The First-Ever Place For Plus-Size Shoppers To Buy Consignment

The scenario is always the same: I wander into a consignment boutique with my size-16 body, see that I'm the only one of my size shopping, and flip through all the racks before leaving empty-handed (or, on a rare occasion, with a handbag or accessory). Even though thrifting is one of the biggest outlets for women who want to save money and buy clothes that no one else already owns, there's a downside that no one really talks about: You can only thrift if you're thin. When it comes to the world of used clothing, the options for plus-size are dismal.

So, when I stumbled upon ReSell XL (a new plus-only online consignment shop), I was both excited and skeptical. The site's only been live for a little over a month now, and it's certainly still in its beginning phases. So far, there are just over 200 items for sale (it's focusing strictly on clothing sizes 14 or XL and up, and footwear sizes 10 and up), with designers ranging from Michael Kors to Prada. It's not the widest variety, of course, but it's better than what existed before, which was nothing. Founder Carolyn Thompson's main focus is working to fill an empty space, to serve a marginalized niche.

“We created ReSell XL to fill a void in the designer consignment space,” Thompson tells Refinery29. “There are plenty of stores — both online and physical — where non-plus-sized shoppers can consign their clothes and accessories. But, plus-sized consignors are often turned away from local shops because of in-store space constraints and don’t really have online options — despite making up over 65% of the buying public. We wanted to create a place for those looking to consign their plus-sized fashions — and those looking to buy plus-sized, gently-used designer goods — to be able to do so, easily.”

She’s also combining two rapidly growing markets: re-sale and plus. Second-hand selling makes up an impressive $16 billion and plus-size apparel (considered size 14 and up) has accounted for $20.4 billion in retail sales in 2016 so far. So inclusivity aside, it's a savvy business move. And although there are other resale websites that include plus sizes, ReSell XL is the first we’ve seen specializing in the oft-ignored size range. But Thompson sees profits beyond dollar signs: “There's a lot of benefit to having a national niche presence,” she says. “It's a natural central gathering place for people, and they are their own virtual marketplace.”

ReSell XL is working closely to ensure authenticity, one of the biggest challenges when it comes to convincing people to spend money on pre-loved goods (“In many cases [the items] arrive with tags attached or receipts in the box which helps us, but we collaborate with the designers to ensure authenticity,” Thomspon explains), and will accept pieces "that don't quite fit our niche — like size 9 shoes or a size 12 dress," she says, as long as they come "with shipments of other items that are the stated sizes we are looking for.”

With celebrities like Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy speaking out against size inequality in fashion, it seems that ReSell XL's launch is well-timed. And while it may take a few months to really get things going, we have a feeling its mission of inclusivity is one that will continue to push (and hopefully inspire) other companies in the right direction.

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