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Not wearing those leggings? Many retail stores are expanding into resale

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A pedestrian walks by a Lululemon retail store in 2014 in San Francisco.

Lululemon is getting into the clothing resale game, and it's not alone. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Sustainability is a growing piece of the fashion industry, but the jury’s out on whether it’s genuinely reducing carbon footprint or if it’s more of a marketing ploy.

In any case, major brands like Target and Lululemon are expanding their resale presence. Target is doing this through a partnership with ThredUp and Lululemon through its website.

But it begs the question: Is every brand the right fit for the used clothing craze?

Let’s do some inventory. How many items in your closet have tags on them? If you counted at least one, you’re not alone. There are some 9 billion pieces of hardly worn clothing sitting in Americans’ closets, according to ThredUp.

“We just buy too much,” said Sucharita Kodali, a retail analyst with Forrester. And we’re not always good at returns.

There’s also resale value in items that go viral. Take the Lululemon’s Define jacket, for example. The youths on TikTok call it the BBL jacket (which stands for Brazilian butt lift), and videos of women wearing it have more than 5.5 million views.

“The best-selling brands on Poshmark are not super high end, but they may have, like, a collectible kind of element to them,” Kodali said.

Forrester’s Kodali said covetability has value. It’s why luxury bags, watches and jewelry are a staple in this space. There’s also value at the opposite end of the spectrum. Garage sales and Goodwill have been around for a long time — that’s where Target resale fits in.

“You know, I imagine in an inflationary environment, it may be more cost-effective,” she said.

Cost-effective for people like Viviana Rivera, who’s 30 and lives in San Diego. Everything she’s currently wearing is secondhand, except her slippers.

“I do have a line. So I don’t shop [secondhand] for shoes; they have to be, like, brand new. Undergarments I don’t buy, exercise clothes.”

She added she probably wouldn’t buy a used Lululemon sports bra. Even at a good price.

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