Given the choice, most people would prefer to buy their clothing “brand new” and avoid charity and second hand shops at all costs. Saying that however, don’t completely dismiss what are now branded as “thrift stores”, as they promote circular fashion and there are some real bargains to be had at great prices! Shopping second hand is becoming increasingly popular because it is more ethical than buying brand new clothes, especially if those brand new clothes come from fast fashion stores. What many people don't realise is that sometimes, clothes sold in second hand shops have actually been worn less than the brand new items you buy from high street fashion stores, where people have tried the same pieces on over and over without buying them. This is bad news for the fashion waste issue, but hopefully it will change your perceptions of the kind of garments you can find in pre-owned fashion stores.
There are second hand shops, charity shops, vintage stores and thrift stores, all of which follow the say kind of concept – they are places where you can purchase new, but mostly second hand, clothing for a reasonable price. Depending on where you find these shops and the grade of shops that they are, you can expect to find a wide range of vintage to modern, high-end and budget range clothing.
It is common for people to come out with bags of stuff that they do not really want and will actually never wear, so it is important to enter with caution and not just buy up anything that seems cheap, unusual, unique or highly sought after. I myself have found some amazing items in second hand and charity shops but you do need to enter these stores with a level head and bear in mind these important facts:
- People are often deterred from these types of stores because they do not like the idea of wearing somebody else’s old clothing. Like I mentioned above, some of the clothing in second hand stores is actually brand new or has been worn less than some of the items you buy from your favourite high street stores - where some garments are tried on numerous times before being purchased.
- Forget the price – think of the personal value. Second hand shops can offer unusual, vintage, antique, exclusive, high class, designer and really inexpensive yet great items of all types so it is only natural that you may lean towards being more careless over what you spend your money on but if you don't need it - don't buy it! Don't buy on impulse.
- Never underestimate the quality! In the case of charity shops, where store stock heavily relies on donations from the public, the items sold are usually of high quality and in very good condition, seeing as most people wouldn’t consider donating clothing in a poor condition. The same applies to second hand stores that buy their clothing from wholesalers. I have purchased second hand items from thrift stores and they have been better quality and have lasted longer than some of the high street garments I have purchased brand new!