5 Insider Tricks for Finding a Sold-Out Item

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As a self-proclaimed expert shopper (hey, it’s literally my job!), I’m willing to go to great lengths when it comes to finding an item I simply need. Whether it’s an amazing pair of jeans, the perfect summer sandals, or an Instagram-famous dress, if an item is sold out, I look at it as an obstacle rather than the end of a journey. With that in mind, today I’ll be sharing five of my best tricks for finding these seemingly out-of-reach pieces since, more often than not, they have worked for me. Plus, as they say, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!

Scroll through for my top tips and to shop some of my favorite summer-ready finds (that I’m betting will sell out soon) along the way. 

Oftentimes, your best bet is to go straight to the source. One way to do so is by simply emailing customer service. They may have intel as to if and when an item is coming back or at the very least tell you what days restocks happen on the site. If you’re not shy, you can ask the brand directly on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You’d be surprised how responsive brands can be—even large corporate conglomerates are all about customer engagement these days.

While there are many associate resale sites with “old” or “used” clothes, when a relatively new item is in demand, buyers oftentimes catch on and are willing to part with an unworn or slightly used piece for even a small profit. Be sure to check resale sites such as Vestiaire Collective, What Goes Around Comes Around, and The RealReal for such pieces.

If you’re lucky, the sold-out item you’re coveting will have a waiting list either in-store or online, in which case you can enter your email address or provide your phone number and get notified when it’s back in stock. If that’s the case, definitely sign up but also sign up for the site’s newsletter regardless. If the item is highly in demand, the general newsletter might notify you of the restock well before the store gets in touch with you personally.

This is one of my FAVORITE tricks. Whether an item is completely sold-out or just sold-out in your size, bookmark the direct link to the piece on all your devices (cell phone, work computer, laptop) and check it once a day—at least. If someone returns the piece, you’ll likely be one of the first to notice when the site processes it and be able to snatch it up once it’s back in stock. This has worked for me countless times.

If your own attempts to find a piece are unsuccessful, enlist a third party to help you out—they’re effective and allow you to be more effective with your time. Threads is a personal shopping service that specializes in this for new luxury items. Other options include PS Dept. and The Bettina Looney Edit.

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has been recently updated.

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