When you think of shopping secondhand, you might think of rummaging through musty rails and sad bargain bins at your local charity shop. The reality is that secondhand shopping is part of a resale industry that’s set to become a staple part of how we shop in the future.
As more consumers are becoming aware of the devastating effects of fast fashion, the secondhand clothing industry is growing even faster than the sale of new clothing. According to Business of Fashion, the industry will be worth $32 billion in 2020. Not bad for some old grandma dresses.
Thanks to online shopping, buying secondhand can be as easy, quick and reliable as fast fashion, with the added benefit of offering one of a kind items, quality fabrics and often even better prices.
In the United States, we have a growing community of secondhand stores online that offer a curated and simple way to shop secondhand. No matter what your style, once you get the hang of browsing, you’ll be able to find items that fit right into your wardrobe and satisfy that itch to buy something "new".
Know your measurements
The thing that puts most people off secondhand shopping on Instagram or online in general is taking the risk that something will fit. But most accounts provide the measurements for an item either by request or in the caption.
Unless there’s some extreme clothing catfishing going on, knowing your bust, waist and hip measurements will give you an accurate idea of fit.
Clothes swap or resell
In the cases where an item doesn’t fit or isn’t what you expected, swap it or resell to friends. Most accounts are small businesses or side hustles run by one or two people so they don’t have time or money for returns.
But the beauty of Instagram is that you’re one post away from friends willing to buy or swap.
Find a good tailor
Because items are most often one of a kind, you could find the jeans that are the perfect wash of blue, but a size too big or too broad, or a skirt in the print of your dreams but it’s too long.
A reliable tailor – or DIY if you’re crafty – can do wonders. Secondhand items can be transformed with a little reworking – take in the leg of those jeans, take up the hem of the skirt, turn baggy shirts into crop tops, or pants into shorts.
Save on delivery costs
The one downside of online shopping is the cost and waste involved in the delivery.
Most sellers are open to helping you save on delivery by allowing you to build bundles over time. So you can wait until you see a few items you like over time before getting them shipped all together. This also means less plastic packaging in the long run.
Some sellers also allow collections so you can pick your package up yourself if you’re in the same area.
Turn on post notifications
No, this isn’t just a phrase influencers use to get more likes. Turning on post notifications can actually help you. Most sellers will let you know when their next upload will be, and if you’re serious about getting the best stuff, you have to be the first to comment or DM on an item.
Once you’ve reserved an item, be prepared to send through your proof of payment as soon as you can, or risk losing that gorgeous one of a kind piece forever.
Some of my favorite Instagram shops:
Goodshop Badshop: The best source of vintage everything, but they sell out quick!
Second Edition NY: Small business consignment for women and kids with the edition of restored furniture.
Eastside Gems: Based in Dallas, Texas, this Instagram shop ships nationwide! They have lots of chic and vintage pieces to spice up any living space.
I AM THAT: Secondhand fashion with lots of unique pieces. They have new arrivals every day.
Larger companies that promote secondhand wear that can also help your wallet:
ThredUp is a giant online store full of gem pieces. They have thousands of styles for women and children ranging from luxury items, to trendy brands. They have renting options as well for that once-in-a-lifetime event. Have clothes to sell? ThredUp sends you a prepaid shipping label so you can ship your clothes to them and maybe even make a little cash! Don’t worry, they responsibly recycle the clothes that they don't keep, or they can send them back to you.
Poshmark is another place to buy and sell used items. You can even set up your own profile and sell clothes yourself. It is safe and easy!
These shops offer a great mix of vintage and curated secondhand clothing and furniture of all styles.
If you’re looking for authentic luxury items for men, women, and kids, head over to The RealReal. They are a San Francisco based company that consigns high-quality luxury items. You can even sell your gently used items to them for up to 80% commission.
Of course you can also go to your local Goodwill and browse through the racks, many people donate rare items that are sitting there, waiting to be discovered by you!