Tips on picking second-hand clothes
When I buy second hand clothes, I always look at the fit, condition and material. With so many different brands and designers it is difficult to use that as a measure of a “good” item when thrift shopping.
I can understand why you wouldn’t want to try on items at the op shop. The clothes still need a wash, coats are funky, the change rooms aren’t the nicest – I get it! However, I would still recommend trying on all clothing items – even the ones you are unsure about.
Th reason for this is, it is so hard to tell what an item will look like when it’s thrown on a hanger in a sea of clothes with 5 million wrinkles. Even for us with great imaginations. There have been so many times that an item looks “meh” but I tried it on anyway and it looked incredible. Or sometimes when I love a garment and when I try it on…it doesn’t look the way I wanted it to or doesn’t fit quite right.
When picking a garment, inspect it very carefully. My checklist of what to look for is:
- Funky smells
- Missing buttons
- Broken/stuck zippers
- Tears and rips
Thrift shops can be hectic and we can sometimes forget to look at the item carefully! I once found a Lacoste polo for $4 – what a great steal, right? Only when I went home I noticed a small stain in the front. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get rid of it and the shirt isn’t wearable…I should have inspected it closer when I bought it!
Stay away from flimsy, polyester clothes and stick to high-quality garments made from wool, cashmere, cotton, linen, leather and silk (or at least a blend!). The latter kind often look better and last longer. A natural fabric doesn’t always mean a better garment but is a great way to pick out pieces in a hectic and filled thrift shop. Check the tag on the inside of the garment to see what its made of. I have found that coats with even a small blend of wool and cashmere are game-changers and keep you so much warmer. Other things to determine a garment’s quality is the stitching and lining.
Plus, it is relatively easy to find cheaper, “fast fashion” clothing at a lower price brand-new. This makes it a lot less cost effective to buy it second-hand. For example, I’ve seen $10 H&M shirts being sold for $8, alongside $8 silk shirts at the op shop. I’d rather spend the extra couple of dollars and get items like that brand new!
There are good days and bad days
Sometimes I walk into an op shop and I notice it’s incredibly crowded, everyone’s trolleys are full and the items are totally over picked. On some days, I can’t stop finding gems in every aisle. Keep in mind that thrift shopping is very different to your regular shopping mall experience. If you can tell it’s an “off” day, just come back another time – don’t be too disheartened!
Look through everything
I find people who say “I never find anything at op shops” do this one. If you casually browse a rack, maybe looking at a thing or two and skipping sections – it’s going to be really tough finding beautiful pieces. They’re usually kinda hidden amongst everything. You really have to look at everything. Pick your rack, and look at every item, try to imagine it outside of the store, what kind of outfit you would style it with etc.
And, that’s it! Armed with these tips I hope you pick up some amazing clothing finds at the thrift shop.
If you find something really cool, I’d love to see it! Feel free to send me a DM on instagram @themoneymarketerblog or send me an email on email@example.com