Successfully looking for pre-loved clothing

by | Sep 25, 2018 | Clothing Styles | 3 comments

Are you a serious “keep things out of landfill” advocate? Or do you like the joy of finding treasures in the form of pre-loved clothing – often natural fibre or well-made? Or maybe you are into saving money too?   I know I am in with all 3. In my search for pre-loved and all things second-hand (and some is pre-owned and not even worn) I like to have ideas on successfully looking for pre-loved clothing.

All that glitters is not gold

Or rather you may stumble on items that don’t suit – through quality, design, shape, fabric or suitability. That is part of the pursuit and shouldn’t get you down. Be aware that you need to have your wits about you to look for the sometimes allusive garments that suit many of the things on your list of “specifications”. Something might look good – but you need experience over time for what is worth your time and money. Sad to say – although some countries are changing (but slowly) there is so much poor quality out there that if you gave something only a quick look you might be tempted. Name brands included. Sadly often what starts as a quality garment run ends up being less so and the lack of rightful budgeting for a good garment is let slide.

Being prepared

When you prepare to go to look – you can either have a short trip or make a half day or full day of it. Be prepared in what you wear to go shopping. Have easy to pull off or on shoes if winter and easy open footwear for summer. Have easy slip on and off garments – so it isn’t an issue and time-consuming dressing and undressing.

When you shop – have your unique styling in mind and consider doing a wardrobe/closet inventory. But keep an open mind just in case something uniquely “you” comes along. Doing this at change of season is a good idea – since sometimes “shopping your closet” comes up with a variety of outfits you haven’t considered before. At least in my closet that is what often happens. So they are truly “pre-loved clothing”.

Get educated. Have a good look at styles on Pinterest and other styling pages that capture the style you are after. This is what you want to wear for functionality or practicality as well as appearance It is a good idea to become educated on the different styling out there.   This includes name brands. If you can work with a buddy (and do it well) on the same day consider being on the look-out for her at different times for brands or sizes she may be after at the same time and vice versa.. Choosing clothing is personal – but she may come across something which you haven’t thought of. Plus – it’s great to have a second opinion on what you choose.

Particularly good also is to see clothing differently and to see if you want a style change. Do a search on styles: some examples are Chic (this can cover a great deal!), Bohemian, Artsy, Classic, Vintage, Elegant, Preppy, Casual….. you get the drill!

                                                                         Be aware of the quality of what you buy
                                                                         Photo Credit Pete Bellis -Unsplash



Successfully looking for pre-loved clothing

There are some tips which may help you get into buying gear

  • Don’t buy fast. I guess with many landfill problems that is where all the problems started from. Although as we “girls” know – it seems to inspire us to have some new items of clothing to wear. Still the emphasize is on “slow”. Spontaneous can be good in many things – but clothes buying is worth your time.
  • This should have become the first point – but I decided to add this here. Whittle down your closet a little. Donate where in good condition. Use some things as rags or stretchy bands hubby can use. Throw out which you know – parts have stretched or worn beyond repair. Put aside those things you think can be mended. Sell what you think is worth selling. I know that is a difficult thing to do. But, hey sister –
  • Know that sizes are not all made equal. Worse luck! But – do consider going either side of your usual sizing – both up or down. If they can be so wrong in your size – you can imagine – that’s what others are saying below you and above you! You can start to be experienced by looking at a garment and telling what a size looks like and if it may fit. Make sure that the item fits you now and not that you will “grow into”.
  • Remember – pre-loved clothing shops are not like your normal – assistant at the ready – “new” shops. Clothing can be put back (and often is) in different places by customers. Be alert!
  • If you locate a garment of extra good quality – but the fit it “not quite right” (NQR) think outside the square and assess it for alteration or up cycling. Some finds can be well worth the purchase and a conspiring buddy on hand to help you can be profitable.
  • Check out the men’s rack. They can be an invaluable source of “different” and “suitable”. They can also yield some items to upcycle too.
  • Don’t miss the details. An advantage of pre-loved clothing is that they have been tried and tested. You can then check to see if they have come up trumps. Look for details for signs of wear in the material, (at weak points such as knees, elbows, underarms, chest) whether the seams are still holding up and that stitching is good. Check zips to see if they are working. Look for patterns or stripes matching at tops, bottoms, sides and elsewhere noticeable. Check hems sit suitably in place.If there is a split in skirts – try on and check to see that the material around the split is sitting well
  • There are different places to look for quality pre-loved clothing – Try markets, church fairs and stalls, check newspapers and online for garage sales, check buy, swap pages on Facebook, check free websites classifieds.

Don’t forget this checklist 

  • Wherever possible try pre-loved clothing on. Unless you are buying something similar to a tent – you can be wrong in getting just the right fit.
  • You may find items you weren’t at first looking for but they might be a great find and better than what you have already. So you may be trading “up” and you can get to sell what you have instead.
  • Check if there are some imperfections that you can over-look. A tiny flaw in the material. Maybe a missed button or a hem that needs sewing up. But only if you are into mending.
  • Aim for a “killer” wardrobe. Things that you aim to wear often. That is a classic and won’t be something that is over-trendy and short-lived.
  • When you are searching do some real digging (don’t get impatient) – you will find gems that way.

Well let’s hope you find some good finds in your clothing hunting  – let me know how you go.

Until later!



Deborah Hunter Kells

I have a wide range of interests and the top of my list is people and relationships. I appreciate our big wide world and nature which tries so hard to deal with what we do to it. As noted you will find a variety of topics covered (see Home page) My appreciation goes to my team and others whom I collaborate with to make this blog successful and resourceful. Thanks especially to my team: Sarah, Tina, and Billah (See footer for more of their details)

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