Here are 5 Reasons to Buy Secondhand Clothing during second hand September, and every day.
Increasingly more professionals whom I speak with are not only open to the idea of buying secondhand, but they’re actually already shopping that way.
I think many people are now aware of the reasons that buying secondhand is better for people and planet. So what I’m going to talk about today makes for a less sexy title, but I would argue it’s more relevant:
Busting the myths around second hand clothing:
1. It’s gross
Secondhand clothing CAN be smelly and dirty, depending on where you shop. But these days vintage (a.k.a. secondhand) clothing is big business, and has thankfully had an image upgrade. The key is finding a local shop with high standards — clothing that’s clean and didn’t need to be fumigated with incense; garments with little to no wear and tear — AND/OR find a website with great filters. On most sites you can filter by condition, and there’s often a choice “never worn/tags still on”. For more tips on online shopping, click here.
In my experience, the more expensive the clothing (new, at retail prices), the better condition you’ll often find it in at resale. I really believe that many who buy designer duds at full price love to have the newest and shiniest possessions and don’t hesitate to trade in their clothing and accessories for the next best thing after just a few wears (if any). No judgement, because I like to profit from this phenomenon, personally and when I shop secondhand for clients!
2. There’s something wrong with it
Just because an item is for resale doesn’t mean it has a flaw. That said, it’s important to always check these features (add your own based on your personal experience):
- Does the fabric show wear at the hems? (check ALL of the bottom edges, based on the garment)
- Is the fabric discolored at the collar, underarms or crotch? (I know, I know, but it had to be said)
- Is the fabric damaged (e.g. pulled threads, pilling — fixable!)?
- Are there any spills or other stains in prominent places?
- Does the zipper work? (yes, zippers can be replaced, but this is an expensive alteration)
- Are there buttons missing, and how inexpensively can they be replaced?
3. I couldn’t afford nice clothes growing up
This is a tough one because it runs deep. How can you break the association between secondhand clothing and poverty? I think it’s more about breaking the association between prosperity and fast fashion. Ultimately it boils down to a moral imperative. Here’s an article that talks about consumers vs. citizens, and this Buyerarchy of Needs illustration by Sarah Lazarovic helps snap me back when I’m tempted to impulse buy new things.
4. It never fits.
As someone with short arms AND legs, I just accepted a long time ago that I’ll always need to have my clothes altered. Make friends with a tailor if you haven’t already. Especially with secondhand garments, that are often organized by color (since the sizing varies so wildly amongst hundreds of brands from different decades), you must try it on. If you’re shopping online, don’t hesitate to message with the seller and ask them for specific measurements of your “challenge areas”. Yes it takes time, but the extra effort is worth it to gain an item that you love and will keep for years.
5. It takes too much time
The older I get, the more I value my time. What’s the Return On Investment of a clothing item? It’s not just about how many clicks it took you to complete the purchase. How long will you keep it? How many times will you wear it? How will you feel when you put it on? How much confidence will you have? How many memories will be made in that garment? As Orsola de Castro says, Loved Clothes Last, and they also take time. Whether it’s too much is subjective, and only for you to answer.
If you can’t bear the thought of sifting through “one-offs”, which is what most secondhand garments have become, you can hire a professional to help you. I ❤️ shopping secondhand and want to help you, no matter where you’re located.
Creating Your Signature Look
What role does secondhand clothing play in Your Signature Look? What is a signature look? It’s how YOU show up physically — the elements of style and beauty that others recognize you by. Having Your Signature Look takes the stress out of getting dressed. Could you use some help updating your image so that it supports where you want to go?
Makeup artist and educator Natalie Setareh and I are teaming up to help you with the total package. We’ve created a 12-week VIP virtual program, working with you step-by-step to Create Your Signature Look. If you want to know more, click here today and sign up to receive your invitation. On Friday 10 September we’ll be offering everyone on the waitlist pre-access to the program, with an exciting bonus for the first three people to join. We’re running this program just two times a year. The spring edition starts 12 April. Sign up on the waitlist today to get full details in your inbox as soon as they’re ready on 20 March.
Every September Oxfam GB runs a Second Hand September campaign to promote secondhand clothing (and their on- and offline merchandise, of course!). For more information, visit their website.