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Get the look, at bargain prices

by Lisa Lyford
Get the look, at bargain prices

I’m always one for a bargain, especially a great fashion bargain.


I have friends that are really jammy and always find amazing clothes and accessories either online or at pre-loved stores. The trick is to constantly keep an eye out and to have an open mind.


Check out these fab bargains I picked up from Trade Me over the past couple of months.

Gorgeous Me Trade Me 4 


Karen Walker dress $45. Advertised details: ex. condition, used, $1 reserve

Shop Karen Walker 


Federation jacket $60. Advertised details: ex. condition, used, Buy Now

Shop Federation


Isabella Anselmi ankle boots $55. Advertised details: ex. condition, used, auction  Shop ankle boots  


Vintage Handbag $6. Advertised details: good condition, used, $1 reserve  

Shop handbags



Hello, that’s a Karen Walker dress for $45 and it’s like brand-new; an equally fab label, Federation, this jacket is also in amazing condition for $60. And pre-loved ankle boots that are so in-season - perfect timing. All for $166, including the bag.


Remember, it’s about the ‘look’ you’re creating, who cares if it’s new or pre-loved.


What you also have to appreciate is that some women only hold on to their clothes for a season or two before they tire of them. That equals opportunity for you.


New and Improved Trade Me Fashion


  • Most of us know about Trade Me, but did you know they’d recently had a major revamp of their fashion/clothing category? The most exciting thing is that now you can filter by brand name, style (e.g. tops - long sleeve, short sleeve, strapless, etc), size, colour and price. Think how much more accurate your search results will be and how much time that will save.

  • Did you know that Trade Me has ‘new’ clothing too? There are many leading fashion brands, and international sellers too, so keep an eye out for the many bargains to be had.

  • Some items also have free shipping! You can now search using the ‘free shipping’ filter.

  • Another exciting development for the site overall, not just Fashion, is that from now on, any seller that is a commercial seller as opposed to an individual selling the odd item here and there, now has to identify themselves as being ‘in trade’. If a seller is ‘in trade’, you are protected under the Fair Trading Act and Consumer Guarantees Acts of New Zealand. This is great news. To see if a seller is ‘in trade’, check under the “About the seller” section. For more information on this. Also, you may be interested in our earlier blog on consumer rights & protection.



Who has time to look for bargains!


I couldn’t agree more, that’s why you can set up saved searches, alerts that will prompt you whenever new stuff comes in that meets your pre-determined criteria. For example, whenever ‘Country Road, size 16, dresses, orange’ come up, you’ll be amongst the first to know. You can set the alerts to come up daily, every few days or weekly.


You can also set up ‘seller’ alerts once you find favourite sellers. Claire loves Trade Me since her Gorgeous Me makeover gave her renewed confidence. Check out her video. (This is a different video to our previous one of Claire.)


Gorgeous Me - Post Claire 's Makeover




Important Things to Note


Buying via the likes of Trade Me is obviously a little different than buying direct from a retailer online; here you’re dealing with individual sellers. Consider these tips:


  • Do I really love this? This is non-specific, it doesn’t matter where and what you’re buying, this is always the first question. If in doubt, go without.

  • Know your size. If you’re familiar with the label that’s being sold, then you should be okay. Otherwise ask the seller what size they would normally wear in other brands you’re familiar with.

  • Ask the right questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and ask as many as you need. Ask if it has any flaws, rips, holes, stains, fading, missing buttons, etc. A good, all encompassing question to ask is, “is there any damage or anything about the [coat] that I should know about?” You could even ask the seller to take some more photos if need be. Also, check the seller’s response to other member’s questions. Remember, however, that if you’re buying ‘pre-loved’ you have to expect some wear and tear. As they say in latin, caveat emptor, “let the buyer beware”.

  • Know your rights. Read the seller’s terms of sale.

  • Seller’s history. Check feedback on the seller. Are they reliable? 

  • Don’t bid when you’ve been drinking! I foolishly bought a floor lamp when I was in a merry little state one time. It was a $1 reserve, I paid $110 and I then needed to pay to get it from Auckland to Wellington, which in itself was quite expensive. It arrived broken, from transit, and it was ugly. I was soooo not meant to have that lamp! Lesson learnt. I hope I can save one or two of you from similar pain! Don’t drink and bid!

    Similarly, don’t get caught up in the excitement of an auction, the thrill of winning. You may end up paying too much. If it’s meant to be, it will.



Argh, it’s not right!


  • If it arrives and doesn’t fit or the colour’s not quite right, you can always pop it back on Trade Me to sell. You could always ask the seller if they mind you using their photo to re-list it on Trade Me.


  • If the seller has misled you, take it up with them and look to return the item. Trade Me may get involved, but only as a last resort. Also, refer to our point above about Fair Trading Act and Consumer Guarantees Act.




Tips from an expert Trade Me fashion buyer


  • Sort by “lowest price” so you can flag potential bargains early.

  • Put everything you like on your ‘watchlist’ before bidding. Then go back and refine your results and place bids.

  • Don’t risk a bidding war! Take advantage of Buy Now options, which by-pass the auction process and ensure a quick, streamlined sale.

  • $1 reserve auctions are a great way to get slick prices on your favourite brands. Just make sure you ask questions about condition to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

  • If you’re shopping ‘used’, you may not always find an exact item straight away. Get yourself a list of items you’re after and be flexible about when you buy.

  • If you’re shopping ‘new’, filtering by Buy Now, Pay Now and ‘free shipping’ ensures you get the product nice and quick.

  • Check the total cost (shipping + listing price) to ensure the item you are purchasing is the best bang for your buck.

  • Here are some further search tips.




Of course, there’s also selling your pre-loved clothes and accessories. We’ll save that for another time.


Happy fashion shopping - just don’t bid against me :)

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