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My Guide To Buying Secondhand Clothing

You can pick up some absolute gems when searching through racks of pre-loved clothes, all it takes is a little patience. I’ve been doing it for years and love creating outfits with beautiful pieces I’ve bought either on Depop, in a charity shop or vintage store. There’s something to suit everyone’s style. Here are my top tips for buying secondhand clothing for this seasons wardrobe.

Forget Any Preconceived Ideas

Charity shops have come a long way over the years and aren’t full of stained or moth eaten clothing that no one would ever dream of wearing. The stores are stocked with carefully chosen pieces that have already been washed and everywhere is laid out in sections, either by colour or style. The staff are extremely helpful and knowledgeable, just as you’d find in a high street store.

Minor Problems Can Be Fixed

You can easily sew on a button or put on a complete new set to jazz up a blazer or coat. Broken zip, no worries, a new zip can simply be sewn in, either by you or anyone you know with a sewing machine. A hem can be taken up to make a skirt or dress just the perfect length and if a top or dress is slightly too low cut across the bust, a few stitches are all it takes to protect your modesty. If there does happen to be a slight mark it can easily be removed by one of the many fabric cleaners on the market. Failing that take it along to a local dry cleaners, which is well worth doing for a one off vintage or designer garment.

Always Try It On

Clothes may look fabulous on a hanger but can look absolutely hideous the minute you try on what you thought was the perfect looking dress. The same rule applies the other way round, it could hang like a sack on the hanger but once you slip it on the dress could give you the most stunning shape and drape beautifully across the body.

Always Check The Returns Policy

This is definitely worth checking if you’re buying on Depop, Ebay or Oxfam On Line. Imagine how heartbroken you’d be after ordering a stunning piece of clothing only for it to arrive and it didn’t fit. Or there was a hole in the garment that wasn’t shown in the photo and the seller wouldn’t give you a refund.

Trust Your Instinct

If you know an item will go with at least 3 outfits in your wardrobe and you know you’ll get lots of wear from that piece then it’s worth having. Does it suit your personal style or are you buying it just because it’s something that’s on trend? Also don’t be a label snob, if you think you will wear the item then buy it.

Don’t Rule Out Accessories

Hats, jewellery and bags all add those perfect finishing touches to any outfit. You may stumble across a 1950s bag that looks brand new and you’re unlikely to see one of your friends with the same one. If you can’t quite stretch to a full price designer handbag, then buying secondhand is the best way to go, especially if it’s a classic design that’s never going to go out of style.

Have you found a great secondhand bargain?

You may also like to read My Autumn Charity and Vintage Shop Haul

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Autumn Charity Shop Haul

I have been shopping in Secondhand and Vintage shops for ages, usually the odd piece here and there. This year I thought I’d challenge myself to finding at least 3 outfits and a coat that would fit perfectly with my Autumn style. I know a lot of people aren’t keen on buying from Charity shops, but there’s no difference between shopping there or on Ebay and DePop. I’m giving a new home to pre-loved items and will definitely be getting a lot of enjoyment out of wearing them.

I went into HItchin town centre to complete my mission. Among the shops I visited were Age Concern, Keech Children’s Hospice, Garden House Hospice and RSPCA. I’m so excited to show you what absolute gems I picked up.

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love a floral dress. This gorgeous knee length one with an Autumnal print was hanging on the mannequin in the window of Age Concern. I was over the moon when I tried it on and found it fit me beautifully. It’s double layered with an elasticated waist and wrists. I love the frill detail down the front and around the cuffs and the print is perfect for this seasons Dark Floral trend. There isn’t a label in the dress but it’s beautifully made and cost me £5.99.

I couldn’t resist this 1960s brown leather bag. I love the design, especially the gold hard ware and it suits my personal style. It’s in really good condition, considering it’s age and cost me £10 from Garden House Hospice Vintage Shop.

Also in Garden House Hospice Vintage Shop, I picked up two beautiful floral dresses. The first is a red floral number with a tie waist. I love the pattern as I can accessorise it in so many different ways. The dress is knee length in a fit and flare style with flute sleeves. Originally from Tu and cost me £3.99.

The brown ditsy, floral print dress just screams Autumn. I love the frill detail around the neck and down the front. It’s quite sheer, so I’m wearing a black slip underneath. I can always wear a long sleeve thermal top, thick tights and boots when the weather turns chillier. Originally from F&F but I paid £3.50.

Keeping with the dark prints for Autumn, I picked up these two gorgeous skirts from Age Concern and both are made from a thick cotton. They’ll look fabulous worn with knee high boots and a range of different tops or blouses I already own. The striped print skirt is originally from Betty Jackson and cost me £4 from Keech Children’s Hospice and the floral skirt is originally from M Butterfly and cost me £5 from RSPCA.

I also picked up this fabulous faux fur, faux suede jacket in a rick chocoalte brown colour. It’s super snuggly and roomy enough to fit a chunky jumper underneath when the temperatures do start to drop. It’s the kind of jacket that goes with everything, smart or casual. I already have a couple in other shades so I was really excited to pick up this one for Autumn. It’s originally from Next and cost me £8.

I found this fabulous Hobbs check print coat in Age Concern and fell in love with it straight away. It’s fully lined and made from 100% wool. It’s such a classic style and can be worn in many different ways in both Autumn and Spring. The jacket is in such good condition and will be a wardrobe staple for many years to come. I paid £10 and think I got my money’s worth.

The blush nude wool blazer is simply divine. It’s 100% wool and extremely soft. The neutral shade means it will go with practically everything in my Autumn wardrobe. I’ve loved styling it with a thin roll neck, cream jeans and a pair of brown boots for a super casual look. The label is from Daniel Hechter and cost me £10 from Garden House Hospice Shop.

An outfit challenge wouldn’t be complete without a few accessories to finish off the look. I fell in love with theses moc croc, burgandy ankle boots in Age Concern. They’re perfect for Autumn and will look beautiful paired with some of my new outfits. These boots are in really good condition and have hardly been worn. They cost me a grand total of £6 and will be getting a lot of use over the coming months.

I’ve always been a lover of sparkly things and have built up a collection of costume jewellery over the years. I bought these gorgeous bracelets from Garden House Hospice Vintage Shop, the pearl ones cost £1 and the diamante one cost £1.50. They’ll always help to jazz up an outfit.

Finally, I had to feature this beautiful suede cross body bag which I found in the same vintage store for £10. It’s in excellent condition and was marked up as being from the 90s. I love the neutral shade and gold hard ware, making it extremely versatile. It’s the perfect size to fit my daily essentials, including two zipped pockets inside to keep valuables secure.

I hope you enjoyed my Autumn Charity Shop outfit challenge. I absolutely love everything I picked up and think they fit in perfectly with my personal style.

Have you snapped up a secondhand bargain? Where’s your favourite place to shop for previously owned clothes?

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