As another spring wedding season draws to a close, you may be staring into a wardrobe full of worn-just-once dresses. Will you want to wear them again? 

To keep, or to sell? It’s a dilemma that feels particularly relevant with wedding guest outfits – you’ve worn the same style to a couple of ceremonies, but might buy something different for the next one.

So just how much might you get for your not-that-old dress, if you did choose to sell it? The reality may surprise you – and, ultimately, it depends on which brand you bought it from. 

The Telegraph exclusively charted the average retail price of a wedding guest dress when bought new from 24 of the most-loved shops on the high street. We compared those prices with the average resale prices that like-for-like items in ‘very good condition’ were sold for in the UK on Vinted, assessing thousands of items in total. 

Many “higher end” high street names, perhaps unsurprisingly, were found to hold their value best. Names such as Rixo, Ghost and Me + Em, could be resold for up to 35 per cent of their original prices, proving that these labels are coveted by customers even at resale.  

Me + Em floral midi dress

But while you might assume that something you paid more for originally should warrant a higher return rate, this is not always the case. Phase Eight, Coast and Karen Millen – brands that consumers may perceive as “higher end high street” and will typically pay between £120 and £210 for new – in fact resell for some of the lowest returns. 

Phase Eight ranked lowest in The Telegraph’s findings – a re-seller may expect a return of as little as 5 per cent on the price they paid for the dress. For a dress, a customer originally paid £158 for, the average resale price was found to be as little as £8. At Coast, similarly, you might typically pay £126 for a new dress, yet only resell it later for £7 – the percentage you’d get back is the same as if you had bought a dress for a lower price from Next or Marks & Spencer. 

Marks & Spencer lace dress

While few could be under the illusion that buying high street clothes is an investment, or that fast fashion clothes are an appreciating asset, the rate at which some brands depreciate may still offer a harsh reality check. 

Ginnie Chadwyck-Healey, retail expert and founder of VCH Style, advises that anyone looking to sell old clothes online should be prepared to make far less than what you personally may have deemed the items to be worth.

“From my experience, the reality is that when reselling on the likes of Vinted or eBay you have to expect a far far lower return on your original financial (and likely, emotional) investment,” she says. “You have to be happy to settle at a much lower price than you might have expected, even on a well-known brand. I would never say “‘buy the bigger, known brands to ensure you make your money back long term.’” It’s a false security.”  

& Other Stories and COS scored highly as brands that offer a better return on what was paid – while both are owned by the H&M Group, they are slightly less prolific names and sell more limited editions of their designs making them more covetable. Mango and Zara, too, performed well – certain dress styles from each have been known to go viral, meaning demand continues at re-sale from customers who missed out, especially if the item has only been worn a couple of times.

Exclusivity, supply and demand play a part in what price resale customers are willing to pay – the vast quantity of clothes available to browse from some brands on Vinted undoubtedly contributes to some of the lower selling prices seen. 

There are exceptions to the rule – outlier items that defy the general performance of a brand. Five years after Zara’s famous monochrome spotted dress first hit the shops, the £39.99 frock can still fetch between £10 and £28.50 on Vinted and eBay. 

Pieces from limited edition designer and celebrity collaborations are often sought after long after the original ‘drop’ has sold out. Pieces from JW Anderson’s Uniqlo collections – of which there have been many – often sell for prices that are almost as high as their original retail prices. Knits from the more limited Anya Hindmarch x Uniqlo collaboration this year are currently fetching almost double their £34.90 retail prices. 

Whistles animal print dress

Currently red hot are the ‘barrel jeans’ style from Sienna Miller’s recent collaboration with Marks & Spencer. The jeans were priced at £49.50 new, and have all but sold out on the retailer’s website yet pairs are currently selling for between £75 and £102 on Vinted and eBay respectively – some sellers appear to have made a genuine mistake and bought the wrong size, others seem more like “touts” snapping up several pieces from the range with the intention to resell. When demand is high, the resale prices will soar. However, investing with the intention of reselling is always a high-risk game – Marks & Spencer may inevitably re-stock the item on their own site soon.

What may sound disheartening to those looking who were hoping to make some money back by re-selling their wardrobe online this summer is, of course, good news for anyone who is willing to buy their next occasion look second-hand rather than brand new.

The average Whistles dress can be bought second-hand for £18. It’s £26 for a Mint Velvet-style. If you resold those after wearing them once or twice, your return on investment should be far higher, too.  

Three high street dresses from brands that hold their value 

One-shoulder dress, £295, Me + Em

Pleated dress, £115, COS

Camille lurex dress, £179, Ghost


'I've saved hundreds buying designer clothes on Vinted – and you can too'

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