If you’re looking to ditch fast fashion but don’t know how or where to start, choosing to shop second hand can be a huge help, as it still allows you to shop if you like to switch up your wardrobe, but it will save the planet and usually save you money too.
Here are some of my tips and tricks for shopping second hand.
This is a great option if you’re looking for good quality pieces. Most of the time, if a piece has lasted until now, it’s probably likely to last another 20+ years, and with a little care and maybe an odd repair, even longer. Vintage is also a great option when sourcing more trend led items such as 70’s flares, 60’s shift dresses and 90’s mini dresses. Chances are if there’s a trend inspired by a time gone by, you’ll find it in a vintage shop. You may end up paying a higher price in vintage stores, but like I said, they do tend to be much higher quality, although you can find some vintage gems in charity shops too, so keep an eye out.
This is my favourite way to shop 2nd hand because I’m also giving back to charity, albeit in a slightly selfish way of getting new pretty things for my wardrobe. I also donate a lot of my unwanted clothes to charity shops so that I can give back even more. However, charity shops are filling up with plenty of people donating but not enough people buying from them, and surplus clothing is getting sent overseas where they are sold for an incredibly low price, thus effecting the local businesses over there by undercutting prices. If we are going to donate our unwanted items to charity shops we must also support them by buying from them too. I have found SO MANY amazing gems in the last few years of charity shopping (I think I’ve been doing it since 2012 – 8 years!) such as a 100% silk dress for £1, a 100% silk shirt for £7, a 100% cashmere jumper (two actually, but I gifted the 2nd one to my boyfriend) for £2!! I have also paid more for items that weren’t on sale, the max being £30 for a red real leather biker jacket for my graduation, that I intended to sell on buy fell in love with.
Second hand online
Ebay, depop: this is a really great way to shop for something specific as you can apply so many filters to your search. Filter by size, category, price, shipping price, etc. Surprisingly (maybe) I’ve never shopped for anything second hand on Ebay, and went straight in with Depop. I love that I can save items if I need to have a think about them (see more about creating an intentional shopping wishlist here) and you can ask as many questions about an item as you need with the messages tool. Think Instagram, but for selling clothes. Although I’ve also heard that a lot of sellers are popping up on Instagram now too and sell through Paypal so it’s safe and secure. Depop also sell through Paypal and until a seller has sold their first few items and received good reviews, they don’t receive the money until the buyer has received their item.
There can sometimes be a bit of a weird smell from second hand and vintage items, but leaving the item outside in the fresh air can help. Otherwise a spritz of vodka or Wool and Cashmere Spray (I have this and I love it) or Scented Vinegar from The Laundress can help deodorize the item and get rid of any lingering scent. This is especially ideal when dealing with natural fabrics like wools and silks as these are very delicate fabrics and need to be looked after with care. I like to use the hand-wash setting on my washing machine for most of the pieces in my wardrobe, when they are in need of a proper wash.
I hope these little tips helped you think about turning away from fast fashion a bit and choosing to shop second hand more often. Some of us are more privileged than others when it comes to the availability of vintage and second hand stores in our area, but that is why I love the online options too. If you have any more questions about Second hand shopping feel free to leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you. xx