Five Tips for Buying Pre-loved Clothes

words by Erin Grant @papermachemind

Second hand fashion is on trend, and with so many charity shops, flea markets and re-selling platforms available we could be tempted to buy much more than we need, or shop aimlessly. If we make considered choices when shopping second-hand, and follow some rules of thumb, we can help the planet even further. Here are 5 tips for buying preloved clothing which will help you curate the second hand wardrobe of your dreams!

Do you already have something similar? First things first, do you think we should bring this home? When we ask ourselves this question, we can avoid impulse buying or filling up our wardrobe with similar pieces. This rule of thumb keeps our selection curated and saves on unnecessary purchases. 

Can it be styled with your existing wardrobe? Taking stock to see how a new item can blend with your current wardrobe and style is a great way to measure if you will wear it or not. Often if something is too far removed from our current style we tend to reach for alternatives, meaning the ones which don’t work get pushed to the back of our wardrobe.

Is it made from good quality fabric/material? There is nothing better than investing in some good quality pieces, and when you manage to find them at a bargain, it’s even better! Some timeless classics such as pure cotton or linen are sure to last and keep looking their best. 

Can you care for it properly? Let’s be honest, we’ve all thrown something in the wash on the wrong cycle and taken it out looking a little worse for wear. Have a look at the label. Does it need to be washed in a certain way, and can you make that commitment? Also, it’s important to consider the impact of the material on our environment as many synthetic blends will end up broken down and circulating in our oceans. 

Will it last? Stitches, seams, holes, stretches and missing buttons should all be considered when browsing pre-loved items. Although most people take care not to donate poor quality pieces, some can slip through and make it to the rails. Keep an eye out for anything you think might mean you could be done with it sooner than you had hoped.


For curated style bundles: Ur Cyber Stylist For great second hand: Irish Cancer Society Charity Shop + Vincent’s For hidden treasures: Simon Community, Sea Road For curated vintage: Public Romance For preloved designer goods: No8