Broke my 7 month spending ban for a second hand dress and I’ll be living in it all summer.
Through circumstance (every penny is being poured into the house build right now), a desire to shop more sustainably and trying to fulfil my wish list, I have become slightly obsessed with preloved fashion. Rewind twenty years and I could not imagine anything worse than second hand clothes but now I think giving these babies a new home is something to be proud of and I love that.
With zillions of listings it can be a bit of a minefield but I have refined my method which saves time and energy in the quest to score the perfect bargain.
Scroll down to see my five tips for shopping preloved like a pro…
1. MAKE A LIST
A wish list is your best friend – making one helps identify the gaps in your wardrobe as well as narrowing down the search field. I invest in pieces that reflect my personal style and needs, fit in with what I currently own and I focus on the brands I covet or already love. I first discovered Australian brand Posse through Rose and it’s been on my list for a year now – see my investment wish list here (from high street to high end). This lil’ babe popped up for £40 in perfect condition (RRP $220) – and she is PERFECT for this heatwave.
2. BE PATIENT
This is not an exercise for the impatient. Shopping preloved properly is quite the opposite of fast fashion and you have to be prepared to play the long game for your gems to pop up. I waited three months for this dress and she was worth it but if you need something in a hurry I would suggest checking out the rental sites…
3. KNOW YOUR SIZING
Shop brands whose sizing you are already familiar – returns are not free (nor should they be) and often not offered at all. Otherwise I would suggest searching for looser silhouettes; whilst I did not own anything from this brand before, I felt quite comfortable with this trapeze shift shape.
4. USE FILTERS, SAVED SEARCHES AND ALERTS
Those filters are everything. Get to know what the different sites offer but at the very least I would filter by brand (even if you have already specified it in the search copy), by size, by seller location, by price, by colour… the more you can hone your search the better. Next step – SAVE THE SEARCH (next time you open the search bar, all your favourites are there waiting for you) – this is key on Vinted because they do not currently give the option for… alerts. Those ebay alerts are a lifesaver. You can set notifications on your phone or have them land in your inbox (my preference) – a quick email scroll and I never even need to open the app directly.
5. SHOP OFF SEASON
Whilst it feels counterintuitive to shop ski jackets in June, going off piste (see what I did there?) can also be the key to the best bargains. There are certainly a lot more seasonal listings if you search summer pieces in summer, for example, and as a seller I would always suggest selling in season BUT as a buyer, if you happen upon something from your wish list, you can expect to get it for a knockdown price if the demand is not there. Set an alarm on your phone and slip in a sneaky last minute bid on ebay just before the auction ends or, on Vinted, make an offer to the seller. My dress was listed early May at £50, I offered £40 and it was accepted.
I love that the stigma of second hand is a thing of the past and with the ease of listing on apps we literally have the world’s wardrobes at our finger tips. Sustainability feels like the perfect justification for fulfilling my wish list with preloved pieces and I hope some of my tips encourage you to do the same.
I’ll let you know when I list some of my wardrobe too because I feel the need for a big clear out…
This feature contains affiliate links and gifts
espadrilles – LK Bennett (on sale)
aviators – Ray ban
lana mini tote – Strathberry
cuff – Ottoman Hands