But… someone else has worn those clothes before. I’ll never be able to find something nice in this charity shop. I would look so old-fashioned. Are these thoughts that have crossed your mind when considering buying second-hand clothes? I get it. I’ve been there. But I’ve come to LOVE buying second-hand. These 5 benefits of buying second-hand clothes might make you change your mind too!
The fact that I sell vintage homeware might be a hint to you that I love buying second-hand items. There’s a history behind them, they have character, and are often super unique.
When I shared a picture of my vintage Laura Ashley jumper (find the original post here), so many of you loved it. I received a lot of questions about where I got it from and my answer surprised some of you! It’s second-hand? From a charity shop? It only cost you 15 pounds?
That got me thinking and I felt the need not only to tell you why second-hand shopping is good. But also my tips for second-hand shopping. I’ll be posting my very own tips next week, but for now, let’s look at those benefits shall we?
1. BUYING SECOND-HAND CLOTHES IS SUSTAINABLE
This is a biggie.
When you make the decision to buy something second-hand, you lengthen the life cycle of an item. That very item was once bought new by a person. Processes and resources were used to produce this item and it was transported (probably multiple times) before it ended up in the shop where this person bought it.
There are many reasons why this item may have ended up in a charity/thrift shop. This person very likely fell out of love with the item. Bought the wrong size and didn’t bother returning it to the shop. Cleared out some of his/her things. Was given it as a gift and didn’t like it. Or simply didn’t have space for it anymore due to downsizing.
These reasons don’t mean that there’s something wrong with the item itself. It just needs someone else to fall in love with it again. Someone else’s junk could be your treasure, right?
When you end up buying a second-hand item instead of a new item. You are making an environmentally-friendly choice. Not only do you reduce the production and shipping of new items (which would have occurred if you bought a new item instead). You also prevent this second-hand item from going to landfill. And this… happens a lot. 57% of discarded clothes go to landfills each year.
On top of that, you encourage slow fashion. These days, fashion changes so quickly. If you try to follow the ‘trends’, there’s a big chance that some of your clothes will be ‘out’ next year. While this year it could be all about cut-out tops, next year it could be all about baggy oversized blouses.
Just by being aware that it’s all about baggy oversized blouses this year. You could end up falling out of love with a cut-out top only a year later and disposing of it. Or it ends up in the dark corners of your wardrobe first and will be disposed of a couple of years later in a big cleanout-session. Sounds recognisable?
You can’t prevent someone else from going for fast fashion, but you can prevent yourself from doing it. By focusing on classic second-hand pieces that will be a valuable addition to your wardrobe for years to come, you will be doing your part in encouraging slow fashion.
Want to know a bit more about slow fashion and how to focus more on it? I found a really good article about it here.
2. GET UNIQUE PIECES
When you buy second-hand, you could come across some really unique clothing items.
In my experience, when you buy second-hand, about half of the items will be the type of items that you could still easily buy new in a shop. But then the other half will be items that are currently not produced anymore. And may never. be. again.
Some of the items, well, you’ll probably be happy that they aren’t produced anymore. But then once in a while, you’ll find an item that’s so unique, and so you, that you immediately fall in love with it (hello vintage Laura Ashley jumper!). And when that happens, there’s a big chance that, because you’re shopping second-hand, that specific item won’t break the bank for you.
3. SECOND-HAND CLOTHES ARE OFTEN CHEAPER
This brings us to the next benefit. Second-hand shopping is often so much cheaper.
You can end up buying top-notch brands for a fraction of the price. Simply because the items of clothing have been worn a couple of times and don’t appeal to the original owner anymore.
When you buy something new, you often don’t just pay for the actual costs of the fabrics and the production of the product itself. Costs that are included in the sales price are for example transport, marketing, storage, the popularity of a brand, and so on. When you buy second-hand, you avoid these costs that drive up the sales price.
Of course, there’s a difference in the pricing of items with different charity/thrift shops and different locations. And there are things you need to keep an eye out on to make sure you don’t end up spending more than when you would have buying new clothes. I’ll be talking a bit more about this next week so keep an eye out for that.
4. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL CHARITIES OR SMALLER BUSINESSES
Well, this is a no-brainer. When you set big brands aside like H&M for example, to shop with a local charity shop or thrift shop instead. You end up supporting charities or smaller businesses. Instead of spending money on brands that are often located abroad.
When you buy from a charity shop. You support charities that contribute to for example cancer research or support for the homeless. So even if you feel that your budget doesn’t allow for expressively giving to charities, you could still do it by buying clothes that you need anyway!
And when you shop from a local thrift shop or some other small business, the money is injected back into your own local community. Thanks to you, that local thrift shop owner can hire a staff member to help her out on those days she needs to take care of the kids. Thanks to you, that staff member ends up buying something in the local baker. The local baker might end up buying something in your auntie’s shop. And so on, and so on. You get the gist! 😉
5. GET BETTER QUALITY ITEMS
This is a huge benefit I have noticed when shopping second-hand! When you shop second-hand, you will be able to buy pieces of a higher quality.
Since items are priced lower, it is actually possible to buy higher-quality pieces with the money that you have. Pieces that wouldn’t have always fit within my budget are now becoming deeply loved additions to my wardrobe for years to come. 100% woolen jumpers. 100% linen trousers. High-quality shoes (although this is a huge exception for me, I’ll explain a bit more about that next week). You name it.
On top of that, if you find for example a vintage item that’s still in good shape. Then that’s a good indication of the quality of the piece. It has already gone through wash cycles and it’s regular wear and tear. Yet it’s still in good shape. And probably will for many years if you take good care of it!
Have these 5 benefits of buying second-hand clothes convinced you yet? If you already are a huge fan of second-hand shopping, then I am very curious: what is your favourite find when comes to second-hand clothes?
Also, make sure to tune back in next Wednesday. I’ll be sharing my very own tips when it comes to buying second-hand clothes.