Why You Should Gift Secondhand Fashion Items This Holiday Season

It’s an easy choice.

Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
Hermès Birkin bag in a street style image.

The way you shop has irrevocably changed over the last few years. There’s been a push to support small-owned brands (particularly those in the Black community) and to embrace a more eco-friendly way of consumption, whether that means buying resale or buying less. Thus, when it comes to the holiday season this year, for those who are earth-conscious, you can approach shopping a tad differently. Instead of purchasing a brand new product for your loved ones, you can focus on how to gift secondhand items, which are often more meaningful and unique (even if re-gifting has previously earned a bad reputation).

“We saw last year, in 2020 [during the holiday period], a 60 percent increase in customers choosing our gift box option [at checkout] as compared to [the holiday period in] 2019,” Noelle Sciacca, The RealReal's women's editorial lead and merchandising manager, tells TZR. “People are gifting [pre-owned items] and it’s exciting.”

An easy way to kickstart your research is to browse digital platforms like The RealReal or Rebag (if you know you want to gift authenticated luxury goods). As you peruse, pay attention to the item’s value over time. Rebag’s Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Layne shares with TZR that products such as the Chanel Flap bag, Rolex watches, and both Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry will all retain value, if not become even more sought-after, over the years. (Your gift recipient can therefore wear the investment piece season after season or sell it again for roughly the same price in which you paid for it one day.)

If you’re open to any and all options from the pre-owned market, tap into Vestiaire Collective’s network of merchants. “[The online marketplace] curates a worldwide catalog of highly desirable luxury goods, with a growing catalog of 3 million items, 10,000 brands, and 20,000 pieces every day,” says Alice Hebrard-Lemaire, key account manager luxury brands at Vestiaire Collective. “There’s a perfect gift for everyone on your list.”

In addition to the aforementioned websites, you’ve likely heard of fashion-girl beloved style destinations such as Treasures of New York, Fashionphile, and What Goes Around Comes Around for scoring one-of-a-kind designer (and contemporary) pieces. Many of these retailers not only offer pre-owned items, but also products that are, sometimes, still brand new with tags — for half their original price. On The RealReal, for example, you can filter for these goods via the “items with tags” checkbox. If you’re looking for a bag or shirt in only excellent condition, that’s another filter you can apply. Should you feel overwhelmed in your search, these merchants often have their own curated gift guides you can tap into instead.

There’s no shortage of places to shop resale, once you’ve actually embraced the idea of giving a gift that’s lived a few lives. “I don't think there's any negativity around getting a gift that’s secondhand,” Layne tells TZR. “Resale items are gifts that no one else has and they come with unique stories. [The gift] might be vintage or it might be a limited-edition item you can’t find anywhere else because it’s sold out.” Layne further adds that the current global supply chain issues in fashion could drive more consumers to gift from resale sites this year.

“[Simply put], you might go into a Louis Vuitton store or on louisvuitton.com and find that the exact Neverfull bag [you want to give] is out of stock,” Layne says. “Your other option, then, is to find them on resale websites. So not only are [these places] giving you access to unique and vintage pieces, but they’re also giving you access to items [that are scarce in supply.]”

Once you’ve received the item you want to give, make it look extra pretty with some unique gifting wrapping techniques. Ready to start gifting? Ahead, shop 31 TZR-approved pre-owned items that everyone on your wish list would be stoked to receive this season.

We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Is her wallet always stuffed with receipts and expired transportation passes? Help her stay clutter free in 2022 by gifting her this brand new Chanel card holder. Its compact size will only hold the most necessary items. The product comes with a box, dust bag, and authenticity card so you know it’s the real deal.

Hermès scarves are like works of art (in fact, you could theoretically frame one as wall decor), so whoever’s lucky enough to get one will appreciate it forever. This particular silk scarf features a design by artist Annie Faivre and showcases a tree shadow motif. It would be perfect for your fashionable mom, aunt, or sister.

Pearl earrings are classic, but these feel a little more interesting thanks to the Christian Dior initials and star hanging from the ends. They’re minimal enough for everyday wear, though they can easily brighten up a going-out ensemble.

This Prada top is from the Spring/Summer 2017 runway collection and it still has a tag on it, which makes it optimal for gifting. The print coupled with the feather embellished sleeves feel almost theatrical, so it’d be suitable for any holiday party. Post-festivities, dress it down with jeans and boots.

Breaking in a pair of jeans can take weeks if not months of repeated wear. Skip the hassle of it all by giving your denim-loving friend this pair of R13 bottoms. It already has the lived-in feel and still looks amazing. Also, if you haven’t heard: flare jeans are in.

If that special someone in your life looks to Princess Diana for style inspiration, present them with one of the late royal’s favorite handbags, which just so happens to be named after her. This Gucci Diana Mini Tote from The RealReal still has tags on it and features those iconic bamboo handles.

Fashion girls can be tricky to shop for as you’ll have to know their aesthetic (and closet) inside out in order to make sure you purchase the right item. If you know they love to support contemporary designers with a powerful story, gift them this Stella Jean skirt. Jean is a self-taught Italian-Haitian designer and she is considered Giorgio Armani's protégé. Her designs often reference her dual cultural backgrounds.

According to Sciacca, one of the most special categories you can gift from on The RealReal is its selection of unbranded jewelry. “They are some of the best-sellers behind Chanel jewelry,” she says. “Jewelry is easy to authenticate because you can test the metal or examine the stone. [Our unbranded pieces are] something most people don’t know about until they’re searching the site.”

