This article is for those of you who don’t have enough shoes, dresses, jewelry, wigs, makeup, or really anything tagged as feminine. In other words, all of us… (I realize that many here are far better at being out in public shopping but wanted to offer some help to those who are learning about themselves and who they might become. Many of the points presented will work in other areas as well.)
If you are an eBayer then some of these revelations won’t be new, but for those who have been wondering or scared away by the vastness of the site, I have some insights that can help you become a pro. I don’t want you to go through the learning curve (the bags of donations and wasted money) I endured. There are some tricks that you can implement to narrow down your search and potentially buy the dream dress, wig, or pair of earrings you simply must have 😉
Is eBay safe? Generally speaking, yes, but it also matters in what regard you are referencing it. You must give a shipping address, so the seller might be aware who you are… long-time sellers don’t care, most anyway. I’ve had a couple cancel an order without explanation. I note who they are and don’t buy from them again. It’s a widespread practice with some and being a crossdresser might or might not have been the reason. Discreet shipping is the norm, especially today as I believe crossdressers are a major player in purchasing items. The site has made it where others can’t investigate your profile as they once could, still… don’t use your name as the profile option (CD or male). Be aware that if you use the app on your phone and others can access it… you’ll get caught. If you are buried deep in the closet and need to avoid any chance of exposure, then head to the nearest Goodwill store with cash…
For those who have the means…
Let’s start with buying a dress. You need to know your size, not just in “I wear a large.” All larges are not made the same… buy it from China and it might be a size 2 labeled as a large. The two most important measurements are your bust and waist. Measure around your bust with your inserts in to get an idea of what is going to fit. Many dresses will give you an armpit-to-armpit measurement with the dress lying flat (Double that number to get bust size). Be cognizant of whether the dress has some stretching to it or not. Use it to save yourself trouble and money. If in doubt, go larger. I can wear a large or XL, size 14 or 16, and depending on the dress measurements it might need to be an 18. I don’t waste my time searching for any other sizes. I also refine my search parameters further by looking only in the US, setting my price limits, and mostly checking out the auctions first.
To do this you use the optional search choices available. I pull up (See all) and set my choices. Why? Type in “dress” and you get 3,500,000 +. I set parameters for Large, XL, 14, 16, US only, Auction, and price under $35. Now it’s 10,000 +. I can sort results by best match (which I mostly use), lowest price, newest listing, most bids, and others. This is still too many. So… I’ve started to search by my style want: Church dress, special occasion dress, evening dress, cocktail dress, office dress, prom dress, etc. You’d be surprised by what might pop up. If I use “special Occasion dress” with the rest of the settings being the same… 2,100 choices-much better. I will usually only scan the first 10 pages of results, adding those I like to my watch list (I will go back through all of them and only keep those that I have a true interest in.) If the number of selections is low, then changing to “Accepts Offers” will give more choices. Truthfully, the most I’ve ever spent for one dress before shipping is $21, and most of the time it’s between $8-$15. Set the price limit lower and you have less to look through. Yes, there might be a wonderful and spectacular dress for $80. In my mind, I could buy four others, and be just as happy if not more so.
If the dress is only represented by a store picture, pass by it. If you are uncertain if it will fit because there are no measurements… let it go. When in doubt buy larger if you must have it. 😉 I want to see the dress that I’m going to buy. You can also see where it comes from. (I try not to buy from anywhere close to me.) There are so many bargains out there. Once you have your list built… don’t buy for at least a day, especially if they are under “Accepts offers.” Most likely, they will shoot you a discounted price within a couple of days, some almost immediately. Don’t be afraid to make a counter offer a couple of dollars lower. I might start out with 25 possibilities, dwindle it down to 10-15 based on measurements and further studying. (I will google the brand and get an idea of “new” cost or other’s being sold second hand.) Sometimes, I have one I like but won’t bid on it. It has no bids, and they might relist it at a lower price. The best way to eBay is with patience and the understanding that something even better may get listed tomorrow or the next day. It’s no longer unusual for me to have 4-6 dresses in my watch list that I end up not buying at all. Sometimes, it really is all about the shopping… or the fact that I’ve run out of room.
To me, this is window shopping or going into a store to browse without buying unless that magic one pops out and slaps me upside the face. I have purchased both new (so they say) and used designer dresses for a fraction of the cost. I’ve also bought the wrong sizes in the past and wasted money. My problem now is where to put them all…
It doesn’t stop there with dresses… you can expand this into so many areas. You should always go back to “My eBay” before starting a new search as it can be a little wonky if you don’t… not sure why. The hardest thing to pin down are shoes. I’ve tried multiple ways to search and still end up wondering how eBay has them listed (so many wrong sizes). I usually just search for size 12 heels and go from there. Other variants might work, too. You can use the search parameters to look for brands, widths, styles, almost anything.
