The RealReal Review.

The RealReal Review

If you have followed me a while, you already know how much I love The RealReal. I sell a lot of my clothes on The RealReal and buy a lot from them too. I feel like at this point, most of my fancy things come from The RealReal. Both the yellow Chanel bag and rainbow Silvia Tcherassi dress I’m wearing above came from The RealReal. Luxury goods of course come with a hefty price tag; and for me, The RealReal is the best way to get my hands on designer pieces I’m coveting without spending as much money. It’s also a great way to sell designer pieces I’m no longer wearing or feel bored with.

Besides saving money (and being more sustainable), buying and selling on The RealReal is fun. It’s a little bit of a sport in a way. I check back constantly. There is nothing more exciting and gratifying than the feeling of something you’ve been waiting for popping up in your saved searches. Today I thought I’d dedicate a post to talking about how I use The RealReal… both from the perspective of buying and selling!

PS – you might also enjoy this post I wrote about buying your first Chanel Bag!

The realreal review

I absolutely love buying and selling on The RealReal. It’s very convenient, it’s very fun, and they (in my opinion) tend to stock the most designer inventory vs. other resale sites like Vestiare Collective and others. I have bought most of my Chanel bags via The RealReal, same goes with a lot of other more high end pieces (my rainbow Gucci cardigan, my gold Chanel dad sandals (last year’s big score!), so many favorite dresses from brands like Borgo de Nor, Johanna Ortiz, and Silvia Tcherassi… I could go on. It goes without saying, I am a BIG fan of both their site and their app. Their customer service is great too. There was one time a package just never showed up and they refunded me, no questions asked.

what is the realreal?

The RealReal is an online resale luxury consignment site, headquartered in San Francisco. You can use it to sell your things (and get either cash or a merchandise credit), or to shop. I love that they have an app which makes things super convenient. They carry all of my favorite brands, from a more contemporary pricepoint like Saloni and Mille to a true luxury goods/designer pricepoint (Gucci, Hermes, etc.)

how does the realreal work?

From a buyer’s POV, The RealReal operates just like any other retailer; except it is all resale goods. There are membership levels, which I’ll get into below. They also have 14 retail locations, everywhere from Brooklyn to Brentwood. I have only been to the stores in Manhattan; they are completely worth a visit, it’s so much fun perusing their inventory in person.

General Membership

This is what I have. Honestly, I don’t think that the paid options are really necessary/worth the money? I have been really happy just being a general member and can’t imagine spending the money to be a paid member. It seems a little bit silly.

First Look Membership

First Look costs $12 per month. What you get is the availability to shop daily new arrivals (there are usually 10,000 new items added per day!) 24 hours before everyone else. You also get secret sales and extra time to earn $500 on Shop More Earn More every month.

First Look Platinum

First Look Platinum costs $49.95 per month. Honestly, this feels crazy to me. It has the same benefits as First Look but also included complimentary upgrades to two day shipping on every purchase. You’d have to be shopping at least 5 times a month for it to be remotely worth it.

Selling on The RealReal

If you have enough items to sell on The RealReal, they will send someone to your house to pick it up for you. This is a game changer for me as honestly, I am a little lazy (plus don’t have a car) so I do not want to deal with sending my stuff out or dragging it to a consignment shop. When I lived in New York, I had someone come every month or two (it was so convenient!) and it was the best. I didn’t think I’d have this perk in Charleston but they do. My rep is so lovely and knowledgable. So, I think it is available in most cities.

My experience with selling has been mixed. I love that they make it so easy (picking it up at my home but also photographing it and handling shipping, returns, etc.) but their pricing can be all over the place. When you sell with The RealReal, you have no control over the price they will choose. And sometimes I wonder if they are going so fast pricing new items that they get a little bit careless.

Even as a shopper, I will notice that oftentimes the same item, in the same condition, will be listed at a different price. I have to imagine this is just a factor of having so much inventory. I mean, with that many new items being added daily, how do they stay consistent? But as a seller, there have been a few pieces I’ve sold on The RealReal that I felt were priced too low. Though I don’t always agree with the listed prices, it’s been an overall positive experience and I will continue to use it because it’s so convenient. That is probably my only real complaint and in the scheme of things it’s a small one.

Shopping on The RealReal

how to shop the realreal

Shopping is far and away my favorite part of The RealReal… it feels like a sport at times and they carry all of my favorite designers. I will tell you right off the bat, I spend a lot of time on this site. I probably check in on my saved searches close to every day? Saved searches and filters make it so that I don’t have to spend a ton of time, but I visit often. The app makes this helpful.

Step 1: Use the Filters!

