Shopping for Children’s Apparel on the Consignment Site The Real Real
My curiosity finally won out and I tried The RealReal, an online luxury consignment shop. It puts couture labels like Hermès, Prada, and Valentino at price points even mere mortals can afford. The shop sells gently used luxury goods for a fraction of the price you’d pay new, and all items are authenticated.
I’ve eyed their Chanel tweeds and Burberry scarves, but can’t justify buying. I am more interested in timelessness, good design, and solid quality than specific labels. And I’m a big fan of sustainable, circular fashion. When it’s affordable. Especially for my kids.
Luckily, there is a lovely children’s section on The RealReal. Brands range from Chloe and Versace to Hanna Andersson and Tea Collection. Well-heeled moms who sell their used couture wears on The RealReal consign their kids’ clothes there, too. And their kids’ attire is just as high-end.
I purchased 5 kids’ items from The RealReal for my 4-year-old daughter and 2 items for my 2-year-old son. I purchased everything in one size up so they can get two seasons of wear out of everything. Slightly loose for this season, and then more fitted the next.
Brands and Items I Purchased
- Oscar de la Renta blouse
- Oscar de la Renta leggings
- Mar Mar Copenhagen dress NWT
- Oeuf brand alpaca wool leggings
- Aviator zippered hoodie
- Bobo Choses dress
- Bobo Choses sweatshirt
I did look for more things for my son, but didn’t find anything else that I saw him getting lots of wear from.
Verdict on Purchases
Big Winner: The Oscar de la Renta blouse is exquisite and I’m jealous it’s not my size. It looks NWOT (new without tags) and the material looks and feels like a silk-linen blend, although the tag says 100% cotton.
Big Winner Runner-Up: Mar Mar Copenhagen dress. Brand new with tags, it was a steal. The fabric, cut, and quality are great. Similar quality to Kate Quinn, Kyte Baby, or Go Gently Nation.
Happy With: Leggings from both brands. I went for de la Renta out of curiosity. They have a silky bamboo feel and looked almost new. The Oeuf leggings felt a bit spendy for being secondhand but were priced much cheaper than what they go for new. And I’m a big fan of the Oeuf brand and both my kids have the same style of leggings in different colors. Also, the used pair I got from The RealReal looked new.
Underwhelmed: Aviator Nation zippered hoodie is meh. I wanted to love it, and I was glad to be able to try the cult brand at an affordable price tag. Other used hoodies for that brand were priced close to $100. The fabric showed a lot of linting. In better condition, I may have been properly wooed.
More Details and Tips on Shopping The RealReal
After purchasing secondhand kids’ clothes from the luxury consignment site, here’s what I’ve discovered.
- Shop by size. Go to the kids’ section, and filter your search to the sizes needed. This will give you the most options to skim through.
- Be brand open. (Which is why shopping by size is helpful.) Primarily a women’s fashion site, the children’s selection is a fraction of the goods. Small but mighty. Search “Mini Rodini”, you may get only a couple of hits and be disappointed. Search by size or garment type, and you’ll be surprised and delighted.
- There’s almost always a RealReal promo code. There are different percentages off, for the same code, based on brand, item type, or the date the item was listed.
- Items you add to your cart are reserved for 20 minutes. For that window of time, only you can buy that item. Afterward, your cart gets emptied. I took longer than 20 minutes to complete the transaction. I took a couple of days. In my browse history, I could easily re-add items that had been removed from my cart. I didn’t want to be time-pressured, but for the right piece, I may have been motivated to check out within 20 minutes.
- You can return most items. As long as it’s not marked as final sale. Items must be returned within the allotted 21-day window, with all tags attached. (All garments came with a RealReal garment tag.)
- You can also shop at actual store locations. There are brick-and-mortar locations in and around New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, Miami, and Washington D.C.
How Much is Clothing on The Real Real?
Most children’s clothing items range in price from $6 to $300, but there are couture items priced in the thousands.
Women’s clothing starts at $7.50 and can run north of $40,000. You can find hundreds of items for under $100, and at multiple other price points.
For kids’ brands (where I have more experience with pricing and re-sale value of used kids’ clothing), the pricing seemed fair. But pricing was a bit off from what you might see on Kidizen, Poshmark, or Buy Sell Trade groups.
Listings and prices you might find:
- Hanna Andersson 2-piece pajama sets with the Pajama Top in one listing and the Pajama Bottoms in another. And each separate is marked at around $12 to $15.
- Pre-loved Mini Boden dresses (sweatshirt applique styles, no HTF unicorns) listed at $40.
- Knit separates for Bobo Choses and Oeuf are priced at or around $20. (I’m crying over a Bobo Choses terry romper in size 6M that’s only $15.)
- Couture brand separates and dresses that priced around $20 to $50 each.
