Buying Second Hand
This post has been in the making for a very long time and has been much requested from my friends. Vintage clothes are my thing, don’t get me wrong I like getting something from the high street but I love nothing more than discovering a vintage piece or a bargain in a charity shop. Yes it can take a lot of time to rifle through but there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of finding a rare gem or something in your size from a shop or designer you love and as someone who doesn’t really follow trends, this suits me down to the ground. Its also so much better for the planet. The high street churns out new collections sometimes as much as every two weeks, its just not sustainable and it is impossible to keep up with. People often ask me how I shop for second hand clothes and it has taken a while to hone the skill but here are some tips and flags for you to watch out for when shopping.
Designer garbs can be hard to get right when your buying second hand. However there are some simple things you can check in order to make sure they are genuine. Firstly If you are buying online, make sure you go to a reputable company. Vestaire collective are about as good as you can get. they vet every single item that comes through their doors but you can also make checks before you buy. Take my wedding shoes for example. I knew I wanted a pair of vintage designer shoes for the big day. I always make sure that they have original dust bags, boxes and certificates of authenticity if possible. The more proof the better. If they don’t have these things it is usually reflected in the price but if the price is too low. don’t buy them. Its simple really, you get what you pay for and if you wanted to sell on the item again you are in a much better position with the proof on your side. Always check reviews and ratings if you are buying from Ebay or Depop. If buying from a second hand shop or charity shop then check the inner labels. Here you will find most of the information you need, the material, where it was made etc. If any of this looks fishy then dont buy it (unless you dont mind that its a fake and that of course is fine too!)
After many years of trial and error I have come to understand the importance of the material of an item. something can often look cool in the changing room but how wearable is it? There have been a few occasions where I have bought items that are great in the shop and then I get them home and think why on earth did I get that, the material is gross, and then it goes right back in the charity shop pile and you have waisted money. The best finds are those that are super high quality but just weren’t somebody else’s taste. Now I look for leather, velvet, silk, cashmere and even if they are a little more than I would normally pay, I know they have been made really well, they will stand the test of time and nobody else will have it.
It can be easy to get carried away when you find something in your size but make sure you check for any damage. This could include stains, holes or loose buttons or fastening. A lot of these are fixable if you can be bothered, some are not. Take this jacket for example. I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to have it, an absolute steal at £30 from Traid in Camden. There was some staining on the suede on the inside and I decided that was fine as it was a leather jacket and they always look better worn. This wouldn’t work on a blouse as an example- all that would happen is you would choose not to wear it and instead wear the one without staines. Its not worth the purchase.
buying the right size can be really challenging. Dont be tempted to buy something in a size too small. We are all so used to being able to try things on at home with ASOS and having the options to take things back but second hand shopping has to be a considered purchase as you often cant return them. It only occurred to me recently that I could actually just measure myself and keep them on file for whenever I found something I couldn’t resist online. This has turned out to be so handy. I was on the hunt for a pair of white Levis for so long and they are often not in standardised sizing as they have often been reshaped. If the seller has a size on the description, ask for the measurements as this may not reflect a standard size ten as an example. I ordered mine from Depop and just asked the seller to measure the waist and length for me.
Buying second hand often means you will find something unexpected. I love experimenting with bold prints or new shapes to add to modern designs. I may have the brain of a magpie because my eye often goes straight to the most unusual print in the shop but this is the most exciting as vintage materials are often very rare prints and this means you wont look like everyone else, in contrast I have also found so many items that are second hand that reflect exactly what is currently on the high street from wedge sandals to handbags and coats. Fashions nearly always come back around so you may find yourself with a take on a trend that is all your own.
Happy Shopping! x