I have certain filters I use. Whenever I am on the site, I will check out “Editors Picks,” and also filter down to “with tags,” just to see what’s come in. Same goes with the obsessions page.

Step 2: Set up Saved Searches.

The search bar + saved searches will be your best friend. Whenever I have something I am ogling, I set up a saved search, in my size if it is a sized product. So for example: “Gucci Rainbow Cardigan” or “Chanel Dad Sandals.” And then I will filter by my size(s). You can also add filters for condition and/or if you want the item to be new/with tags. From there, I just hit “save search.” (It’s underneath the title of the search.)

I am pretty rigorous with my saved searches, I regularly delete and update them. Right now I have searches going for Evie Grintela shirt dresses (love), Louis Vuitton Makeup Bag, Olympia Le-Tan (I collect her book clutches, this one is ongoing!), Brunello Cucinelli Faux Fur Coat, Loro Piana Cashmere (in my size, with tags) and a few more things. I check in on my saved searches regularly as new merchandise is added daily but things tend to go fast. I was just talking to a girlfriend last night (she does the same thing as me), remarking that I had snagged a Dracula Olympia Le-Tan clutch a few weeks ago. She was like, “Oh! That was you! I saw that one but I was too slow!”

Step 3: Use the app.

I also check in regularly on the app when I’m waiting in line or just killing time. Better than scrolling social media? (Worse for my wallet though?) It makes it easy to peek at my saved searches and if anything new is coming in, but also: peeking at what items I’ve sold that week. At any given time I have several items for sale and it’s fun to see what sold. I always get paid in site credit and use that to shop with.

Other Random Tips:

Handbags and accessories are often final sale, so watch out for that and be really diligent in reviewing the items. When shopping, I will often look for things when they won’t be in demand (for example, right now I am looking for a winter coat and cashmere scarves).

When selling, I try to sell within the current season (so I will do a big clean out of summer dresses during summer, not after; winter coats while it’s still cold, etc!). I also try to sell things before I think the trend will tire. An example (from a few years ago) is my old Gucci logo belt: I was starting to see it everywhere and felt like the big logo belt trend was getting tired. The second that happened, I sold mine and I got very close to what I paid for it.

The RealReal Shopping Review
The RealReal Shopping Tips

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

26 Comments

  1. R:

    Love this post! You inspired me to set a search for a chanel bag and Olympia Le Tan book clutch! Some questions – have you ever received an item in worse condition than you expected? How do you filter through and choose that the item is in good enough condition to purchase? I’m hesitate to take the leap on a big item like a Chanel bag because of that

    6.22.23 Reply
    • I haven’t, but I tend to only buy items that are in “excellent” or “pristine” collection. I’m hesitant to buy something that is even listed as “very good.” I do find that their inspections team is pretty diligent and have never been disappointed! (Over the years I’ve bought several Chanel bags from them — all in great condition).

      6.22.23 Reply
  2. Sarah:

    I love this. I feel the same way about The Real Real and think you hit the nail on the head. Sell your items in the right season (i.e. summer dresses during the summer!). I have a scarf sitting on there from March that I know won’t sell until the late fall.

    I need to start making saved searches

    6.22.23 Reply
  3. Jasmine:

    I want to love it but both experiences were not great. First bought a pair of Stuart Weisman over the knee boots, and they were so dirty, lint everywhere, folded over themselves, and the shoe box was broken. And then ordered three things including a Farm Rio I was v exited about and it got lost somewhere. I do still check from time to time and have hearted a bunch of stuff, but I don’t need anything, so it’s probably better for my wallet anyway!

    6.22.23 Reply
    • Oh no, that is horrible — I’m so sorry to hear that. My experience has been really positive but I haven’t bought shoes except the Chanel dad sandals which were brand new. 🙁

      6.22.23 Reply
  4. Samantha:

    I’ve had mixed experiences buying and selling. The items I receive are almost never as clean or well-pressed as I expect, and it can be difficult to get ahold of someone in customer service. It feels like it’s not a very well run company, that they don’t care about their customers. That being said, I love shopping second hand, and aim to do more of it! It’s the wave of the future, for sure. Also love TRR’s return policy (lame that they charge for shipping both ways and that the turnaround is so short, BUT great to be able to try stuff on). And, the in-store shopping experience is AWESOME. The San Francisco TRR store is one of the coolest retail experiences I’ve seen. The inventory is beautiful and the staff is charming and funny. Same with the Marin store. Palo Alto is so so, but it’s Palo Alto so, I mean. Grace, I would love to hear your experience with other second-hand sites. When I was looking for a Loewe puzzle bag, I went deep into ReBag, which seemed a bit better than TRR in terms of quality and photography. As always, I love this site and appreciate the information!

