Selling women's clothes - writing decent descriptions

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Writing a decent description for clothing on eBay is rife with problems. For a start you're rarely selling just one item, so after you've written beautiful descriptions for the first 5 things, it gets very tedious. Also, it's hard to describe some items...just what is that detail at the side...a rouche? A flower? A crinkle? And as for the colour.....aqua? Pale blue? Or just....light turquoise?! It can be an absolute nightmare, but here is my guide to writing decent descriptions for items....I've sold many items of clothing, and always get a great price, even for the plainest beige T-shirt.


So....you've picked out your items you no longer need, and you've taken your photographs. Now comes how to describe them! I always use the same formula....here is an example for a size 8 plain white Topshop vest. The item title is: ICE-WHITE Topshop BASIC VEST TOP (8). The use of 'ice-white' stands out better than just 'white' and it will make the viewer subconsciously think 'wow, ice-white, that's REALLY white!'. Also, I always put everything except the brand name in capitals, to stand out in the listings. Using the word 'basic' will get people thinking 'yeah, I really ought to have one of those by now' and the bids will fly! So, for a denim Warehouse mini, the title will be: DENIM Warehouse MINI SKIRT (6). Useful?

The description itself of the ICE-WHITE Topshop BASIC VEST TOP (8) is as follows, and is the template for ALL my listings:

Simple ice-white size 8 vest from Topshop, 100% cotton. Excellent condition. A must have item this Spring and Summer with anything from boyfriend jeans to skinny jeans to denim minis and shorts. Dress it up or down. Cost £8 new, but white washes me out. Bargain!

It's short and to the point, and tells the viewer everything they need to know. I always start with a word that best describes the item....a white vest? Simple. A sequined ball-gown? Show-stopping. A short denim skirt? Sexy. Use your imagination and/or the Mircrosoft Word thesaurus function (highlight the word and press SHIFT + F7) to best get your opening word for your description...I find that gorgeous/fabulous/stunning/casual/unusual always work well.

Try and include ALL your vital information in your first line. This includes the size and brand and if necessary the fabric. If your item is polyester then don't bother putting in the fabric....instead include the word 'stretchy' or 'slinky' in the opening line. Likewise, if your item is just from a market stall, the brand-name (usually something like 'Paris Babe' or 'Sexy Chick') isn't necessary. The size however IS important. If an item is labelled S/M then say so in your listing, but also say what size it best fits. For example, '...blue strappy top, labelled M/L but I'm a 10 and it fits me perfectly...' or '....green halter-neck top, sized as a L but comes up very small, more like an 8 or 10...'. Don't just say 'size 8' if it's actually a very small size 12, because you'll end up with a buyer complaint. Buyers are petty that way!

After the opening line, it's time to whet the viewer's appetite. Thinking of the trends of the season, and the current weather (!), point out ways to wear what you're selling. Don't be too vague either...saying '...looks great with trousers or a skirt...' is a pretty wide spectrum. If you're selling a summer dress at this time of year (i.e the FREEZING time of year!) then point out why the viewer should buy now, like this:

Floaty floral FCUK summer dress in a size 6 (also fits an 8), chiffon overlayer with satin-type underlayer. Great for your upcoming summer holidays, and for teaming with leggings or skinny jeans and boots this Spring.

The viewer can imagine a versatile garment now, rather than something that will just sit in their wardrobe until the sun finally dares to show its face. It's worth noting that if you're selling something that is VERY trendy at the moment (such as skinny jeans or a smock top), mention this in the ad: '...floral smock top from New Look in an 8, very similar to Jane Norman tops available now...'.

Finally, if you're selling a top in great condition for a 99p starting bid, always put the original price in the listing. If viewers see an item currently at £1.20 and the description not only includes the words '...great condition...' but also '...cost over £35 new...', they cannot fail to bid!

Sometimes it's worth putting in just WHY you're selling an item you think is so fantastic! Hence the 'white washes me out' comment. It might be as simple as '...I've lost weight so am no longer a 12, my loss is your gain!...' but never put '...unwanted gift...' as it makes it sound like you don't like the item, so why should they? No-one needs to know you are getting rid of that pair of red hot-pants because they make your skin crawl and your heinous ex bought them for you, just say '...I'm not daring enough to wear these, are you?...'. It's an invitation to the 'daring' (i.e slappers haha) to bid.

Other touches you can include is putting '...looks great with the denim shorts I'm also selling...' to draw viewers to your other listings, as well as the tried and tested '...check my other items for DKNY - Topshop - Miss Selfridge - Jane Norman and many more!...'.

It sounds obvious, but always check your spelling and grammar and punctuation. A well presented and interesting-to-read listing will interest your viewers, whereas a listing that just reads badly will just make the viewer think you're an idiot:

nice vest form top shop 8

You'd have to have a damn good picture for me to want to bid on that!

So...that's my tips for you to make a fortune from your unwanted clothes! Happy selling, and I hope I haven't been too self-righteous and patronising :-D
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