7 Great Reasons to Buy Secondhand and Preloved Clothes

Catherine Summers AKA Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 50 style blog | Wearing boho summer style - black patterned embroidered kimono jacket, cream stripe linen wide leg trousers, white flatform trainers

I’ve always been a fan of vintage clothing, but secondhand clothes are now becoming my go-to… there are SO many good reasons to buy preloved.

If you read my last post about my pandemic-related struggles and why I neglected the blog for so long – namely the part about my dramatic loss of income – you’ll understand that buying new clothes has not been possible the past few years. Due to all my health issues causing a massive change in shape and size, my current (and, I must say, rather wonderful and still-loved) wardrobe has been gathering dust.

I had to find a solution to my need for clothes that fit me without breaking the bank.

It had to be, of course, buying secondhand. Buying preloved. And still buying vintage (although wonderful, buying vintage can be as pricey as buying new so it was a little more out of my grasp this time). But either way: buying preloved FOR THE WIN.

 

[6 min read]

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And before I carry on, if you don’t follow me on Instagram you may not have seen the new hair colour… I’ve gone well and truly darker (for now? We’ll see…)!

Catherine Summers AKA Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 50 style blog | Wearing boho summer style - black patterned embroidered kimono jacket, cream stripe linen wide leg trousers, white flatform trainers

Shop the look:

 

I’ve always been partial to a bit of charity shop shopping now and then, and I’ve trawled them for homewares since forever (I can’t resist mid-century anything). But when I saw this lightweight embroidered kimono jacket it was an “Oh, I LOVE that!” moment, and I made an immediate purchase. Straight in the washing machine back home (luckily I had some darks waiting to be washed, there’s nothing worse than wanting to wash a charity shop find to get rid of The Smell, but you’ve got no other items to wash with it) and I was able to wear it next day.

I then started thinking about all the reasons why shopping secondhand is so good.

 

5 Great Reasons to Buy Secondhand and Preloved Clothes: Catherine Summers AKA Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 50 style blog | Wearing boho summer style - black patterned embroidered kimono jacket, cream stripe linen wide leg trousers, white flatform trainers

My style has become a bit boho this summer, not least because of the looseness associated with that style. And although this outfit isn’t head-to-toe secondhand, everything except the trousers is old. I bought the trousers reduced a few months ago from Asos and have worn them to death, so YES they were a new purchase but NO they weren’t a one-wear item. It turned hot very suddenly at the end of May and I needed loose, natural-fabric trousers that I could actually get up past my knees.

Anyway… let’s get back to extolling the virtues of buying secondhand and preloved. I’m not sure there’s a better way of simplifying your life where your wardrobe is concerned, so here we have…

 

8 great reasons to buy secondhand and preloved clothes

 

1. It saves you money

For me, this was the no.1 reason. I needed new clothes, but we had no money. I could spare a few quid here and there (just about!) so I decided to go to my local charity shops every time I was in the high street. This summer I’ve picked up a pink cotton jumpsuit, the kimono you see here, two pairs of cord trousers and a padded gilet for autumn/winter, different colour T-shirts, orange sliders, a sleeveless sweater… and that’s just the items I can remember. If I’d bought the equivalent new they would have cost me hundreds.

Frugal is my middle name, but so is She Has a Stylish New Wardrobe (the latter isn’t quite as catchy, I know).

 

2. It promotes slow fashion and helps the environment

We all know that the fashion industry is responsible for eleventy-billion percent of the world’s carbon emissions, amirite? Maybe a slight exaggeration there, but it’s something like 10% so it’s one of the biggest polluters of the planet.

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Do we need any more reasons?!

Slow fashion in all its forms helps the environment no end: buying preloved means you’re still buying but the production stage is bypassed, thereby reducing your carbon footprint (even better if you don’t have to drive and can shop local on foot like I can). So by choosing to shop secondhand, you’re saving water, energy and resources which has a positive environmental and social impact on the planet.

PLUS it stops sales of fast fashion. If you can get off that fast fashion roundabout and stop buying at Primark, Zara, H&M and all those other poor choices then so much the better. I’m no saint myself – I’ll still use Asos as my go-to when I need something specific – but I’m trying to refrain as much as possible and only buy things I truly need and will wear again and again (like the trousers in this outfit).

I think landfill is one of the most HEINOUS things on this planet and I do everything in my power to make sure my personal landfill contribution (i.e. what isn’t recycled and has to go in our bins at home) is kept to the absolute minimum. I’m shocked and appalled to hear that people put clothes… IN THE BIN?! Who does that??

If it can’t be sold, I’ll donate it to charity. If it’s not good enough for charity, I’ll use it as rags. If I can’t use it as rags, I’ll put it in the textiles recycling. I’ve gone off topic a bit where “It promotes slow fashion and helps the environment” is concerned, but it all ties in. Shopping secondhand means you’re buying something that may have ended up in the bin, god forbid that anyone does that, but apparently they do.