    6.22.23 Reply
    • Gah, that makes me want to get to SF!
      Truthfully, I’m so far deep with The RealReal (in selling and getting credits from that) that I haven’t really used other resale services. I have perused Rebag and Vestiare but haven’t ordered anything.

      6.22.23 Reply
  5. Laura:

    Are you psychic? Did you know Carrie and Charlotte would go to The RealReal in the new And Just Like That eps out today?!

    Thanks so much for this post, super helpful to know what has worked for successful shoppers.

    6.22.23 Reply
  6. Jessica:

    I will say that I have had not great experiences selling and really only do it when I feel too lazy to go to my in town consignment place; I think they price stuff really low sometimes, and they’ve refused items of mine that are in excellent condition. They’ve also accepted items then turn around and told me they aren’t selling that brand. So selling feels really hit or miss. I do agree that buying is a different story though – I love them as a buyer.

    6.22.23 Reply
    • I would agree with a lot of that! It’s so frustrating when they stop carrying a designer. I think for me, I love shopping so much that I stick it out because I love having a credit to shop with.

      6.23.23 Reply
  7. Fiona:

    I love shopping on therealreal for mid tier designer things, you can get really good prices. I’ve been looking to buy a second hand Chanel or Loewe bag but all bags are final sale. Was it always this way?! It makes me more nervous to buy them.

    I’ve had hit and miss with shoes – esp Ferragamo since they make a lot of A, AA, AAA narrow shoes but therealreal doesn’t usually put this info in the description so you have to zoom in on the pic to see what the size says on the shoe!

    6.22.23 Reply
  8. I adore the yellow Chanel. Such a stunning item!

    Danielle | thereluctantblogger.co.uk

    6.23.23 Reply
  9. Chelsea:

    Thank you for the post! I’ve been curious about The RealReal for some time. Do you know how well they screen for fakes? That has always been my hesitation with these high end resale sites…

    6.24.23 Reply
  10. I’ve bought and sold on TRR with mostly great success. In the case of the few items I’ve purchased from TRR that are final sale and didn’t work for me, I easily re-sold them through TRR for the same price, or almost the same price, I had paid. I’ve had the best buying luck with bags – even am LV that was only in “good” condition was much better than I expected for the price . Agree on the frustration with customer service but overall such a great selection. On the topic of authenticating, I think they are really good. I tried to sell what I thought was an LV wallet (it was a gift) and TRR found it to be a fake – I had no idea was completely mortified!

    6.26.23 Reply
  11. Chelsea:

    I’ve had really mixed experiences with The Real Real. As a seller, I had two items lost and it took seven months of calling and emailing every other week to get resolution. The resolution wasn’t even great. As a buyer, I have had mixed results too – for example, a pair of Loffler Randall sandals came completely unglued on first wear (and had no damage on the soles!). Also, I currently have a saved search for Guest in Residence – twice I have seen items priced higher than they are currently listed (full price) on the website. In my experience, TRR has gone downhill big time in the past few years.

    6.27.23 Reply
  12. Anne Kelley:

    The Real Real is sending someone to my house this week to authenticate some LV bags I have. Do they really do that?

    I am a bit concerned about having someone come to my house.

    8.4.23 Reply
    • I have never had an authenticator come (usually my rep sends the piece out and then it gets authenticated) but yes! I think it’s the best, having someone come. She goes through everything, packs it all up, sends it in, etc. So I don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting.

      8.5.23 Reply
  13. Cheryl:

    Hi, thanks for the information in your post. I want to ask how was the process when someone picks up the items at your house.
    Do they just pick up or sit with you and confirm in writing what they left with?

    I had real real pick up some items today but she didn’t log it or gave me a confirmation. She took the photos and said so she won’t forget then she said I would hear within 10-14 days. I have no tracking or any confirmation how many items is being consigned.
    Wasn’t sure if this is the process.

    9.8.23 Reply
  14. nhb:

    I sent 32 pieces for consignment. TRR was taking more than a month to evaluate my pieces so I contacted them about the status of the authentications, and turns out theymistakenly assigned 9 pieces to another consigner who received the money for my sold pieces, and “lost” 3 of my pieces. I had heard that consignment handlers stole pieces they liked and then TRR would reimburse you what they estimated the piece would have sold for, which in my case was peanuts (example: $18 for a cashmere scarf, $19 for a Patagonia puffer jacket) but wouldn’t believe it. Well, I believe that’s the case now because it happened. After many emails back and forth TRR reassigned the first 9 pieces to me, and couldn’t find the “lost” 3 pieces, so I was reimbursed a few dollars for pieces worth over $500. The level of incompetence of this company is inexcusable and I will never ever deal with them again.

    4.15.24 Reply