Hey y’all! I’m in work-a-holic mode over here and have to admit that dressing with class this week has not been a priority. But, I’d like to share one of my favorite resources for finding cute, affordable, modest, quality clothes… from the comfort of my computer chair. 😀 
If you’ve been following me for any amount of time (like even the last 5 minutes) you know that I LOVE ThredUP, which basically an online consignment store. They have a really nice system going and I’ve been pleased with both buying and selling on the site. 
Name brand clothing at just-above-thrift-store prices? Yeah, it’s the best.
This is not a sponsored post, except that if you are a new customer and use my referral link (scattered throughout this post), I’ll get $10 to spend on the site. Really though, I just want to share this great resource because I know there are others out there like me who may not have time/inclination to go browse the mall once a week. 
Many of you have asked how I find such cute things on ThredUP when the sheer number of items to browse can be paralyzing, so here I am to show you how I go about browsing for dresses. 
(if you click on the screenshots they should get bigger)
We start at the ThredUP homepage.
They have curated “featured” items, but I usually skip those and just go straight to the “Womens” section and click on “Dresses”.
Which takes you here.
Next I go to the sidebar and select my most common sizes, which are 4 and 6. I also change the number of items to view from 24 to 96. This is not a process for slow internet.
Then I select “Sort By” > “Price Low to High”
Sometimes I’ve found dresses in weird categories, but selecting “casual dresses” for finding modest items is your best bet. Summer dresses usually means sundress, which tend to be more revealing. 
So I select “Casual Dresses” and then Subcategory “Casual Dress”. Unless of course your looking for one of those other types. 🙂
So, we are given thousands of dresses to look through, but I just start at the beginning and start scrolling pretty quickly, glancing at each dress as I do so. Let me explain my reasoning for each of these dresses so you can see how I determine if it’s an item to consider:
  • Top left: Cute, my size, but too short and that waistline makes an unflattering tunic
  • Top middle: Nice long-enough black dress in my favorite black dress brand, but I already have one similar
  • Top right: Too short as dress, funky as tunic
  • Bottom left: Love the color, but that neckline isn’t flattering on me
  • Bottom middle: Too short, too fitted, too strapless
  • Bottom right: Would make a cute tunic. Color’s not bad, and I would probably wear it in the fall.

Whenever I come across an item I want to examine more closely, I right click and open it in a new tab. I let the tabs pile up as I browse and just stay on task quickly evaluating as I scroll. 
More reasoning explanation:
  • Top left: Long enough, black is always classy. But unflattering the way it hangs off the shoulders.
  • Top middle: Cute shift dress, maybe long enough? Worth a look.
  • Top right: Too short.
  • Bottom left: Possibly long enough, but deep V looks awful on me.
  • Bottom middle: Probably long enough. Like the neckline and print and style… but don’t love it enough for a closer look. Move on. 
  • Bottom right: Kinda self-explanatory. 

  • Top left: Love the color and style. Would make a cute tunic, but it would cling to jeans. Neh.
  • Top middle: Haahaha
  • Top right: Cute, would consider if I wasn’t large-chested. Most of that style of shirt appears too tight.
  • Bottom left: Long, simple black dress. Longer than my others so give it a click.
  • Bottom middle: Too short as a dress, too ugly as a shirt.
  • Bottom right: Nice print and length, but unsure of the neckline. Not really my style. Mom’s maybe?

Once I fill up my browser with tabs, it’s time to go through and evaluate closer. Notice I only opened 14 dresses out of 7 pages of 96 items… or 14/672. This is a normal ratio and it’s okay! It took me maybe 15 minutes to scroll through looking at all those. 
First item evaluation: Notice the lower circled area– ThredUP recently added the length of the garment onto the description! It makes it so much easier to tell if the dress will be long enough. This dress is cute and would flatter my hourglass shape, but is 1″ too short for my dress standards, which is unfortunate because the price is right. That length is measured from the shoulder. I keep a tape measure by the computer to check lengths on me real quick. This is a no-go, close the tab.
A simple black dress that’s long enough! And the price is awesome, so I quickly put in my cart. If you’re thinking about something, stick it in your cart asap– you can always take it out later, but if it’s not in your cart then someone else could snatch it up. I’ve had that happen to me and it’s so disappointing! I also add it to the cart if I’m thinking seriously about it and close the tab just to keep things neat. I can go back and open them up from the shopping cart to examine closer later. 
Here’s that tunic top again. I look at the length and see that it’s the perfect tunic top length, but wonder what material it is… 
So I click “view larger photo” and a high-res image of the item pops up in a new tab and I can tell from that photo that it is corduroy fabric. I love the idea of it, but I just can’t see myself wearing cords that often because it’s usually so warm here. So I passed it up.
Cute Ann Taylor Loft dress that would make a great layering tunic… oh, wait, the length is only slightly above my knee… too long for a non-frumpy tunic + jeans look. Makes this a no. 
 In almost every ThredUP purchase I’ve made, I’ve bought one thing that is kind of… different. This was this item this time. It might be slightly too short as a dress, and possibly too long as a tunic, but I’m going to see what I can do with it because I LOVE the neckline and floral print. Yay experimenting. 🙂

