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How to Thrift Shop for Vintage Patagonia Fleece Jackets

by Lottar

Shopping at thrift stores, flea markets and estate sales can be overwhelming. With the sheer amount of stuff, how do you know where to start? How do you spot gems amidst all the… well, rubbish?

As a professional reseller who has been scouring thrift stores for the better part of 30 years, I can help. If you’re ready to cut your shopping time in half, score bigger bargains, or walk away with brag-worthy finds you can flip for cash, read on.

From hard-to-find household items to resale moneymakers, everything featured in my “Thrift Shop Like a Pro” series qualifies as a BOLO (Look Out For) item. When you find it, buy it!

Showcase find: Vintage fleece jackets by Patagonia

Fall is the perfect time to talk about fleece jackets, and Patagonia makes some of the best. The company’s growing popularity in the retail market has sparked a buying frenzy in the resale world.

Founded in 1965 by rock climbing enthusiast Yvon Chouinard, the company began forging metal climbing equipment. Gradually, focus shifted from climbing hardware to clothing.

Today, Patagonia is synonymous with high-quality outdoor clothing, accessories and equipment.

Since its inception, Patagonia has shown that purpose and profits can work hand in hand. A clear set of values ​​drives Patagonia’s culture. Social responsibility, environmental stewardship and a tireless support of aligned grassroots organizations set the company apart. The company even launched Worn Wear, a service that repairs and sells used Patagonia products.

But the biggest corporate news came in September 2022, when Chouinard transferred corporate control of Patagonia to a trust and an environmental nonprofit. This step ensures that Patagonia will forever remain a positive force for climate action.

Why buy it?

In my experience, Patagonia clothing is incredibly well made. The company has managed to embrace its growing popularity without taking shortcuts. New or used, Patagonia clothing lasts, and even “very vintage” pieces feel retro and hip rather than dated.

If you’re interested in reselling for profit, everything Patagonia should already be on your shopping list, but pay particular attention to the fleeces. For some pieces, resale values ​​can be astounding. While traveling in Vermont in 2021, I found two fleece sweaters for $8 each. I flipped one for $180 and the other for $110.

But lately, resale prices have skyrocketed. On eBay, this vintage zip fleece from Patagonia’s Rhythm line sold for $950, and this tribal-inspired sweater, part of the company’s Synchilla line, sold for $399. On Etsy, this Patagonia Glissade zip is listed for $600, and this heavily worn fleece is available for $798.

See also: “Make a Small Fortune Selling Old Clothes from These 10 Brands”

What to look for

You will find the Patagonia label inside the garment or on the outside of the left chest. The most common logo has a lowercase “patagonia” against a mountain range silhouette. Some early versions of the logo included “Ventura, California” below the wordmark.

When buying vintage fleece to resell, pay particular attention to:

  • State: While condition is always important when it comes to clothing, a little wear and tear doesn’t seem to faze Patagonia fans. However, make sure that clips and zippers work and that there is no damage to the fabric.
  • Popular lines: Identifying used Patagonia clothing by line can be challenging. Specific line names are usually only printed on the original retail labels. After a little research and with a few sales under your belt, it becomes easier to spot different styles. Top-selling lines in the second-hand market include Synchilla (both a fabric and a product line), MARS, Glissade, Rhythm and Minnehaha.
  • Pattern and Color: Don’t be afraid to buy the hardest fleece on the shelf. Compared to solid neutrals, bold patterns and bright colors sell at a premium.

See also: “11 Secrets to Finding Quality Clothes at Thrift Stores”

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