• Belinda

Top Tips when Buying Second Hand and Vintage Clothes

Before this year I hadn't really bought many things vintage or second hand since I was a teenager. Apart from the occasional purchase from the Urban Renewal range at Urban Outfitters or the odd jumper from a vintage store when I was living in Edinburgh, almost everything in my wardrobe had been purchased new directly from the high street. It seems strange now to think I hadn't delved into the world of vintage and second hand clothes shopping sooner when so much of what I bought new was inspired by the fashions of previous eras.

One of the main reasons I hadn't shopped vintage in years was that I don't think a lot of vintage styles really suit me. Most vintage shops are full of 1950's dresses and oversized cardigans which aren't really my style. I got lucky once when I bought a vintage jumper in Edinburgh, but apart from that I've struggled to find vintage clothes I like. The prices of vintage clothing can also be fairly similar to the high street which is another reason I probably didn't go out of my way to find vintage clothes. But whilst this is true to an extent, there are definitely loads of vintage bargains to be found if you know where to look. It also depends on your style. 1950's dresses might not be my style but they look amazing on people who really suit them!

If vintage clothing is not your thing, there are loads of second hand bargains to be found online and it's now one of my favourite ways to shop. I have been surprised by the amount of second hand clothes available on ebay and apps such as Depop, Vinted and Vestiaire Collective in a variety of sizes. Second hand shopping can be a lot easier than vintage shopping because you don't have to worry about the sizes all being different in the different eras. It can be confusing when you're a size 10 in todays sizes but a size 16 when it comes to buying something from the 1950's. There are also some incredible bargains shopping second hand and some brands you would never dream of being able to afford, you can suddenly afford. At the beginning of this year I bought a dress on ebay that would have cost around £200 new for only £14 second hand. It's still in great condition with no damage or markings and is a really lovely dress.

These kinds of bargains are really not difficult to come by if you know where to look and what to search for. Below, I've written some of my top tips for buying clothing second hand.

Top Tips for buying clothing second hand

  • Know where to shop- Ebay and Oxfam Vintage are great online shops and you can find many more vintage stores online. You can also use second hand clothing apps such as Depop, Vinted and Vestiaire Collective. If you'd rather try before you buy, google vintage and charity shops in your local area and see what you find!

  • Know what you want to find — I always think it's easier if before you go shopping you have a general idea of what it is you want to buy. This is especially true for second hand and vintage clothes shopping online as your search terms will guide you to what it is you want to find.

  • Search for brands who are known for their high quality clothes — I think when buying second hand clothes it's better to search for brands who are known to use high quality materials because then you know that the item will last. Items from these companies are often cheaper second hand and you can find some incredible bargains online on platforms such as ebay.

  • Check the descriptions and photographs carefully— Checking the descriptions is important. You need to make sure that the seller is willing to post the item out to you or if they live nearby you are able to collect it directly from them. You also need to check the photographs to make sure the items look in good condition or as described. The last thing you want is to buy a dress with a hole in it because you didn't read the description carefully.

  • Check the measurements listed — If you are worried about the sizings, measure yourself and compare with the measurements listed by the seller. This is particularly helpful if you are buying from an unknown brand and you're not sure if the size on the label will be the same as other brands.

  • Buy from trusted sellers- most apps and online stores have ratings for their sellers. You can read reviews and check to make sure they are trustworthy.

  • Don't be afraid of the bid - Don't be afraid of bidding on platforms such as ebay. You can watch items you are interested in to check if there have been any other bids. Most people don't start to bid until a few hours or even minutes before bidding ends. Bidding late in the proceedings can mean that you're more likely to win the bid.

  • Ask Sellers to reduce the price- If you're interested in an item you can write to the seller and ask them to reduce the price or add in the price of postage. Most sellers want to sell their items and would rather have something for it than nothing.

It might seem like a lot of effort but second hand clothes shopping is really a lot of fun and so worth it! It's not only much better for the environment, but can be a much cheaper way to shop too!