Secondhand shopping has come into its own within the sustainable fashion movement (read all about its evolution here), yet with so many options, it can be difficult to know where to begin to find gently-used clothes that you love and will want to wear again and again. Check out our wearwellagain collection to easily shop sustainable secondhand finds, or read on for the 3 best tips to shop secondhand like a pro!
1. Consider the construction + materials.
One great reason to shop secondhand is to extend the life of a piece of clothing. To get the most wear out of a secondhand piece pay attention to how it’s made and the type of materials used. Skip fabrics that shed microplastics, like polyester, and look for cotton, wool, silk, linen, and cashmere. 100% natural fiber is best, but any level of blend is usually durable and can stand the test of time!
Sometimes tags are faded or cut out of secondhand clothes, but fear not! You don’t need to be a garment expert, simply follow these quick tips when you’re trying on your secondhand finds:
2. Opt for fabrics that feel good
Now that you know how to spot good quality, knowing which fabrics you love to wear can help guide you when browsing secondhand clothing.
Feel the fabric: Does it feel lightweight or stretchy? Or is it substantial and structured? Higher-quality materials will feel good on your body and drape well. They’ll also hold their shape much longer.
Hold the fabric up to the light: Can you see through it? Sheer and see-through usually means a loose weave, which can more easily tear or snag. But, this doesn’t mean that lightweight fabric is bad; you may just need to take some extra care when wearing and washing.
Think about one of your favorite outfits you’ve ever worn: What was it made out of it? If it was a fuzzy jacket, look for a cozy cardigan. If it was a satin bridesmaid dress, search for a silk blouse. If you love simple cotton tees - stick with that! A sustainable wardrobe should be filled with pieces you love to wear and feel good in.
3. Secondhand styles that make the cut
Before you start browsing, make sure to be intentional. It can be easy to see a low price tag and just go for it! But first, read the product pages in detail to learn about any snags, stains, holes, or pilling on the garment. These small flaws are common with used clothing and can often be remedied, so it’s just a matter of being aware before you buy.
If your new-to-you secondhand piece is a nearly perfect fit, but just a little too big, has a fallen hem, or is missing a button, consider getting it tailored. Tailoring (or mending yourself!) is a great solution to lead to a perfect fit! Keep minor alterations in mind as you budget for the piece you’re buying.
When you’re giving a second life to a piece, you can also choose to make it one that was sustainably made in the first place! We have a number of beautiful sustainably-made pieces in our wearwellagain collection that could be your next great secondhand find!