 

Catherine Summers AKA Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 50 style blog | Wearing boho summer style - black patterned embroidered kimono jacket, cream stripe linen wide leg trousers, white flatform trainers

3. It helps you in a wardrobe crisis

If you’ve found your body has changed dramatically – bigger or smaller, maybe you’re pregnant, or you need a new wardrobe for a new job or a holiday or an event or a wedding to which you’ve got nothing to wear (the scenarios are endless) – then shopping secondhand can save you. It saved me, going into a new season (summer) and finding out I had nothing cool enough to wear that I could fit into.

Vintage gowns are PERFECT for events (see point 4, below). Worn-once occasion dresses are an excellent choice for a garden party or wedding. My 89-year-old mother has lost a lot of weight (and height!) over the past few years, and I’m always picking up things for her in the local charity shop to bulk up her wardrobe a bit… everything was starting to hang off her and look way too big. Preloved is the answer.

 

4. You end up with unique pieces

Back in the days when I used to attend blogger awards events (seems so long ago now…) I used to buy something new to wear each time, but nearly every time I bought vintage. I didn’t have to worry about turning up in the same dress/outfit as someone else. Shopping preloved means you not only end up with unique pieces but also a unique style. You’ll never look like a clone, and even better: secondhand clothes, unless very new, often don’t go out of fashion.

As I’ve always said about vintage: it can’t date, it’s dated already…!

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5. Shopping in charity shops supports good causes

I’ll never regret any purchase I make from charity shops because the money goes to… er, charity. It means I’m shopping local AND donating money. You’re not contributing to any huge multinational conglomerate or company that has child labour or poor working practices. It’s guilt-free, feel-good shopping.

 

Catherine Summers AKA Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 50 style blog | Wearing boho summer style - black patterned embroidered kimono jacket, cream stripe linen wide leg trousers, white flatform trainers

6. The thrill of the chase (or the find)

In a charity shop, I love not knowing what you’re going to find. Some of my favourite pieces have been charity shop treasures… see kimono, above. I’m always boasting about my preloved finds to friends and family (“Look at my pink jumpsuit! Cost me six quid at a charity shop!”) – there’s no shame in shopping secondhand anymore.

And there’s something about winning the bid for that extra special item on eBay that I CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF. (That’s the sort of cheap thrills I have going on in my life these days.) What I also do with eBay is save a search for a very particular item – good for preloved designer items or a limited edition something – and then I’ll get an email as soon as something matching my search is listed. You can never beat the thrill of the chase.

 

7. If it doesn’t work, you can just return it to the charity shop

This is a no-brainer, and what I always remind myself when buying items I’m maybe not sure about. If it doesn’t fit or I’m not 100% happy with it, I’ll return it to the charity shop and they’ll earn more money from it. My only loss is a few quid that went to a good cause, and I’m okay with that.

It’s a bit different when buying things from eBay or Vinted, etc. but I still think “Well I’m sure they’re selling the item as they need the cash, so that’s fine.” And when it goes to the charity shop they’ll make money out of it.

Everyone’s a winner.

 

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If you need some where-to-shop-secondhand inspo, I’d say the best places are your local charity shops (if you have a larger warehouse-style one near you like I do, even better), car boot sales, jumble sales, eBay, Etsy (be careful with Etsy, it can be a little pricier), Facebook Marketplace and all the apps/sites where people sell their preloved items like Depop and Vinted.

Above all, ENJOY THE PROCESS. Know that you can’t go wrong with any purchase you make. But don’t go pinching anything I’ve got my eye on ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Your turn – do YOU shop secondhand, preloved or vintage (or all three)? Got any preloved clothes shopping tips for us? Comment below…!

 

Thanks for reading,

Catherine signature

 

Catherine Summers AKA Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 50 style blog | Wearing boho summer style - black patterned embroidered kimono jacket, cream stripe linen wide leg trousers, white flatform trainers

Kimono: Charity shop (love this one, this one and this one) / T-shirt: Old / Trousers: Asos / Trainers: Old (shop preloved flatform trainers here) / Bag: Old (similar) / Sunglasses: Asos (shop preloved oversized sunglasses here) / Necklace: Old / Giraffe pin: London Zoo (similar)

 

Other preloved kimonos you might like:

Linking up to… Monday: Stylish Monday (second Monday of the month), Inspire Me MondayMy Glittery Heart, On Mondays We Link Up || Tuesday: Style With a Smile, Trend Spin/Walking in Memphis in High Heels, Turning Heads Tuesday, Confident Twosday, Happy Now Blog Link Up || Wednesday: WowOnWednesday || Thursday: Chic & Stylish, Ageless Style Linkup (third Thursday of the month), || Friday: Neverending Style, Fancy Friday, On the Edge

28 Comments

  1. 20 September 2023 / 1:42 am

    Well you know you’ll get no argument from me about shopping in secondhand shops, lol. I have certain things that I now will ONLY purchase secondhand. Cut off jean shorts, little short sleeve and sleeveless blouses for layering, long cardigans…..okay pretty much everything, lol.