Super adorable Anne Klein Dress that’s below the knee and only $12.49? Hard to say no, so I didn’t. I added it to the cart mostly thinking of my mom who likes this cut of dress, but I may try it on before I give it to her. 😉 

Like the style, but too short. 

 Love the color blocking on this dress! But, sadly, I don’t think my hourglass shape could pull it off very well. Plus, it’s about an inch too short to reach my knees. Pass. 

 This one is for my mom. 42″ is a great length and it looks like a flattering cut of drapey material. Notice that the care instructions are Dry Clean Only… we very rarely follow those. 😛

 This would make a cute tunic! It looks like my sister Willa’s style. I don’t usually go for styles that emphasis the bust, but she can pull them off. It’s also the perfect tunic length and the price is right for something I foresee her wearing often.

A MAXI DRESS! When I come across these, I usually snatch them up. It’s so hard to find a flattering one that doesn’t cling, and this doesn’t look like it would. My shoulder just happens to be 55″ from the floor, so this is juuuust short enough that I can wear it. 😉 Notice also that it has a racerback, which will call for either a Halftee or a jacket.
Sometimes things that look super cute in one picture turn out to be quite different from another angle. What I thought was a cute polkadot dress turned out to have a back that’s just not going to fit my modesty standards. 😉 

 Yet another maxi dress! This one is a little on the fancier side and will be saved for some special occasion I have yet to know about, but at $10.49, I couldn’t pass it up. I’ll probably pair it with a black cardigan and tall heels, since it’s on the longer side. 
Also notice that this one has an elastic back, which gives me the impression it will stay up better than other strapless dresses I’ve dealt with in the past. 🙂 Noticing now that it is definitely going to need a slip…

 Another maxi!! But this one doesn’t look like it will be very flattering and it’s 4″ too long for me. So, no go.

Once I’ve made it though my tabs, sometimes if I feel like I haven’t found the specific item I’m needing, I’ll go back and skim some more. But this time I felt like I had enough in my cart, so I reviewed it.

 Usually at this point I’ll go through and pair down majorly the items in the cart, choosing only my absolute favorites, but keeping the order above $50 because that gets you free shipping. 😉 

 This time, though, I only took out one item. Eleven Anne Klein and Dress Barn dresses for $77.43 isn’t a bad deal at all. 😀
 Finished up the purchase, and it was that simple!! 

 I love to see how much money I saved… $247.57! Let me know if you have any questions! 
Did y’all glean anything from this? I wouldn’t mind doing similar posts about the more exciting filters, shopping for shirts and skirts, etc. if this was helpful. 🙂 
In 8-10 days be looking for a follow-up post about how the items are working out! 😉 Y’all have an awesome day!

37 thoughts on “How To | Shop For Dresses On ThredUP”

  1. Loved this post, Olivia! Great job on explaining everything. It was so fun going through all the items with you and finding out what your perspective was through that.


  2. Wow Olivia, you're very talented when it comes to shopping at ThredUp! I hadn't noticed the new "length" part of the description box yet.. It's wonderful that you pointed it out to us, or I may have never seen it!
    I would love it if you did a post about shopping for shirts.. Being of a very small petite frame (Sometimes being as small as XXSP) its very difficult for me to find shirts that fit in general, let alone shirts that I can't try on before I buy!
    When you said that you had found dresses of a good price but that they were like an inch or two too short for your modesty standards, I was wondering if you had ever considered a slip/skirt extender? I know that they can be a lifesaver if a dress or skirt is just a litttlleee too short for my modesty standards (which are the same as yours). Since I know first hand that buying slips and extenders can be a bit pricey, I learned a little tip that many could use. You should go to Goodwill or some kind of consignment store, buy a plain slip one in the color and length you need for a couple bucks, and then go to a craft store like JoAnn Fabrics an buy some lace and sew a couple inches of it on to the end, and presto! You have an extender that not only was price-savvy but also modest and beautiful.
    I'd love to hear from you Olivia!

