In this picture, I’m wearing three four of my favorite items – all second hand. I bought the levis vintage jeans at a flea market, the belt used to be my dad’s and the t-shirt and silk scarf (bow in my hair) I bought in a Red Cross second-hand store. The large ring on my middle finger is also second hand (designed by Danish designer Line&Jo).
Earlier on I did a post with tips on sustainable living, including some advice on buying clothes second-hand, which caught a bit of attention. Upon request, I, therefore, thought I’d introduce you to my personal guide when going second-hand shopping.
I mean, Second-hand shopping is great – you get cheap new clothes AND can shop until you can’t carry any more with good conscience (well, maybe not economically good conscious, but at least environmentally), as you’re not contributing to further production of clothes (because no one can really forget the news of clothes being burned by several brands, right? Stuck with me anyway).
Now, to start off with, it can be a bit of a challenge to convince your sleepy self that getting up early Sunday morning is worth it, especially if your head is hurting like construction workers are building a house inside of it from the hangovers yesterday’s fun has left you with. So, to help you a bit here, I’d like to address the many benefits that might make it easier to get up, get out and go to that Flea Market.
1. Low cost
Entire outfits for under $20 – what’s not to love?
2. Local support
The local community and its charities benefit greatly from second-hand shoppers, especially if you shop second hand via charity stores. While flea markets are booming with amazing clothes for relatively low prices, you’ll usually be able to find some even better deals in charity stores. This is usually due to the fact that at many flea markets, at least here in Denmark, are filled with stands rented by students who know the potential value their things and need the money for new things, so their prices are usually more expensive (which is still pretty doable anyway though).
Second-hand shopping is pretty much the only environmentally friendly way to shop for clothing, so what are you waiting for?
4. High quality
Vintage clothing is constructed to a higher standard and made from higher quality materials and this is also your chance to get designer pieces to high street prices.
5. Create a unique style
Highstreet clothing all looks the same, which can’t be said for second-hand shops.
I hope I’ve convinced you to do a bit more of sustainable shopping, so now let’s make sure you end up with the right things and not five different H&M t-shirt you’re not going to use anyway;
- Know what you want
Having a general idea of what you want to add to your wardrobe is advisable.
- Give things a chance
Don’t toss things if they don’t seem perfect first time around, be open to trying things on, and experiment a bit. This is the place for it.
- Know what you will and won’t find
After a while, you get to know what you will and won’t find.
- Patience is key
If you’re looking for something super specific be prepared to wait it out, but maybe you’ll then be lucky enough to get it and for no money.
- Be willing to modify
If you’re willing to modify clothes you unlock a whole ‘nother level of shopping.
- Ignore sizing
Vintage clothing runs smaller; don’t ignore larger sizes because you think they won’t fit.
- Shop unisex
There are gems to be found in the rails of the opposite sex.
- Check labels
Material matters; check labels and make note of the materials used and how to care for them.
- Feel everything
After a while, you will start to identify high-quality clothing simply by touching them.
- Take your time, don’t rush but don’t dawdle either
Learn to be quick and efficient. Rushing through it all might make you miss some of the best pieces, and you are also more likely to buy things you don’t really want in the rush. Being slow on the other hand is not good either, as getting the good things requires you to be quicker than someone else interested in the same item, as there’s only one of each.
- Don’t overpay
The money may be going to charity but it’s still second-hand clothing. Also, if you’re at a flea market, don’t be afraid to do a little bit of bargaining – it usually pays off.
- Avoid “vintage clothing” and antique stores
They are always exorbitantly expensive.
- Visit regularly
and don’t always visit at the same time on the same days – change it up a bit.
- Be prepared to leave empty-handed
Some days you won’t find anything at all.. but if you’re smart, then you’ve teamed up with a friend and the two of you can then go grab a coffee or eat brunch after – then getting up early will never be for nothing!
- Don’t buy high street clothing
Vintage clothing is made with better quality materials to a higher standard, plus this is your chance to get designer labels for affordable prices, so why waste that chance on something you’ll get cheap on sale at H&M anyway?
- Don’t be afraid to ask
If you’re looking for something specific, ask since staff or stand-holders are usually friendly and accommodating.
- Lastly, for flea markets: Get there early
The thing about fleas compared to stores is that there’s only one of each item, meaning it’s the first one taking it, who’s getting it. And yes, it’s hard getting up, but you can sleep after. If you’re heading to a flea market, it doesn’t make sense not to give yourself the best chances of getting the good stuff.
Are you a pro at second-hand shopping? Leave your tips in the comments!
Until next time!