I’m going to address styles in another article but here is something to consider. Search for lots. This is the best way to get more for less and a chance to experiment. Search “Dress lots” and then put in the parameters you want. I have bought some great dresses; some are still my favorites by having done this. It also helped me to learn what looks good on me and what doesn’t. If I go to Goodwill, I can get a similar bargain, so I use that as a guide, trying to get the cost per dress with shipping to less than $7 each. Hint: if they don’t stretch and have a zipper, go larger. Stretchy and loose you can go smaller. Most lots won’t have individual measurements.
I absolutely love searching for lots. Not just in dresses but in makeup, clip-on earrings, skirts, tops, jewelry. Makeup and jewelry are priced at less than garage sale prices. Again, try to utilize the search parameters for what you are looking for and pricing. I search for “Large clip-on earrings,” “Bracelet lot” “Ring lot” “Jewelry lot” “Clip-on earring jewelry set” “Jewelry set” “press on nail lot” “Thigh high nylon lot” and so many other combinations. The more you use it, the more you’ll refine it to what you are truly looking for… and then again, you’ll be surprised at what you will buy and end up liking just by searching. Also be prepared to watch the hours go by while you search…
I do my due diligence as well before I buy. I use google to check out brands, Amazon to compare pricing, and then only (now) buy what is a deal or something that I just have to have… dang those shoes…
This is just an introduction. I could write a manual to go by. Instead, let me know what questions you might have, and I’ll try to give you an answer. I’ve not had many bad experiences, a few, and they were mostly my fault and something I now avoid. Sometimes, you can get what you pay for and so much more.
I do need to make a comment about bidding. If there are only a few bids or none, I mark the time before it ends and submit a bid within seconds of it ending. There is a good chance that I win it or the other person who does the same thing with a higher ceiling than me does. If I think it’s a steal, then I might bid with my highest level in place and then wait it out. I don’t raise it if someone outbids me. (Always another one to bid on…) You will get used to seeing an item be relisted several times. If they accept offers, I usually get it after it’s been relisted. Like I said… “Patience!”
Until next time… oh, and be sure you set a price limit on your spending, or you’ll be working another job to pay for everything you’ll buy…
More Articles by Sabrina MacTavishView all articles by Sabrina MacTavish
Latest posts by Sabrina MacTavish (see all)
- About that… - February 22, 2023
- What’s Next? - January 15, 2023
- Gift Exchange - December 17, 2022
I have been on Ebay since 2002. I have bought everything from anime DVDs to ladies panties. For such things panties, pants, leggings, dresses and other clothing items I suggest that you look at the seller’s rating. It will give you a good idea how the seller does his or her business. Once you find a seller that you like stick with them. I have 2 sellers that I get panties from. You can also by direct from Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, Jockey and others. Sometimes buying direct may also entitle you to discounts, free shipping, and special promotions… Read more »
Thanks for sharing additional insights! 🙂
Great article. I’ve been buying mostly at Fashion Nova, and I like their dresses. I very seldom get a bad buy now that I know what and how I look at.
In reading your article, I believe I’ll be able to do a lot better on E Bay so I thank you for taking the time you put into this.
In other words, it’s a great article.
Thank you, Veronica 🙂 When I’m searching eBay, I call it my “Deals & Steals” time. This is much different from those early years when it was “pay and pray…”
Goodwill was my gateway to the mysterious world of women’s sizing. I have been a faithful browser at my local store for many years, and I still get tripped up.
I can not agree more with the stretchy material comment. It can be very forgiving if your guess in the isle was wrong.
I also avoid dresses with zippers on the side. I have several gowns that were “must haves” but into which I simply do not fit. I have developed a system for leaving the zipper down and covering that tell with a shawl. I like the look.
Great comments! That’s the one thing I’ve appreciated at eBay over Goodwill (even if spending more) is the amount of measurements that sellers post. I rarely have a bad buy now, where many of those thrift items ended back up in the donation bag.
Thanks for sharing 🙂
What a great article Sabrina! I’ve never searched eBay Lots but think that sounds very promising. I do most of my purchases on Posh but I’ll have to try this. Thanks for sharing. Marg
It can become addicting… just a friendly warning… Thanks for the comment! 🙂