Okay, we’ve established I love secondhand shopping and will rave about it all day long. So I’ll spare you the same old shit I’ve been pushing and I’m hoping this post is going to encourage you to have a look in a charity/vintage shop for some treasures, because there are some gems in these places that you just need to look for!
One – Have an item in mind
Before you even head out of the front door, jump in your car and step foot into a shop, have something in mind that you’re looking for. I like to have a certain item I’m looking for as it can get a bit overwhelming when you’re flipping through the clothes and can’t see the wood from the trees. By having an item in mind, it’ll allow you to focus on something to find – anything else you come across is just a bonus!
For example, I might be going out with the intention of finding a dress for work. I walk into the shop and see the explosion of stuff everywhere, but notice the dress rail and head on over there as a start. I then turn around and see a rail of jumpers and think I could do with a black one – so the cycle begins. Using this strategy when secondhand shopping makes it a lot less daunting.
Two – Inspect the labels
I’m a label whore. There we go I said it. I’m a sucker for names, names, names darling (Absolutely Fabulous fans will understand me there), as I know there’s quality (usually) behind that brand. You also get a giddy feeling when you grab a designer item for a bargain price.
However, make sure you keep an eye out for an fakes – it doesn’t happen too often in secondhand shops, but I have found it before. Check out the stitching, any hardware, patterns, hems – basically anything that indicates it’s a genuine item.
I’ve actually had quite a few good finds lately including a vintage Ralph Lauren skirt and a Ralph Lauren shirt from the Vintage Kilo Sale, a pair of Nike trainers for £3.50 (practically brand new), a Ted Baker blazer for £9.95 both from charity shops in Hertford and a Ralph Lauren wool blazer from a charity shop in Stevenage – not sure why I keep finding so much Ralph Lauren!
Three – Check out the menswear
I say this after a recent trip to the Vintage Kilo Sale at my old uni (they were back again and you can read more about it from my trip last year here) where I came across a beautifully made Lyle & Scott men’s shirt. I was also a bit more open to the idea after I saw Aaron’s sister wearing a tartan shirt and she told me it was from the men’s section – perfect for that oversized, boyfriend fit!
Tip Four – think about how you could style/alter/fix it
As a fashion graduate, I’m a dab hand with a sewing machine for any alterations and repairs needed. So when I come across an item that needs a bit of love but isn’t something I’d personally chuck out, then I normally take it home and look after it, much like a rescue pet.
The wool blazer pictured above is an example of a garment that needed some love as the lining had torn, but it’s such a simple thing to repair to make it gorgeous again.
The same with the black dungaree dress pictured in this post – I’m a short arse and it was a tad bit too long when I took it home and tried it on. As it wasn’t hemmed, an easy fix for me was to simply cut off the excess fabric and pull at the loose ends to give it a distressed look – voila!
Five – Shop around!
Yes shopping around isn’t just for your car insurance (which you should be shopping around for – just saying), but can apply to secondhand. I’ve heard so many people say that they never find anything in charity shops and I think their main issue is that they’re not looking in more than one store. Most of my gems have been purchased when I’ve gone out with the intention of hunting around loads of shops for items that are perfectly me!
As an example, I was in town today picking up some vape juice from the shop which is next to my favourite charity shop Willow in Letchworth- so I obviously had to head inside to have a mooch around whilst I was there. I didn’t have anything in particular in mind when I went in, but I didn’t find anything in that one shop and went home empty handed – case and point.
Secondhand shopping isn’t for everyone and I get that. I’m just here to educate and share my experiences with you all, but if I can save you a few quid then I’m happy.
charity shoppingcharity shopping tipsclothes shopping tipsfashionfashion blogfashion bloggerfashion inspirationfbloggersecond hand fashionsecondhand shopping tipstips for shopping secondhandvintage shoppingvintage shopping tips