Is Second Hand Second Best? Why We Should Buy Second Hand Clothes
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Are you a fan of second hand clothes and furniture? I love both, for several reasons: you can find something unique, it’ll be cheaper than buying new, and it’s much better for the environment. If you buy from a charity shop, you’ll also be helping others: win/win.
When I was a student I was a charity shop queen. But sadly now I rarely have the time or energy to scour them. I have had some secondhand luck recently though, on Facebook selling sites, and from my mum’s wardrobe. So if you’re on the fence about embracing second hand clothes, let me share my SecondHandSeptember stories. I hope they’ll encourage you to shop second hand and discover your own pre-loved bargains! Hopefully you’ll see that second hand doesn’t mean second best!
Will You Join #SecondHandSeptember?
I’ve taken Oxfam’s #SecondHandSeptember pledge, to not buy any new clothes in September. (I realise it’s half way through September, but I haven’t bought any new clothes since July.)
“Every week 11 million items of clothing end up in landfill. Throwaway fashion is putting increasing pressure on our planet and its people – it’s unsustainable. Now there’s something you can do to help. Join Second Hand September and pledge to say no to new clothes for 30 days.”Oxfam
These stats are from also Oxfam:
By saying no to one new pair of jeans and one t-shirt, you’ll save up to 20,000 litres of water. That is a lot of water.
Second Hand Clothes Story 1: Raid Your Family’s Wardrobe!
My favourite second hand discovery is a fab dress that was lurking in the back of my mum’s wardrobe. My sister discovered this white sundress and dyed it pale blue, as it was looking a little worse for wear. It was too big for her, so I got it. My dad dug out a photo of my mum wearing it in around 1988, with me on the right aged 8. And here am I wearing it with my girls, and Ava is also 8!
As well as the lovely memories this dress holds, it is super comfy and cool to wear. My mum’s also pleased it’s gone to a good home.
Second Hand Clothes Story 2: Buying The Next Size Up on eBay
I’ve been hanging on to my Oasis denim jacket for years and years as I love it. I got it before I had the girls and I’ve gone up a size (or two) since then! I’ve been wearing it anyway, but it’s not very comfortable. I tried on a new one in the next size up, but decided to look for a secondhand one instead. Oasis keep the same cut year after year, so I knew I’d find one that fitted, eventually. It’s taken about four months, but I snapped up a darker version on eBay for £15.
I took the patches off my old one and am going to sew them onto the new one to make it unique. I’ll be selling or donating my old one as it’s still in great condition.
Second Hand Clothes Story 3: A Present
My oldest charity shop find was actually a present from an ex-boyfriend when I was at uni. Nearly 20 years on, and I still wear it a few times a year.
I call it my ‘Last Christmas’ jumper, and it’s from C&A – remember that shop? It has a real Wham-era charm and looks great with dark wash skinny jeans.
It still has the name tag of it’s previous owner sewn in, which only adds to its charm! And also makes me very grateful that we have stick-on name labels now. It’s bad enough to have to sew on the Brownie badges!
My friends thought it was a weird present, but it’s lasted a lot longer than he did 😉
I wonder where Adam Hall is now, and if he misses his old jumper.
Second Hand Clothes Story 4: Facebook Jacket
I’ve been after a leather biker jacket for over a year. I didn’t want to buy a new one, as although I’m not a vegetarian, I am trying to cut down on meat and animal products. But I also didn’t want to buy a faux leather one as they are made of plastic and that is terrible for the environment. So a second hand jacket is the obvious choice, and I decided on a second hand real leather jacket, as it will last so much longer than a fake leather one.
After much searching, I found one on my local Facebook selling site, which has never been worn! Although I realise this option is not for everyone, I’m pleased to save this from languishing in a wardrobe or going to landfill.
The lady told me she’s had it in her wardrobe for a year: what a waste. It was only £25, and although it is a bit big, it will be great for autumn with a chunky jumper or sweatshirt underneath.
Second Hand Clothes Story 5: Hand-Me-Downs
I am a huge fan of hand-me-downs – both giving and receiving! We are lucky to have cousins and friends who give the girls their second hand clothes. They are always in great condition and the girls love getting them. We also pass down a lot to my niece and they then get given to her little cousin.
I wrote a post about the joy of hand-me-downs which you can read here. My parents also stashed away a few classic items from our childhood and I loved putting my girls in them.
So Where Are The Best Places to Find Second Hand Clothes?
My go-to second hand clothes destinations are charity shops, Gumtree, eBay and Facebook selling pages. I’ve been browsing the Oxfam online shop and they have loads of fab second hand clothes. It’s much easier to find something specific, as the products are searchable. I’ll be using this in future for my second hand purchases, as it’s such a time saver.
Clothes swaps are also a great way to find new second hand clothes, and I even held one myself a few years ago. Find out how to hold your own clothes swap (also known as Swishing) here!
Second Hand Furniture Is Also A Winner
I can’t write about second hand shopping without talking about furniture. Again, I used to have loads of luck when I was a student. I picked up a bargain 1940s utility table. We recently had the table restored as it was looking a bit sad after 20 years of heavy use!
It looks fantastic now and I’m so pleased we saved it. Read more about our vintage utility table restoration here.
My other second hand steal, still very much enjoyed 20 years later, is one of my prized possessions. The vintage Ercol sofa and three matching chairs I bought in a charity shop were under £100. I had them reupholstered when I bought them 20 years ago. Now I have also covered them in throws as they are showing their age. One day I’d love to have the old brown varnish stripped off to reveal the beautiful blonde wood that I know is hiding beneath.
And my latest second hand furniture find is a vintage tea trolley. I’ve upcycled it into an on-trend drinks trolley – read about it here.
So, have I convinced you to try second hand shopping? I hope this post has shown you that with some patience and time, you can find unique clothes and furniture, without costing the earth (literally or figuratively.) I’d love to hear about your second hand bargains, please leave me a comment!