- Lots of Stella McCartney priced around $10 to $30.
- Pajama bottoms (clearly PJ bottoms) listed as leggings.
Some brands are a better deal on The RealReal and some are pricier. You can tell that their expertise lies in pricing Chagall paintings and Chanel suits, not kids’ pajamas and more pedestrian (non-couture) brands.
What Brands Does The RealReal Sell?
The Real Real sells any luxury or haute couture brand you can think of when it comes to clothing, shoes, handbags, home goods, or other accessories. This includes fine China handpainted in France, framed lithographs, and vintage Louis Vuitton travel trunks. Some items top $100,000. But many goods, including garments and purses, are priced under $100.
For kidswear, The Real Real sells a mix of couture, boutique niche labels, higher-end organic brands, and sportswear. Some of these brands include:
- Oeuf NYC
- Janie and Jack
- Stella McCartney Kids
- Little Marc Jacobs
- Hanna Andersson
- Aviator Nation
- Bobo Choses
- Christian Dior
- Kenzo Kids
- Outdoor Voices
- Tea Collection
- Dolce & Gabbana
- Rylee + Cru
- Golden Goose
- The Animals Observatory
- Misha and Puff
- Petit Bateau
- Deux Par Deux
- Mini Boden
- Petit Bateau
- Kissy Kissy
Pros and Cons of Shopping The Real Real for Kids’ Clothes
There are pluses and minuses when it comes to shopping The Real Real, and it comes to what you value and what you’re searching for.
- It’s a circular fashion loop which is better for the environment. Clothing that might otherwise be hoarded (gathering dust in armoires) is being put back in circulation so that other children can wear it. This extends the life of clothing.
- It gives high-fashion-loving parents an easy way to shop pre-loved. I think many shoppers, regardless of income, are willing to think secondhand first. But finding a used Versace taffeta party dress in a 4T isn’t always an easy feat. The RealReal offers a solution.
- It’s a more affordable way to shop for high-end and luxury brands.
- There’s a wide variety of options for babies, kids, tweens, and teens. You can find a mix of brands, budgets, and garment conditions available.
- Plenty of gender-neutral clothing options. It makes things easier for passing on to siblings and gives me a wider audience for re-selling used clothes later.
- Lots of fun “boy” brands and styles, ranging from laid-back cool to polished gentleman.
- Many of the promo code deals are quite good.
- I dislike the 20-minute timers. An item you put in the garment is reserved for you for 20 minutes, and then available again to the general public. I suppose some sort of time limits are necessary when everything listed is one-of-a-kind. But this puts pressure on the shopper to buy. Now. The appeal to FOMO is huge in messaging, colors, alerts, and timers.
- Middle-tier high-end brands, like Hanna Andersson or Mini Boden, are priced comparatively high vs other used clothing apps.
- There’s a push to buy more and to be green. The messaging is paradoxical. Everything is about newness, discovering what’s new, coming back, and never missing out.
- There isn’t a store location near me. (The nearest one would be a 6-hour car hike to Chicago.)
- There is no referral program. (Or rather, I’d have to join their “stealth luxury” program called First Look and pay $12 a month (billed automatically). It gives you extra time to shop, early access to new merchandise, and the ability to refer friends where you and your referrals both get a reward.
Bottom Line on Shopping for Kids on The RealReal
I think The RealReal is a good spot, among many, to find pre-loved garments for your kids. If you value style, high-end labels, and sustainable shopping, The RealReal has nice optoons. Depending on the brand and age of the item’s listing (how long it’s been for sale on the site), you can find some good deals.
For me, I don’t think that a First Look membership is worth it. Personally, it would just encourage me to over-shop instead of looking for certain garments to fill in gaps in my kids’ wardrobe. And I would rather experience JOMO (the Joy Of Missing Out) than worry about not getting first rummaging rights.
However, if I were extremely invested in a particular brand (i.e. my kids only wore Stella McCartney Kids) or particular fabric or type of garmment (i.e. my kids had sensory issues), I might consider a First Look membership. But for the rest of us, it’s free to shop the website and browse their catalogue of 1,000,000,000+ goods.
And TBH, it was kind of fun to browe through the site: the digital graveyard of rich people’s lives. I liked doing it with a chipped Target mug of decaf in hand. No kids around. Contemplating how so many people had enough money to even aquire a $4,000 Sonia Rykiel dress (size 3Y) or a half-million dollar Chagall portraits to begin with.
You brave enough to wear the same dress 100 days straight, including family photos and a trip to L.A.? It’s the 100 Day Dress Challenge! See What happens when I wear the same wool dress every single day for 100 days in a row.
Still killing it in the children’s apparel game after 150 years. Ever wonder why is Carter’s everywhere? We’ve got the answer for you on the Rise and Dominance of Carter’s.