As shoppers, we’re so used to having everything brand-new and at our fingertips…but shopping slower and secondhand is one of the easiest and best things we can do when it comes to living a more sustainable lifestyle.
The production of new clothing (on an industrial scale) has a huge impact on our environment - with over 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere each year - whilst the British Fashion Council reckons we already have enough clothes on the planet to dress the next six generations…
So you can see why shopping preloved and using what is already made is so important.
But changing your habits and going secondhand isn’t always easy…so here are some easy tips to get you started.
Make it fun
Choose to shop second hand in the ways you like ‘regular’ shopping - do you prefer shopping online or in-store? Is it more fun for you to shop with friends or by yourself? Knowing how you like to shop will make secondhand shopping much more fun!
Have a wish list
Make a note of the pieces you wish you had in your wardrobe. Keeping a running list of the pieces you’re missing will make it easier when you're searching for secondhand pieces online or having a wander through your local charity shops.
Check the label
Your new wardrobe might feature more secondhand clothing but you still want to be buying good quality clothes. More and more preloved pieces are fast fashion so check the label and buy from good brands. Even though something is preloved, you still want to get wear and life out of it.
Unlike in the vast, fastest-fashion world where there are 100s of new options every day, it may take a while to find what you’re looking for. Expect to leave a shop empty handed or spend time browsing online before you’re ready to commit. Make sure to enjoy the experience as well as the end find.
Ignore size labels
Detach from the numbers and try things on or ask for measurements instead. Sizes can vary from brand to brand and also change from era to era so look past the size and try on what makes you happy.
Consider what you’ve already got
It can be easy to keep those over-ordering habits and buy more than you need. Even in the resale world, overconsumption isn’t good for anyone…before you check-out, consider your wardrobe and whether the piece in your hand (or basket) will go with plenty of pieces you’ve got at home.
Don’t be afraid of mending
If you’ve found a gem but it’s missing a button or has a small hole, don’t be put off. Embrace this new way of being and give repairing a go…or, if it’s something you’ll treasure, consider investing in a service like The Seam to repair the piece for you.
Have a search-engine mindset
When shopping on re-sale sites, use them like a search engine. There can be thousands of results on Vinted or eBay so be specific and creative with your search terms to help narrow down what you’re looking for.
Talk to sellers
Seen something you love on a re-sale app (like Vinted) but aren’t sure? Maybe there are only on-hanger images or they haven’t added a description…don’t be afraid to ask for more information and measurements from a seller before you say yes.
Embrace your uniqueness
Shopping secondhand is a great way to define your own style and discover what you like to wear so have some fun, break away from what’s trending and find what you love. Embrace the process of discovering what makes you, you.
Look beyond the hanger
Or a blurry image…instead picture this preloved item as part of your favourite outfit or under your best coat. Imagining the life you’ll have with a garment is a great way to know whether it’s for you or not.
Share the experience
Make a day of it. Share your finds with friends. Encourage your social circle to shop with you. Sharing your secondhand shopping experience can make it such a fun experience and you’ll get all the group chat hype for your new eBay find!
Go beyond clothes
Now you’ve got the hang of it - why not try shopping secondhand in other areas of your life? What about using your skills to find a piece of furniture or a print you love?
There are so many benefits to gain from being thrifty and not just for the planet! If you can stick to it - you’ll notice a shift in your mindset and become unhooked from the endless online shopping.
You’ll start to slow down and spend time curating a wardrobe that works with you. You’ll start to find yourself.
It might sound a bit woo-woo; but shopping secondhand can be life changing…whilst also helping you save the planet. What’s not to love?!
Want more tips like this, straight to your inbox? Get sustainable fashion advice and behind the brand updates by joining the Wild Times newsletter.