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


45 thoughts on “Between Us Girls, Let’s Talk Thrift Store Lingerie

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  1. Thevail

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    1. Anna Newell Jones

      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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    1. Tina

      I am a collector of vintage lingerie, (have about 300 pieces) and have recently decided to sell my slip collection. there are approximately 35-40, mostly white/cream and vintage from the 50s-70s and made in USA. sizes run from 32-36 with some 38s These are in very good condition, no major tears or rips in the fabric or lace, but definitely resellable.

  13. pantiegoddess

    My goodwill sells lace panties in stock (400 in 3 colors at a time) with tags on them in no name brands like Jolies Boutique. Yes they were never worn. I picked up dozen in pale blue and white at 49 cents for my fiance to admire. I have 20 pairs which cost less than what girls pay for a bra. Teehee they are tiny lace boy short with a cute silver beaded bow on front. My goodwill also gets Pink panties unworn with the proper tags. Make sure they have the tags attached or don’t buy! People who donate their used underwear are creepy.

    I would never buy thrift store underwear that were worn! Just creepy!

  14. Cecilia Jones

    Yes, I love buying used lingerie … it’s so much less expensive than shopping in Victoria Secrets or even some of the sleazy men’s sex stores …

    Does anyone know of a thrift store in the Denver area that has a large supply of used lingerie … I travel to many of them, but they don’t always have what I’m after …. so, I’d love to find some pink garter belts and even some sexy pink dresses to wear with all of my pink undergarments and stockings …

  15. Kelly

    I have never done much thrift store shopping, in general- but found this article while I was searching for info about lingerie re-sale. I’m definitely sold on the benefits of looking at thrift stores for new additions to my wardrobe, BUT my question is: can I sell lingerie I don’t want anymore to thrift stores? What’s the process? Thanks!

  16. Ruth

    Idk if I’d ever buy used lingerie. I don’t think I could shake the icky “someone else wore this” feeling. Illogical, I know, since I’m completely fine with wearing other used clothing. Oh well. Kudos to you for being more open-minded/logical than me.

  17. Elizabeth Susan Carter

    Good Post

    I have a heap of vintage lingerie, just hesitant to take out the panty like you suggested, as I am afraid of damaging the items.

    Stuck between a rock and a hard place because if I do not rip them out this might land me in the business of selling “used panties” and that is the last place I want to be

    for a future post, possibly tell us about good ways of cleaning clothing we find at thrift stores :)

    Thanks for the read, I now follow you <3

  18. Chelsea Allen

    does anyone know of any online sites to sell used lingerie at…. clean of course only worn once and washed….not like they stayed on for any length of time anyway. lol I have a huge bag of ones that i would like to sell but have no clue where.

  19. Terri

    My local thrift shop is the best place to find vintage bras at only 99 cents each. After rummaging through the 3 bins of bras, I can select the ones I would be interested in buying. I can try them on in the dressing room. I only buy the ones that fit and look and feel good on. I have quite a selection of bras with a low investment. Makes me happy. :)

  20. Terry weinstock

    I retired from being a lingerie designer for many years. I have a huge amount of original sleepwear samples but have had no luck with thrift shops. Apparently sleepwear is not that desirable for thrift shops. These garments were never worn and are beautiful. Can you recommend any thrift shops that will take units on consignment? Do you know where I can make donations?

  21. Roxy

    I have darling sets from the Intimiso line by VS from about 10 years ago. I probably wore the sets twice. I never did anything gross in them because they were really just to get the blood moving and then they were off…if you get my drift. I recently pulled them out of storage and have been trying to figure out what to do with them. I’ve had 3 kids and don’t see any of them fitting again. They were expensive sets and I don’t want them to be tossed at a thrift store because they aren’t new. What should I do with them? I would give them away if I new someone would use them.

  22. MrsJenke

    I just found a Victoria’s Secret purple push-up bra today at my local thrift store for $6! It was in like new condition, with the tag looking brand new, and there were no stains on the bra, no smell, no nothing. I went home and tried it on…perfect, brand new VS fit. Score! I would never buy used panties, but I am already thinking about going back and purchasing another VS bra I saw there.

  23. Sheri

    I have Crohns, so my weight fluctuates and now I have a box full of BEAUTIFUL lingerie that I can’t fit in and most of which still has tags on it. Most were bought from Fredericks of Hollywood and are more of babydolls/gowns (more “tasteful” than “bold” if that makes sense) I don’t know where or how to even begin to sell these. Most came with thongs, so I’m not even worried about that. I just hate to see beautiful night wear (beautiful and some are very sexy) sit in a box wasting away into nothing. Any suggestions? Sadly I spent alot of money and can maybe only hang onto one or two of them. Beautiful variety of colors and designs too. Should I start with Ebay or start locally?

  24. Me

    Selling vintage lingerie? Yes indeed. :) I make $2k-$4K a month selling vintage lingerie. I don’t even work 40 hours a week. I work much less. You can very much make a buck. :)

  25. Sharita

    I have use lingerie items I am looking to sell some of the fittings is not my style and a relative gave somethings to me that was entirely too big. Looking to get rid of these lingerie sets for an affordable price.

  26. Sharita Rivers

    I have lingerie that was given to me as a gift some I don’t want and I am trying to sell them to companies that buy back lingerie

  27. Yvonne

    If they are nearly new or barely worn, I don’t see it being a problem. Donate some money to breast cancer my favourite charity x

  28. Annette

    I have bought beautful vintage
    nylon and lace trim full slips
    manufactured in the 1950 -1970’s era
    from various thrift stores in my area,
    and they are just so lovely to wear
    after I wash them at home.
    I have had a lot of luck with these slips,
    I just can’t seem to find enough of them
    in my size there.
    The thrift store prices are right for vintage
    slips, and I found slip treasures there.
    I wish thrift stores had websites for me to browse for me to buy silky nylon
    and lace trim full and half slips in my size
    for me to pick up or have shipped to me,
    instead of going through the store lingerie section to find the exact slips I want to buy there.


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