Second-hand shopping is a fashionable choice for everybody, not just for the cash-strapped. Ask any trendy fashionista where she bought that cool patchwork leather bag and she’ll probably tell you about a thrift shop she frequents that ‘has so many gems’. Second-hand shopping has become all the rage, and for good reason.
Pre-loved clothing is a brilliant way to start being a conscious consumer. The zero-waste aspect is appealing, plus it’s easy to do and will take your personal style to new heights.
Most of us would like to do more for the environment, and second-hand shopping is a great starting point for that journey. But it can be a daunting task to undertake, especially if you’re used to fast fashion. So we’ve put together a few easy tips to help even the most novice second-hand shopper get the hang of it.
Do your research
Doing some research on great second-hand stores is always a great idea. It’s important to have an idea of which areas to go to find exactly what you are looking for. Get advice from friends who have done it, google a few places, you can even ask your favourite fashion bloggers for their secret locations.
Identify gaps in your wardrobe
To make your your first purchase outside of retail shopping a little easier, try planning ahead what you are hoping to find. This will also help guide you in terms of which thrift stores you go to. Some specialize in specific pieces like hats, bags or shoes, while others will have a wide range of items. Planning ahead will save you time and money because you’ll only buy what you need.
Read more: Top tips on how to buy vintage clothing
Establish a budget
It is very easy to get carried away at a thrift store. The prices are so enticing that anyone would be tempted to overspend, so establishing a solid budget is important. This will also help you to make better decisions. When you know you only want to spend a certain amount of money, deciding on what you really love and what you can live without becomes much easier.
Be prepared for the experience
Seond-hand shopping is nothing like going to a retail store. The shops are often cramped and filled to capacity with everything from clothing, shoes, accessories and sometimes even homeware. There are even thrift shops that have random cats roaming around, so yes, you might have a few cat hairs on the clothing. Come prepared with a few of these items for your healthy and safety:
- Bring a bottle of water to quench your thirst inside the often hot and stuffy store
- Bring along hand sanitizer, just in case you start to feel a little icky after handling all the clothing
- Bring a friend, not only for support, but as an extra pair of eyes to stop gems that you may have missed
Size doesn’t (really) matter
Depending on your size, the chances of finding the perfect fitting jeans, blouse or jacket are very slim. So go in with the mentality that you will probably have to tailor whatever you buy. But don’t let that be an issue for you. Alterations is a great way to not only get the perfect fit, but to also modernise things and personalise your purchase. Most good seamstresses offer alterations at a very reasonable price, so this won’t add too much of a cost to your budget.
Versatility is key
During a second-hand shop, try to find pieces that could be worn with multiple items in your current wardrobe. Things like a classic straight cut pair of jeans, an over-sized blazer or a funky bag that will jazz up any outfit can be worn over and over again.
Keep it clean
Second-hand shopping is super fun, and of course, easy on the pocket. However, please do wash every item of clothing you buy. Some items have been previously worn and some have been sitting in storage for extended periods of time. So it’s important to throw it into the washing machine before you wear anything you have purchased.