What are the best items to watch out for when shopping Vintage and Second hand?
“Hey, Macklemore! Can we go thrift shopping?”….
Stop!Before you lovely readers start signing along – you need to check out my guide on making the most out of vintage shopping.
Now I do appreciate that for some people the thought of shopping second hand, or buying items that have had previous lives in someone else’s wardrobe, may conjure up images of walking around looking like a lovable little granny.
But, hold those thoughts right there!
Shopping pre-loved doesn’t have to mean dressing like an O.A.P.
…..unless that’s your vibe, then ….
“I’m a take your grandpa’s style, I’m a take your grandpa’s style,
No, for real. Ask your grandpa. Can I have his hand-me-downs?”
(Admit it the song is in your head now 😉 )
I’m here to prove to you that shopping second hand, really doesn’t have to mean second best!
I have always loved the pre-loved. Ever since I was a young teen and use to rummage through my beautiful, late Nan’s wardrobe on the hunt for her silk scarves and bling brooches, and I actually wore a beautiful, second hand, emerald green, 50’s prom dress to my college graduation over ten years ago! (Yes I’m positively vintage myself now too ha!)
However since vintage and retro styling became popular amongst celebrities and high profile influencers, more and more people are seeing that other people’s cast offs can add serious style to their own wardrobe.
Second hand shopping can be a brilliant way of sourcing really high quality items, for next to nothing cost. It’s also a way of experimenting with clothing styles from different eras, as we all know that fashion trends from different decades will always make a re-appearance time and time again.
Along with the obvious saving in cost that shopping second hand can bring you, it can be a way to help lower waste in a world where we churn out too much product. Especially now with cheap, mass manufactured, clothing seemingly become too easy to just throwaway.
It’s also a brilliant way to keep your style individual. You can step out knowing you have a one of a kind dress, bag, scarf or jacket.
Lastly, don’t forget that the couple of pounds you spend on that second hand item could be on it’s way to helping some wonderful charity. It’s a win win all round readers!
You’ll now find that your average high street charity shop has cottoned on to the fact that vintage style is big fashion news, often even having an entirely separate section of store just for real, original, retro pieces.
So check out my quick guide below, for some top tips of which items I always look out for whenever I hit a local charity shop or vintage store, and get ready to find some fabulous bargains that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Keep a look out for good quality, vintage bags!
We can never have enough bags now can we! They all carry the same stuff but do such different things to our outfits 😉
Second hand stores are a brilliant place to source handbags that you will find are crafted from amazing quality materials.
Vintage leather bags and bags heavy on embroidery and beading and always good ones to look out for. I’ve always found that the quality is so much better on a vintage item than of many items found today on the high street.
I found this gorgeous little embroidered hand bag with stone detailing in a local charity shop for £2! Yes two little quid only. It’s perfect teamed with leather and velvet this Winter.
As I mentioned before second hand leather goods are fantastic quality. Ree picked up this gorgeous boho style, brown leather, satchel bag for a fraction of the price she would have paid on the high street. It is the perfect bag for festivals and Summer holidays and it’s going to last you for years to come.
A few years back I found this leather, school style satchel for less than five pounds in a local charity store. It was perfect for the geek chic look paired with a midi skirt a high school style sweater and converse.
Look out for classic coats and jackets
Styles of jackets and coats can come and go every year, but there are always those classics that we all have hanging in the wardrobe. Items like leather bikers, denim jackets, blazers, parkas and trench coats are items that we know will always be in style, and second hand shops are brilliant places to source them.
Ree found this gorgeous tweed blazer in a charity shop on her local high street, for a couple of pounds. Its perfect for all occasions as it can be dressed up for a smarter work look and looks equally fabulous paired with jeans and a slogan tee, for a casual daytime look.
Just this week I found this Burberry inspired Mac from Zara in The British Heart Foundation for £6, perfect for Spring.
The best sparkles – Vintage sequinned and beaded party pieces.
Now i’m not sure if it’s because I’m a child of the 80’s or because i’m a dancer who has spent way too many years in very sparkly costumes, but there is something about a sequin that gets my little heart racing!
So whenever I hit a second hand store you can be sure that i’ll have my radar tuned into any sighting of an 80’s party piece. I have found some amazing 80’s sequinned jackets and butterfly style tops for only a couple of pounds each.
I’ve worn them for all sorts of events. Dressed up glam, paired with a dress or jumpsuit for a Christmas or News Year Eve party, to dressed down with denim shorts, a basic tee and converse trainers for a festival.
I would definitely recommend a local high street charity shop for scouting out sequinned pieces. I brought both the jackets pictured below for a few pounds each and people always comment on them when I wear them.
These types of jackets are always much more expensive in big vintage stores, and you can pay up to ten times the price for a modern one from a high street clothing store.
And Ree looks fabulous in this 80’s sequinned, sleeved dress that she scooped up for a few pounds. It’s the perfect stand out little black dress for the upcoming festive season.
Try vintage dresses from different eras.
As I mentioned earlier fashion from different eras comes back round in style time and time again. Last Autumn there was a big 70’s boho vibe with embroidered high necks and big ruffled sleeves and last winter saw the return of the 80’s with one armed dresses and sequins, and lets not forget the explosion of the 50’s style Bardot neckline over the Summer.
Shopping second hand is a brilliant way of jumping on board with some of these trends. You will find original pieces from decades gone, that you can slip into your existing wardrobes and update by combining with a few new pieces to give it a modern twist.
As all of us wonderful women are different body shapes and sizes, you can find that clothing styles from certain eras sometimes suit our shapes much more than what is currently available.
Lucky Ree is all long legs and big boobs! However she often complains to me that she doesn’t have a defined waist line, that’s why 50’s style tea dresses suit her so beautifully. This style of dress shows off the lady lumps and her gorgeous pins and nips her in and emphasises her waist.
She scooped up this 50’s floral dress for under a fiver and looks beautiful in it!
I’m the other end of the lady bump scale, being all bottom and not much else! I’ve found over the years that 70’s boho style, with soft draped layers suit my little frame.
Don’t forget the accessories
I love rooting round charity stores for bangles, necklaces, purses, scarves, hats and belts. Second hand stores are stocked to the brim with them.
I’ve picked up some amazing felt trilby’s and fedoras in charity shops in my time.
Last Summer I found this amazing hat for 50p – I repeat readers 50p! I wore it to a friends wedding and simply combined it with a H&M polka dot dress to give it a modern twist. The overall effect was very “pretty women at the polo!” Thank you Julia Roberts for the style inspo! 😉
Like many the thought of wearing someone else’s shoes freaks me out a little, however don’t discard the shoe section of a second hand store straight away. Often you can find shoes that are brand new and still in their boxes. We are all guilty of buying shoes, never wearing them and giving them away, right?!
I found these second hand, silver mules from Aldo that were still in their box with all the labels. They were perfect metallic addition to my wardrobe this Summer.
Lastly don’t forget to look for makes of clothing. I’ve often found good quality wardrobe basics like jumpers and T-shirts from well known stores like Zara, french collection, mango and so on, all still with their tags on for hardly any money at all!
So now you have saved yourself all that money on your new wardrobe, you can treat yourself to an extra cocktail or two this weekend! Thank me later 😉
But do you lovely readers shop vintage? How do you feel about buying second hand? Don’t forget to comment below and let us know. We love hearing from you!
If you would love to turn your passion for the pre-loved into a business check out how Ree recently opened up an online store selling vintage items.
So i’ll finish as I started with that overly catchy tune….
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”
Love and Pre-Loved
(We would both like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for all you support this year! Helen & Ree)
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