I LOVE SHOPPING. It’s therapeutic for me! Some of my earliest memories are of me and my mom shopping. She took me everywhere with her for the first 5 years of my life until I went to school.
I did not wear second-hand clothing growing up unless it was my sister’s things. It took me 2 years to grow into her clothing because she was much taller than me. We received new clothing each school year. We didn’t have lots of extra money but this was something my parents saved for. Thank you, Mom and Dad!
When I moved here to Canada the wardrobe that I brought with me was very impractical. I had been living in Southern California for 10 years. The only practical thing I purchased for this climate were my winter boots. I wasn’t very prepared, to say the least.
Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way when it comes to buying clothing second-hand:
- You can find great quality clothing when you buy secondhand but it takes a lot of time searching the racks. You have to be willing to invest your time to build a great secondhand wardrobe. If you don’t want to sift through racks and racks of clothing then it might not be for you.
- If you find a GREAT piece that you love, buy it. This might seem to contradictory to my first point. If it’s functional and practical for your wardrobe, then buy it. In most secondhand stores there is usually only one of each thing so if you wait to buy it, someone else may scoop it up.
- Know your brands. It’s so important to know what is quality and what is not. There are some popular brands out there that aren’t great quality. Don’t buy something because it’s brand name. Know what is worth it and what is not.
- Go for quality-not quantity. I had to get rid of most of my summery clothing. I still own some key summer pieces but I would say the bulk of my wardrobe is sweaters, warm leggings and jeans. This is because our longest seasons are cool to freezing. Even our summers can be cool and damp. I do not like being COLD. One winter we lived in a place with electric heat ($$$$ to run) so I lived in 5 layers of clothing. Also, I’m currently a stay at home mom and plan to be for a while so my wardrobe reflects this relaxed style.
- Have a good laundry routine. I do 95% of our laundry because I am particular. I still cringe when I consider how I used to wash things in college. I would throw everything in together and hope for the best. Then I would dry everything on high. Used or brand new-these are quick ways to wear down and ruin your clothing. Now I have a very specific laundry routine. I actually read the tags on clothing now and follow instructions.
- Not everything is worth buying second-hand. I am learning the truth of quality over quantity. Some things are worth saving up for considering the quality and how long they will last you.
I will admit that clothing is the area in which I have always struggled with overspending. You need a plan going in or you will end up with things you don’t need. I’m still working on a minimalist/capsule type of wardrobe. I haven’t achieved this yet but it’s on my to do list. I also wanted to share something that changed the way I buy clothing now. While I still buy new clothing it is rarely and it isn’t without some guilt. Fast fashion (think Forever 21, H&M, Zara’s etc.) has a deadly impact on our environment and people.
There is an excellent documentary called The True Cost .
It exposes the consequences fast fashion is having on our world today. The fact that people are actually dying while producing the clothing that we wear is horrifying. I highly recommend this film. It’s sobering and thought-provoking. It has pushed me to consider the ethics behind the brands I buy from.
So there are my best tips for buying second hand clothing! Do you buy second hand? What are some things you’ve learned along the way?