightgowns, corsets, garter belts, and other pieces as well. Chances are they were worn only once, received as a gift, simply the wrong size, or the original owner just didn’t need the item anymore.

2. If it’s damaged, you can up-cycle it and make it fresh again

Vintage night slips are common hanger holders in my local Goodwill. They are cute, functional, and were well made for a woman’s physique but they may have gotten some abuse over the years. If there is a hole in the lace, replace it. Better yet, revamp it and make it your own. Just think, no other girl in the world would have the same 1950’s full slip with the limited edition Swarovski crystal stretch lace.

3.  Vintage lingerie sells very well

Look long and hard for good, quality pieces. Look beyond the 1980’s and try for older decades. Seek out stockings, garter belts, garters, cinchers, bras, bralettes, teddies, robes, camisoles, etc. If you’re unsure about the approximate era of an item, look up any info you have about it. Type in the brand, serial number, or exact item name to start out or ask a lingerie expert. You’ll want to be as specific as possible for customers. To make items with crotch panels more useable, use a seam ripper and replace it with new fabric. If you want to get into the business selling vintage lingerie there is a buck to be made.

There are plenty of hidden beauties at your local thrift store that would love to make you look good and if you think it’s weird that I’m wearing some other woman’s bra that’s okay with me because I’m going to continue be neat and perky underneath your Grandpa Joe’s cardigan. It’ll be our little secret.

 

What about you, would you consider wearing used lingerie? 

image alanat

17 comments

in Make Do & Mend, Style, Things To Do

17 Comments

  1. Thevail // January 20, 2013

    I buy used lingerie all the time at thrift stores. It’s easy to tell if something has been worn or not usually. Crinkled stretched out,or stained lace and elastic is a no-go for me. But especially with bras it’s easy to tell if the item has more wear left in it! I’m a slightly unusual size so good bras cost A LOT. If I see one in my size that is in great shape, I’m on it. I frequently find underwear as well, in new condition..check the tag it’ll usually indicate whether the item has been washed. I’ve also worked in thrift stores and trust me, anything like that with any sign of staining or a smell or even looking grungy is usually discarded. (as quickly as possible while wearing gloves)

    So if you see a steal go for it! Wash it in a lingerie bag in very warm water with a bit of vinegar and Voila! germs..dead. Then lay flat or hang appropriately to dry. The reality is this stuff isn’t really “dryable”. The most frequent reason people donate this stuff is that it sat in a drawer waiting for someone to lose 10 pounds until they got rid of it.

  2. Morgan // January 20, 2013

    I have some great vintage slips/négligés that I bought at thrifts stores for a few bucks each. The great thing is they are usually made in Canada/Europe and are great quality compared to all the “Made in China” stuff you get now.

  3. Meg // January 20, 2013

    Funny, I just put a cute bra and panty set (2 different kinds of matching panties in fact) in my thrift store bin at home and was wondering if anyone would buy it! It’s super cute and yellow and I don’t fit in XS. Even when I did, the set was on the small and uncomfortable side. Hopefully someone will guess that the previous owner did not do gross stuff and will actually use the pieces more than twice. The fact is we all buy things that we know are uncomfortable but we think that being cute is worth it (it’s not). Side note: my aunt used to buy granny panties from the flea market. Gross!

  4. Barb // January 21, 2013

    I buy used camisoles ALL the time…haven’t really considered underwear because I am addicted to expensive bras but I think I will take a look the next time I am in Goodwill!

  5. Jessica N // January 24, 2013

    I can’t say I have ever bought underwear at the Thrift store, but definitely bras. I’ve ever purchased really cute lingerie tops that were so new they still had the store tags on them. You really never know what treasures you will find at the thrift store!

  6. Rachel // January 28, 2013

    Thanks, y’all. I actually NEVER look at that section – but since I can’t afford new stuff, I am wearing the most remarkably ratty, stretched, ill-fitting underwear and bras you can imagine. This post has set my mind at ease and given me a new outlook. My husband will thank you.

  7. Sweet Cherry Vintage // February 3, 2013

    Of course, YES. What is the difference between buying a nightgown or say a dress from a thriftstore? Nothing. The only thing I would be leary of is underwear (panties) unless they obviously look new. Even if used, you can wash and put them in the microwave (only wet) to kill off all germs for 2 minutes. I personally would not wear used underwear, even properly cleaned, but nothing wrong with bras, nightgowns, slips, robes.

    • Anna Newell Jones // February 8, 2013

      I’ve seen the thing about the microwave killing germs on things like sponges but I never considered it for things like thrift-store underwear. Good idea! (Still don’t know if I’d buy it though;)

  8. Anne // March 21, 2013

    If I saw any bras worth thrifting in my size, I’d be all over them! I bought a few bustiers off of ebay, but I have yet to come across anything other than wayy-to-used grandma bras at physical thrift shops.

  9. Marie Vlasic // April 23, 2013

    The Goodwill on Broadway actually has NEW undies with tags! And lots of great bras…My fav bras are Wacoal, which retail starting at $60. Thankfully I’ve found many Wacoal bras in my size, new and near new at the thrift store! Not to mention some awesome designer PJs.

  10. Gita Amanda // October 24, 2013

    Every time I go to my local thrift store I always skip the lingerie section because I’m not sure that I would feel comfortable wearing used lingerie. But after reading your post I think I will check it next time I go and try to find a brand new with tags bras — for a starter ;)

  11. jen // January 9, 2014

    ive bought hundreds of dollars of used lingerie slips, gowns, robes ect, 75% of what i buy is pretty much brandnew, i just take every thing home wash it and some items i sell for more then what i paid for

  12. Cat // January 27, 2014

    Tell me, where can I sell my old lingerie? I only wear it once (for 10 seconds lol) and to be honest I find it pointless to buy another lingerie now. Is there a lingerie thrift shop? Someone let me know please.

  13. Lilith // September 30, 2014

    looking to buy vintage full slips for our shop in the UK in quantity. Anyone out there able to supply me?

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