I’ve written a post in the past detailing how I’ve filled my wardrobe with quality clothes from well known labels for less over the years. It included tips such as browsing ex-high street clothing markets where labels are removed from garments but if you’re in the know with shops you can easily identify items or browsing eBay for stores which offer similar items. The post also touched upon buying second hand and that’s really the main focus of what I’m writing about now.
I recently discovered that the fashion industry is one of the worst offenders for waste being sent to landfill. A quick Google showed some scary statistics of £140 million of garments per year simply being dumped which I think is horrific. I discovered some people are turning their backs on the high street all together and vowing to only buy second hand in the future. I think this is admirable and after reading about this actually turned to second hand sources as my first port of call for a bit of a much needed shopping to replace holey and overworn items.
I’ve never been a big fan of having a huge quantity of cheap clothes and instead would rather have far less of better quality so have largely shunned Primark and other cheaper stores with their “fast fashion” attitude. I have absolutely no objection to shopping second hand and in fact over the years it’s saved me a lot of money and I’ve still ended up with the clothes I wanted as well as some lucky surprises and below details how it’s been done.
Using eBay to purchase second hand clothes has probably been my most successful way of adding to my wardrobe whilst saving a lot of money. It’s something that I’ve been doing for years, I took to eBay in my early teens when a Zara shirt I wanted was sold out in stores and found it for half the price worn once on eBay and never looked back. I’ve picked up items such as lightly worn dresses which RRP at £60+ for under £18 including postage. Earlier this evening I won myself a thoroughly photographed preloved cardigan of great quality which is currently selling for £49.95 in store and online for a total of £7.20 with delivery which inspired this post.
If you’re clever about your eBay shopping you can find exactly what you’re looking for and some great bargains by buying preloved. Here are some of my best tips:
- Be really specific with your searches
For example when replacing a pair of jeans I liked I searched for exactly the same brand, waist measurement, leg length and style name thus ensuring my new purchase would fit and I’d get exactly what I was looking for. I paid £20.98 for my “new without tags” River Island jeans to be delivered to me instead of £40 in store. The previously mentioned cardigan was again a really focused search as I wanted another colour of a item I already owned.
- Stick with brands you trust that fit you
If you know exactly what size dress you take from a certain shop and are seeking a new one this will clearly be a great place to start! This tip obviously makes your purchase less of a gamble of will it or won’t it fit if you already have 3 similar tops from a brand in your wardrobe you know you’re much guaranteed your new one will be fine.
- Ask sellers for further photos or measurements
In some cases you may want to ask for more detailed photos to show the condition a bit better or measurements for you to check against existing items in your wardrobe.
Charity shops are like the 2nd hand version of TK Maxx in that its a complete lottery of what you might find which isn’t for everyone but I really enjoy it. A couple of my favourite dresses are gems I found in charity shops, one a vintage Marks and Spencers shift dress for £9 and the other a Ted Baker little black dress for £16. The Ted dress was in fantastic condition and there’s no way I’d have had such a label in my wardrobe without second hand shopping.
In my opinion charity shops are always worth a rummage, some are better than others and you may find firm favourites to revisit. When in the mood I enjoy visiting the more expensive areas of London to browse their shops as a lot of the stock is designer which means that the price is higher than your average charity shop purchase but you’re still getting a great deal. There’s a triple bonus when buying from these shops that you’re reducing clothing waste, saving yourself money and raising money for charity all at the same time.
I often sell clothing, shoes and accessories I no longer wear on eBay, leave the money in my PayPal account and then use that to fund my new second hand clothing purchases. It keeps me on a budget and stops me spending the money I’ve earnt on normal purchases so I get a little treat for myself.
If you have any other tips on second hand shopping I’d love to hear them in the comments.