Knowing the Name of Clothing to Flip — The Why and How

Many retailers–especially women’s clothing retailers–give each style of garment a particular, descriptive name. It’s not just a blue dress from Lilly Pulitzer; it’s the Cathy Shift Dress in Skye Blue Blue Heaven. It’s not just a white shirt from Madewell; it’s the Arrowstitch Peasant Top.

Knowing the proper name of a garment you’ve thrifted and are hoping to flip on eBay is very valuable. While some buyers just browse a category of clothing or search for a general term (like “blue Lilly Pulitzer dress”), there are others who are looking for a specific item of clothing that they’re dying to have. Maybe it was her favorite dress that she took on vacation, but the airline lost it with the rest of her luggage, and now she’ll pay top dollar to get another one. (This is where you come in!)

Obviously, no one knows the name of every garment, from every retailer, from all seasons present and past. However, you can use the magic of the internet to discover this important information about a piece of clothing you’re trying to flip. Here’s how:

How to Find the Name of a Piece of

How to Find the Name of a Piece of Clothing You’re Selling on Ebay

Do a google image search (link here, if you need it) with the brand name of the clothing you’re working with (and its in-house label if it’s a brand like Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters that uses those) and any descriptive words that you can derive from it. (Leave out size here, as it won’t help.)

For example, for this shirt:

clothing name 1

I used the phrase “anthropologie meadow rue top purple wooden beads”. (Meadow Rue is the name of the in-house label name that was on the tag.)

Once I searched the phrase, I saw these results:

clothing name 3

You can see that the shirt came up in both the top and bottom rows.

Next, click on the picture that matches your item to see if it gives you more information. Clicking on the first result didn’t give me the information that I was looking for, but clicking on the one in the bottom row (third from left) did:

clothing name 5

(That’s super small, I know! You can click the picture to make it larger.)

Highlighted in the pink box is the name of this particular shirt that I thrifted: the Avellana Tank.

Once I’m pretty sure that I’ve found the name that I’m looking for, I’ll do a Google search (just a web search, not an image search) of the brand + the name that I found. If the name is correct, one of the top results will usually be the product page of the item on the store’s website. (If it’s from a past season, it’ll just say that it’s sold out, but the product page is still usually there.) Googling “Anthropologie Avellana Tank” confirmed that I found the right name:

clothing name 6

Equipped with this information, I can now write a stellar listing title and get it up on eBay. (Ironically, I didn’t know–and wasn’t able to find out–the name of the dress in the old post I just linked to. Can’t win ’em all!) If you know the name of the item you’re listing, make sure to include it in your title and in the description. If someone is looking for that particular item, you want to be the first result in their search!

And, a couple notes: not all retailers give their clothing names like this. From my experience, many mid- to high-end retailers do (think: Anthropologie, Kate Spade, Lilly Pulitzer, etc), but not all. (Eileen Fisher and Tory Burch don’t.) Also, as you can probably guess, it takes a few minutes to go through this whole process. If the item is lower value, like a very basic tank top that probably won’t fetch top dollar (even if it’s from a high-end retailer) the search might not be worth your time.

I hope this post was helpful! Let me know if you’d like for me to clarify anything above!


3 thoughts on “Knowing the Name of Clothing to Flip — The Why and How

  1. Wonderful post. I will have to try this more often. I wish all clothing items were labeled with their style name. They already have a tag, why not label it!?


  2. Pingback: Top 20 Thrifting Bloggers of 2015 – Garage Sale Blog

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