Thursday, 12 September 2019

Second Hand Shopping Tips

So, we are well into Second Hand September, a month that is being championed by the amazing charity Oxfam. In case you haven't heard about it, it is basically promoting second hand shopping as a sustainable, charitable, and great alternative to shopping brand new, and removing the stigma of shopping second hand.

Now, I love shopping second hand online when it is all curated and easily searchable. Shopping in store, now that is a different matter entirely. It can be so overwhelming walking into a charity shop seeing a million different things laid out in front of you with no real rhyme or reason. It is a daunting task to shop like this, especially when you aren't used to it, but I felt that I must brave it for Second Hand September in order to get the true experience! So here are my tips for mastering the charity shops like a pro!

Go in with an open mind.

Don't walk in there expecting to find the perfect leather jacket, in excellent condition which fits you like a dream. It is very unlikely to happen and you will end up being quite disappointed, and not open to any of the other amazing items that you may find! Be open to trying new styles, brands that you have never even heard of before, and basically anything and everything else. Some of the best things that I've found in the past have been completely unexpected, but nevertheless brilliant! I'm thinking mostly of my favourite denim jacket which is boxy, oversized, well worn, and simply amazing. I wasn't looking for it, but when I saw it, I knew it had to be mine! So what I am trying to say, is be open to anything, because you never quite know what you are going to find!

Check Materials

The charity shop is the place that you are most likely to find an unexpected gem such as a silk shirt, or cashmere jumper for an absolute steal. Now, this does take a lot of effort and work, checking labels on everything, but it could be worth it in the long run. And at the very least, by checking materials, you will be able to get a better idea of quality and longevity of the item. Because although you may love that dress, if it is made of 100% polyester then it probably isn't going to be the best buy you could make and will most likely leave you a hot sweaty mess (or at least from my own experience).

Don't Stress Over Sizes

Sizes have changed a lot over the last few decades to fit with the changing shapes of the general population. People were often a lot smaller in build so a size 14 of a vintage Laura Ashley blouse may fit a modern day size 10 or 12. It really is best to just try everything on if you can, and go off how big it looks more than anything else. This is especially true for vintage Levi jeans, because most of these are fashioned from mens 501's, so as we all know, mens jeans sit lower than womens typically, and most people shrunk their jeans to fit them, so you honestly have just got to pick up about ten pairs of Levi's and try them all on and hope for the best!

Don't Just Buy it Because It's Cheap

Now, I know that getting a bargain can be the most exciting thing, but just because it is cheap doesn't mean it is a bargain. Now, what I mean is that if you have absolutely no intention of ever actually wearing it, paying any money for it makes it expensive and ultimately a waste. You need to know when to walk away from things. I myself have bought things from charity shops before for only a few pounds because I have been so carried away with the fact it is a Topshop dress at bargain prices, but seven years later, that dress is still sitting in my cupboard with the charity shop labels still on it, which is just as ridiculous as it sitting in my wardrobe with the Topshop labels still on it. So think of second hand clothes the same way you would new clothes, in terms of whether you will actually wear them or if they go with your general size. 

So, I hope that this was helpful, and I would love to hear some of your tips for shopping second hand!

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