When you think of shopping secondhand, you might think of trawling 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.
There is also a growing community of secondhand stores on Instagram 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 Story 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.
The best online market places
The original digital market places are still high up on secondhand influencers’ lists. First head over to Ebay, where just the sheer amount of items, along with its great search function, allows you to find even the most specific item on your wish list. ASOS Marketplace is also the home of many secondhand boutiques and stylists’ collections, and is well worth the search. Also check out Depop and Etsy, whose market places are full of everyday essentials, alongside more statement pieces. And if you’re interested in buying or selling secondhand designer items, Edit Secondhand is a great place to snaffle more affordable yet high end pieces.
Vintage and re-worked: you’ll find an increasing number of online shops and Instagram sites which don’t just source and curate secondhand finds, but re-work them to better fit a modern aesthetic. Vive L’amour and @made.REBEKAHPETERS are good places to start if you’re looking for vintage with a modern twist.
Curated feeds: if you fancy the vintage look without having to scour the internet for second hand pieces, @cordialvintage and @thepansygarden curate and sell secondhand looks. Another Matinee’s feed is particularly inspiring, with styling that wouldn’t look out of place in Vogue. If you’re looking for something less cutesy and more colourful, @novavintage have a more playful, retro vibe, whereas Retold Vintage sources and curates beautifully minimalist pieces.
Finally, if you want to outsource the online chase for secondhand entirely, send your unwanted clothes to Big Sister Swap. This online marketplace will ask you a few questions about your needs and personal style, and from there send you a collection of second hand and swapped clothes based on your answers.