Scroll further for my top 10 tips to remember when buying secondhand clothing
Why Buy Pre-Loved Clothing?
The rise of fast fashion has meant that shoppers buy the latest trends as soon as possible, then ditch and donate these styles as soon as they’re no longer desirable – or out of fashion. According to Oxfam, donations to its stores increased by 2% in 2017 alone.
Masses of clothes were pilling up at the back of our closets, popping up at charity stores and ending up in landfills. Even more clothes were being imported to East African countries, such as Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan, Tanzania and Kenya – so much so, that they have banned the importing of second-hand clothes and shoes, in order to boost their local clothes manufacturing businesses and their economy.
By purchasing or acquiring clothes that have already been made, we keep clothing from ending up in landfills, extending the life of perfectly usable pieces and reducing the amount of new materials needed to make new clothing. Best of all, they are considerably cheaper!
Shopping second hand has been favourite method of shopping since I started purchasing my own clothes – when I turned 18, years ago.
Honestly, buying pre-loved or second-hand clothing started off because of the cheap price tag and my family were not pleased. There is some sort of stigma attached to buying second hand clothing, be it because some merely like the price tag of the piece of clothing themselves or do not like wearing someone’s old clothes.
It must be stressed, ask your friends and family first if they have some pieces that they are ‘getting rid of’ that you’d like, before buying!
Here are my top tips for buying pre-loved/second-hand clothing.
1. Check out your local charity shops, yard sales, vintage shops
There are some independent secondhand stores or the chains, like Oxfam.
Some appeal to specific audiences – some cater to those looking for secondhand luxury, some vintage and some to more edgier audiences. So figure out which ones fit your style most.
2. Go shopping with a list
Typically if you’re going shopping, it’s because you need something specific.
The wide range of pieces, one of a kind pieces and cheap prices is exciting but make sure not to buy things that will not be used.
3. Ask where they get their pieces from
Some charity shops prefer to have clothes donated from people.
Some get ‘defective pieces’ from clothing brands. I used to frequent one that would get the ‘defective’ ones from COS – in this case ‘defective’ meant that the tag had been slightly ripped or marked, so it was as if it was brand new. Albeit the majority of the clothing brands that donate the rest of their clothes are high street stores with unsustainable, unethical practices, surely it’s a lot better for our environment because who knows where they would end up otherwise?
4. Ask them if there is a specific day or time that they put out the new pieces
So then you know when is best to come back.
5. Go when the season changes
Typically people like doing clear outs of their closets when there’s a change in temperature or when it’s a new year. That’s when they’re sorting through all of their ‘winter’ clothes and getting rid of the ones they do not see themselves using again – the same goes for the ‘summer’ pieces that are being unpacked.
6. Do not limit yourself to —your size’s section or your size
Most charity shops divide their clothes by size or colour. Meaning that you automatically only look at the area that’s marked with your size only. However, we all know that some pieces size large, small or just right depending on the size, material or fit that you’d like, so browse around – you never know what you may find.
7. Check for holes, stains or any other defects
Sometimes you pick something up something beautiful and then realise that it is too good to be true – there’s a stain that cannot be removed and that is how it ended up there in the first place.
However, some of these can be fixed and the previous owner was simply not bothered or did not know how to fix this. If you can do it, all the power to you and go for it!
8. Try it on
So obvious that sometimes we forget!
9. Wash it as soon as you can
Some people do not even bother to wash it after they have worn it once and have stowed it away in their ‘donate’ pile. You do not know where it’s been so better safe than sorry!
10. Look online and learn the lingo
Online has a plethora of options, which is why a post dedicated to secondhand online shopping coming soon.