I’ve never really been a big second-hand shopper, preferring the relative luxury of buying new. Even when I was at uni I always chose to buy new on the high street over second-hand. I remember some of my friends would find amazing bargains in charity shops. However, I just couldn’t get past the messy layout and dare I say it the stuffy smell.
As I’ve learnt more about where our clothes come from and the social and environmental damage the fashion industry is doing I’ve come to realise that the best option for adding to your wardrobe is second-hand clothes. I’m not saying I’ll ever be one of those super confident dressers wearing head to toe charity shop bargains but I’d like to start exploring second-hand fashion. I want my wardrobe to be a mix of ethical fashion, second-hand and quality clothes from the high street.
With this in mind I’ve been reading In The Jumble: The joys of finding, buying and wearing second-hand clothes by Victoria Lochhead. This book is perfect for anyone like me who is a little wary of buying second-hand. Victoria takes you by the hand and guides you step by step through the world of second-hand clothes. And yes she even tells you how to handle that charity shop smell. From why you should shop second-hand, to creating a game plan, to where to shop and how to care for your clothes Victoria answers all your questions on charity shopping. This was such an easy book to read (I managed it in one sitting) it feels like your having a cuppa and a chat. Victoria is so relatable and her story is so familiar, I highly recommend giving this a read.
After reading this book I’m feeling really inspired to get out there and check out my local charity shops. Over the next month or two, I will be starting to plan for my spring wardrobe so expect a few charity shop purchases in my next capsule wardrobe. But in the meantime, I wanted to share 10 of my favourite tips from In The Jumble which I will be using when I hit the second-hand shops for the first time.
- Know your lifestyle and the clothes which suit it before you shop. I’ve spoken about the importance of dressing for your real life a few times so was glad to see Victoria recommended it too. This basically means making sure the clothes you buy will work for your lifestyle. No point in buying a ball gown if you never attend any balls.
- Know your personal style. As well as your lifestyle your clothes should fit your own personal style. If you don’t already know your personal style, I recommend reading this post on how to find your personal style.
- Find inspiration before you shop. Check out fashion magazines, style blogs and Pinterest for inspiration and ideas before you start shopping. This will help focus your shopping.
- Have a game plan and don’t go overboard. Charity shops can be overwhelming especially as everything is so cheap. Work out what you want before you go and focus on finding that.
- Know your clothes. Victoria recommends that you visit a personal stylist to have your colours done as this makes shopping so much easier. You can then create your own colour palette and head straight to those colours in the charity shops.
- If you prefer the well-presented layouts of the high street try looking in dress agencies or shopping online (eBay or Oxfam)
- Choose charity shops with big windows. These will have more natural light enabling you to see clothes true colours.
- Stick to high-quality pieces. Don’t buy ‘cheap’ clothes from charity shops. By cheap I mean supermarket brands, Primark, H&M etc. If they were cheap, to begin with then they won’t last and you shouldn’t be taking them home.
- Don’t fall for the low prices. Just because something is 20p doesn’t mean you need to buy it. Remember a bargain isn’t a bargain if you don’t use it.
- Ignore fashion trends and buy what you love. The great thing about charity shops is they don’t focus on what’s on trend so you can focus on buying what you love.
Disclaimer: The book was sent to me for the purposes of review. As usual, all thoughts and opinions are my own