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A Guide To Second Hand Clothes Shopping

A Guide To Second Hand Clothes Shopping

Posted on: Sunday 13 March 2022

"One person's trash is another person's treasure."

Buying your clothes second hand is one of the most sustainable ways to shop; a more circular economy means less waste, less pollution and less demand for fast fashion. And because of the fast fashion problem, there's plenty of second hand clothing to go around. 

When you first start shopping second hand it can be a little overwhelming, simply because it's so different to what you'll have previously been used to. It's not like walking into a high street shop full of things you don't need and just buying for the sake of it; there's more purpose behind it and I tend to shop second hand when I have something specific in mind that I need.

The following is a simple guide on where and how to shop, plus some tips to make your venture into second hand clothes shopping a little easier (if you're only just starting that is - if you're a veteran second hand shopper then yay for you!).

charity shops

The closest to high street shopping as you know it, charity shops are full of gems if you're willing to look and are best for getting your browsing fix when you're missing that in person shopping experience. Yes, you have to look a bit harder, but most charity shops are sorted into sizes and often colours too to make it easier to zone in on what you want. 

Charity shopping hacks:

FIND THE BEST ONES NEAR YOU // Despite charity shops giving off the air of all generally being the same, they're definitely not. Now that I've scoped out all of them near me I know which ones might have stock in that I like and which ones generally won't. The British Red Cross shops receive donations direct from Zara, who send them unsold stock. Whereas there are clearly issues with the overproduction of clothing by Zara, it's definitely better for it to be worn than wasted. M&S do something similar with Scope I believe. 

VISIT A POSH AREA // It's a no-brainer that people in posher areas will generally have more expensive clothes and therefore charity shops in more middle-class areas are more likely to stock them. They'll obviously be priced accordingly, but often still at absolute bargain prices. 

THINK ABOUT POTENTIAL // So the charity shop might not have exactly what you want, but they might have something that you could alter, even if it's chopping the bottoms off a pair of jeans to make shorts. Charity shops also often sell fabric, so if you're that way inclined you could sew something from scratch!

online (eBay/Depop/Vinted)

This is where I go if I'm on the hunt for something specific, which I usually am, as I tend to only shop for what I need these days rather than mindlessly buying things I don't. I rarely use eBay as I find things tend to go for a higher price once people enter a bidding war. Depop is my favourite in terms of the interface and there is heaps on there, but Vinted is the cheapest and generally has the best policies when it comes to both buying and selling. 

Online hacks:

ALWAYS HAGGLE // This obviously doesn't apply to eBay and Vinted tends to be so cheap I don't bother, but I've never paid the stated price on Depop and I think people tend to price things on there with the expectation that it'll sell for less (I know I certainly do). Even if you just ask for the shipping to be knocked off, it's worth a try! 

NARROW YOUR SEARCH // Depop in particular is very saturated so it's not the best for simply browsing. Make sure you use as many filters as possible to narrow down what you want; I often search for fast fashion brands I used to wear because I know the fit/styles suit me so rather than searching for 'black jeans' I'd search for 'Monki black jeans' or something similar then apply size/colour filters too.

BEWARE OF ITEMS WITH NO PHOTOS OR BRAND // There may be plenty of good reasons why there are no photos of an item (and by no photos I mean where someone has simply used the stock photos from the website the product was originally from) and generally they're probably just being lazy, but I never buy something without seeing photos of the condition it's in. I like to steer clear of the worst offending fast fashion brands even second hand (think Shein, Pretty Little Thing etc) and listings that don't state a brand are often from these places because people know it will put some people off buying.

pre-loved Instagram accounts

There are absolutely heaps of these, for both adult and children's clothing; the trick is finding the good ones! I don't follow many pre-loved Instagram accounts and tend to buy instead from people I already follow who may be doing a stories sale. There are heaps out there if you're willing to look though!


I won't go into too much detail about shopping vintage because I've written a whole post about it here. It obviously is shopping second hand, but I often count it as a separate kind of shopping because it's so different to any of the above, both in price point and in the way that you shop. It's definitely one of my favourite ways to shop sustainably, although not something I tend to do as much anymore!

Do you ever buy second hand clothes?

Amy x


  1. I do need to shop in charity shops more, this is all such great advice Amy! x

    Lucy Mary

    1. Thanks lovely, hope you found it useful :) x

  2. I've never really had much luck with charity shops! I do love to buy items on Ebay though!

    Corinne x

    1. Charity shops can definitely be hit and miss! x

  3. I need to check out Charity shops more often. I've sold on Depop before, but not really looked at things to buy, and that is definitely something that needs to change. Great post xx

    Hannah |

    1. It's fab for buying and would definitely recommend checking out Vinted too :) x

  4. I feel like I could have written this. I've done so much second hand shopping recently. I feel like I've had such a mindset change over the last half a year with regards to shopping. What a fabulous post, with such great advice. X

    1. Awh that's great to hear! Thanks lovely xx

  5. I'm yet to find a really good charity shop but we have a new vintage clothing store in York that sells all second hand stuff and it's fab!

    Gemma Louise

  6. I've been buying loads on Vinted lately and found some amazing buys!


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