The Avalon Hermès blanket is a much-desired home goods item and it will increase in brand value over time (making it a gift that keeps on giving, should your receiver decide to sell it in the future). The luxe piece looks great draped over the arm of a chair or over one’s shoulders for a cozy hug.

Speaking of items that will retain value over time, any Chanel piece you own today will likely still be just as sought after years from now. If you have room in your budget, splurge on this tweed Flap bag for yourself or for that special someone in your life. The accessory can easily become an heirloom, too.

You might have heard the name Duro Olowu floating around in the fashion world. Olowu is a Nigerian-born British designer and he is best known for his innovative combinations of patterns and textiles. Exhibit A: this wool jacket featuring a whimsical ocean life motif. For the fashion-forward person in your life, gift this item as they will appreciate the unique outerwear.

The Cartier nail bracelet is just as famous as the jewelry house’s LOVE rings or Tank watch. Simply wearing it on your wrist, everyone will know where the bracelet is from. For those who thrive on owning classic, minimalist, and expensive jewelry, you best gift them this baby.

For the guy who loves colors and logomania, he’ll appreciate you gifting him this psychedelic-colored vest. It’s most definitely a look-at-me item in that anyone who wears it will display an air of confidence in themselves.

They love to shop vintage and constantly stalk places like eBay for unique designer goods. Present them with these pink and brown boots from Prada’s Fall/Winter 1999 collection. They will be thrilled in owning a style current customers can’t easily find anywhere else.

For the home decor fanatic, you must buy them this delightful curvy vase. According to the product description, it pays “homage to artist Helen Frankenthaler’s color field paintings, specifically her experimental technique of pouring, dripping and sponging paint heavily onto soaked canvases.” The vase is hand blown and each piece will have slight variations, which makes the one you gift a one-of-a-kind find.

One of the most timeless pieces you can gift secondhand is a Rolex watch. This one will keep them on schedule as they go about their day. Plus, the timepiece will look so classy and elegant on their wrist.

If your friend missed out on all the Telfar drops, not to worry. Surprise them with a brand new one from The RealReal as this baby blue option still has its original tags. The Small Shopper might look compact, but it can actually hold all your daily essentials such as your phone, wallet, and hand sanitizer.

One of the benefits of shopping secondhand luxury products is that you can often find limited-edition items that were originally difficult to obtain. So when you come across said item, like this limited-edition multicolor monogram Pochette Set from Louis Vuitton, you should immediately add it into your checkout cart. Gift the set to that lucky person in your life, or break up the set and gift the pouches individually.

Cutouts will be a mainstay in fashion even in 2022. Thus, if you want an on-trend top to give to someone, opt for this mustard-hue number from Victor Glemaud. It can be dressed down with jeans or dressed up with a pleated leather skirt in black or in the same hue for a matchy-matchy moment.

Your partner is always on the go and not the most organized person. Make sure they’ll always have everything they need by buying them this roomy briefcase. The all-over monogram is subtle, though you can still see it, while the strap makes it easy to sling across the body.

If they’re always wearing a hat, it makes sense to up their accessory game with a bucket style from Dior. The monogram adds that instant touch of luxe elevation to any outfit and this one has a vintage feel to it.

For the power woman in your life, gift her this Bvlgari Serpenti bracelet in a bold red color. When she’s giving a big presentation or going through something difficult in her life, she’ll look down at this piece and be reminded that someone (aka you) will always support her.

For a truly unique vintage find, scoop up this Roberto Cavalli floral corset top, which features a cutout in the back. You won’t be able to find anything else like it on the market.

Breaking in a pair of boots is a laborious task, so why not give a pair that’s already been lived in? These mermaid and floral doodle shoes from Brother Vellies have a vintage appearance and would look great paired with breezy maxi dresses or slouchy jeans.

If your gifting budget is modest this year, not to worry. You can find brand new items for under $60, like this Laquan Smith vegan leather bag, from Vestiaire Collective. It’s discreet in style and will match with virtually any outfit.

Are they going back into the office in 2022? If so, they’ll certainly need a standout blazer like this mustard-color one from Sézane. The brand oozes French-girl vibes, so if that’s their fashion aesthetic, they’ll be stoked to slip this on. Plus, the piece easily lends itself to be transitioned into weekend wear should they want to dress it down with a tee and leggings.

For the fashion gal who desires rare finds, present them with this Mona Lisa turtleneck from Jean Paul Gaultier. It’s in excellent vintage condition and would look great layered underneath a shacket, blazer, or even button-down shirt.

Don’t miss out on the home items from The RealReal. You can find real treasures like this pristine woven bowl for under $100. It’ll add color and texture to their dining room table (or wall, if they decide to hang it up).

Not only do Van Cleef & Arpels necklaces retain their value over the years, but this one also happens to be of the vintage variety. Gift this to the person in your life who has luxurious, classic taste in jewelry.

The crème de la crème of all designer handbag finds is an Hermès Birkin. This limited-edition style comes in Bambou green and Etoupe gray Clemence leather. According to the product description, this type of leather has “a medium textured grain known for resisting scratches, its ability to be refurbished, and a soft relaxed feel with use.”

Vintage fashion lovers will appreciate the details of this pre-owned 1990s gold brocade jacket from Vivienne Westwood. It’s surprisingly versatile — you can style it with anything from a plain tee to an LBD for the holidays.

A Chanel bag is an obvious gift to give, but why not take another route and select something else from the luxury fashion house? This Karl Lagerfeld-era trench coat feels just as timeless as a Flap bag and will become a seasonal staple they can wear year after year.