  3. This is interesting. I've never purchased clothing online except for bathing suits (back when I was swimming competitively and could only find modest enough suits online) and the two times I've purchased from your shop-my-closet extravaganzas. 😉 Maybe I'll try Thread Up in the future. It looks fun.

  4. This was so awesomely helpful, thank you! Not to mention fun to see how you shop and what you got at the end! I'd love to read some more posts like this 🙂 Can't wait for the follow-up post!

  5. Very informative post! Can't wait to see how they look on you later, love the maxi dresses. I would love it if you could do thred up skirt and shirt posts as well.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  6. This is awesome! I've seen you rave about thredup, but whenever I looked, I never really found anything… Now I guess I'll go back and try again! Very informative. 🙂

  7. Thank you for posting this! The very first time I went on thredUP I was a little overwhelmed and the first items I saw were the more high priced clothes. I applied your technique while searching for maternity clothes and I found some pieces that I am excited about trying out!!:) Thanks again!

  8. Wow Olivia! I ab-so-lute-ly LOVED this post! It was so fun to see your thought-process on all your items! I'd looked at ThredUp a couple times, but was like, eh, doesn't seem completely workable… but wow! I think I'll go try that again! Thanks for all the info!

  9. Love this! I haven't tried Thred Up yet but I think I've finally been convinced. I really like that blue tunic one you said would work for your sister. It's the style I love to wear. I can't believe someone would think it would be long enough to wear as a dress!

  10. Okay, the tab idea was VERY helpful, and I think I will use it when going through my cart. I usually click back and forth and that is quite time consuming and when going from the cart, problematic. I also look at material because I am a mostly natural fibers girl. I need to make note of the clothing lengths. This post was so helpful and fun. I LOVE ThredUp. Shopping in stores (Clothes Mentor is like the store version of Thred Up) is tiring and a bit depressing.

  11. Loved this post, it turns out you shop on thredup pretty much the same way I do! (Wearing a tunic I just got from them right now!)
    Also just as I suspected, you can wear more things because you are fairly short. I am approximately 41" from shoulder to knee, making it very difficult to buy dresses sometimes. 🙂
    Thanks again for this very helpful post, can wait for the follow-up and more posts on shopping on Thredup!

  12. Hey Olivia! Great post! Hehe, it's nice to see that I'm not the only multiple-tab-opener. I get teased about it. 😀

    I have a question about online shopping: what if something you buy doesn't fit right? Do you find you have to alter clothes often?

  13. This is so helpful! I got a ThredUp account and used it once, but my problem was spending hours and feeling like I was getting nowhere. I feel like the sheer quantity can be a huge time suck if you don't use some kind of system like you did. I am bookmarking this post and I'll be coming back to it 🙂

  14. Olivia, this post is SO helpful to me. THANK YOU. ThredUP just seemed overwhelming to me and your advice was reassuring 😉

    Note to others: I find that the "view all" on the dresses is nice because there seem to be more options available. However, it requires more scrolling and more bypassing.

    dance a real

  15. I would love to see an article written with tips on where to find tank tops for layering. It's so difficult to find ones with high enough necklines and the fuller your bust the more difficult it becomes!

  16. Thank you for posting this tutorial! I am having a hard time staying AWAY from ThredUP. Pretty soon, my husband is going to get mad at me for buying so many dresses. (Ahh, who am I kidding, if I look good in them, he'll thank me for it…) I ordered my first order Friday, and am awaiting their arrival. But I just filled my cart up AGAIN and I really want to order it….ALSO, I requested a Clean Out Bag so that I can clean out MY closet and receive money for my clothes! It's great! Thanks for the post! I also vote on you blogging about your clothing budget. 🙂

  17. Thank you so much for this post. I just spent about a half hour doing this process and as I got ready to narrow down the dresses I saw the dress length size. A google search for how thred up measures dress length brought me to this site. Unfortunately not one of the dresses met my standards. 🙁 Boo hoo. But you saved me a lot of money and disappointment from buying the dresses and not being able to wear them.

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