Not only does buying pre-loved clothes fill me with the kind of ecstatic bliss normally reserved for Ferrero Roche, but I happen to be particularly addicted to all the great other benefits that come from shopping in this way. If you’ve never considered shopping second hand before, here’s my top five reasons that might just convince you to give it a try:
1. LESS FASHION DICTATION
One of the main reasons I give for shopping second hand is rather strangely that you’ll find less of a fashion season influence. This might seem strange, but what you find is that if (for example) red is this season’s must have colour, you tend to find it everywhere on the high street, to the exclusion of the other colours of the rainbow. By shopping second hand you will often find you have more choice available for your own colours and body shape. You might also find that you dress in a more individual way. There's nothing worse than heading to a party and finding you're wearing the exact same dress as someone else. Mixing it up from charity shops ensures this won't happen.
You might think that by shopping second hand, you won’t have as much choice as is available to you on the high street. Firstly, I’m not sure that choice is exactly a good thing, especially when it comes to clothes. Too much choice lends for a confusing and time consuming shopping trip. I’m much more a fan of ‘try it on, if it fits you, suits you and works for your rules, then buy it; if not, leave it’. These days, and with the quality of second hand clothes being so good, there is plenty of choice out there.
I find that the quality of second hand clothes these days is excellent – many items still have the labels on! In my dress agency, I am frequently given clothes to sell on that still have the (not insubstantial) tags attached – never worn. One day a lovely lady gave me a bin bag that had been in her garage for 2 years – the bag contained 3 pairs of Jimmy Choo shoes, a pair of Prada’s and a Louis Vuitton handbag! These items were all in fantastic condition, and by buying them secondhand, you can enjoy amazingly good designer brands for a fraction of the price. It’s the ultimate in guilt free shopping!
4. COST SAVINGS
If you’re buying something for a special occasion, then it can seem a lot to go to the shops and spend over £100 on one outfit that you'll probably only wear once or twice. Buying second-hand means the cost per wear comes right down. If you start buying most of your clothes second hand you can save a small fortune in the course of a year. I regularly pick up clothes now for anything between 50p and £20 per item – those same items would cost ten, twenty, even thirty times that new, so I know I’m saving even when I’m buying! The last wedding I went to, I wore shoes and a coat from my wardrobe, and a lace dress I bought for £4. The only other thing I bought was a new pair of tights, which were more than the dress! I spent a total of £8.99 on that outfit, and I felt marvelous in it.
I can walk into a charity shop and find a dress I love and then get an added thrill from knowing I’m helping reduce the number of clothes that end up in landfill, reducing the environmental burden of new clothes production, and therefore am literally saving the planet (heroic theme tune here). Well, maybe not quite saving the planet, but if lots of us changed our shopping habits, and bought less new clothes, it will have a positive impact on recycling. It’s a good feeling knowing that shopping in this way is so environmentally friendly.
Visit the Frankie & Ruby website to read more about Victoria’s work. Her book “In the Jumble – the joys of finding, buying and wearing second hand clothes” is available now on Amazon, Kindle and iTunes.