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 September 2023 / 9:39 pm

      I think the most stylish people always shop preloved, vintage, secondhand, etc. Kristin… as you’ve just proved!! x

  2. 12 September 2023 / 11:01 am

    I love your kimono jacket, what a fantastic find! I save searches on eBay too, but lately I’ve bought more from Vinted. I’ve sold a few things there too. I actually prefer selling on Vinted to eBay because there are no fees for a seller – the postage and buyer protection fee are paid by the buyer. You don’t get paid until the buyer has received the item and confirmed they’re happy with it though – the money is held by Vinted until the sale is complete. I’ve bought a few things on Depop too but I find it’s a bit hit and miss. I’ve had no joy in charity shops lately, there’s a lot of crappy Boohoo and NastyGal overstock filling the rails now, which just goes to show how much this stuff is over produced! Thanks for linking up!

    Emma xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 September 2023 / 11:56 pm

      That’s interesting about you buying AND selling on Vinted, Emma – I really should pick your brains about it one day! And that’s a bugger about lots of fast fashion appearing on charity shop rails… that’s not good. You’re right, it does prove the point about over production ๐Ÿ™

  3. 2 September 2023 / 2:15 pm

    I hardly ever shop at secondhand stores, but I do buy pre loved items on Ebay! I also sell on Ebay. I have donated tons of clothes over the years. I actually had two wardrobes because we have a Florida home and a home in New England. When we moved to Florida full time some years ago, I started going through the wardrobe and donating my stuff to charity. Plus the weight gain did not help either! Sitting around the house because it is too HOT TO GO OUSIDE did not help my figure! And there is always the pile of items that I thought I would like, but then decided that I hated! I have been through menopause, so I can certainly sympathize with you! And I love the darker color hair. Looks great on you. So glad to see you are blogging again!

    • Catherine
      Author
      7 September 2023 / 4:13 pm

      Wow I can imagine that you’d hardly need ANY clothes in Florida, Linda!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      And thank you, it’s great to be back blogging regularly again… I don’t want to be leaving a big gap like that ever again! x

  4. 2 September 2023 / 11:53 am

    I recently discovered that Vinted is also available in Portugal and was chuffed to bits! I used to buy second hand from eBay all the time…until Brexit stuffed that up for me!! My most exciting purchase is the pair of Kurt Geiger ‘flatforms’ and a really cool spaceman tee lol.
    But I love charity shop shopping…sadly there aren’t that many to choose from here in the Algarve, so I probably only pop in once every six months or so.
    Brilliant post, Catherine!
    Suzy xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      7 September 2023 / 4:11 pm

      Hmm I’ve never bought from Vinted before, Suzy, though I have often looked. I think I was originally looking to sell there, but I’d heard mixed reviews about it as a seller… I got the consensus that it’s great for buying but not great for selling (if that’s the case then bummer)!

      I remember seeing your spaceman tee on your blog and OMG I LOVED IT!!

  5. 1 September 2023 / 11:24 pm

    I love this! With so many influencers showing the newest trends in fashion it is so hard to not get caught up in new new new. But in doing so you miss out on some great deals and finds! I also agree with a commenter saying to make sure the store you are donating to supports a good cause, like a women’s shelter!

    • Catherine
      Author
      7 September 2023 / 4:09 pm

      So glad you support the secondhand cause, Jilian! Though like I said to Katherine below, there’s none of that ambiguity in the UK. You’re either going into a “Specific Charity” shop because the name of the shop is the name of the charity, or else it’s an independent store that has vintage, retro and curated secondhand all mixed in with homewares and anything else (usually in a big warehouse). That’s an odd concept to get my head around, not knowing what charity you’re supporting when you buy from them…!

  6. Tone Spaberg Olsen
    31 August 2023 / 7:34 pm

    I am so glad you are back ๐Ÿ™‚ I`ve missed your blog so much!!! I`ve been a secondhand, vintage and pre-loved-shopper for years. And I`ve found some great pieces along the way. Both my Hermรจs and Prada skirts are from charity shops.

    Tone xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      7 September 2023 / 4:05 pm

      Oh Tone that’s so nice to hear, thank you so much! And WOW to finding Hermรจs and Prada skirts at charity shops… how on EARTH did you manage to find those??!! lol

  7. Julie
    31 August 2023 / 5:18 pm

    Charity shops are my favorite stops when I travel to England. Many are so well organized and I always find a few treasures. It’s especially fun because I find brands I can’t get in the US. I wish we had as many wonderful options here.

    • Catherine
      Author
      7 September 2023 / 4:04 pm

      That’s interesting that you think that about our charity shops, Julie – I’m sure it’d be the same for me in US secondhand stores! It always looks to me (from what I see from US influencers who shop secondhand) like you have MASSIVE stores with MASSES of choice…! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Lynn Jones
    31 August 2023 / 4:36 pm

    Firstly, I think that’s a *fab* outfit. Loving the wide leg troos and kimono top combo.

    Umm… I’m a little split on charity shop. I love to think that someone is happy and gets wear after wear from something I’ve passed on. Likewise, the good it does around recycling, reducing fast fashion, and money to a good cause.

    Perhaps the issue is around mindset? What I mean is, I find myself looking for, say, cropped black trousers or a blue flower top, so I’ve something that goes with something I have. Yet, and maybe it’s our local shops – or I’m a funny size! – that I can find the colour, the cut, or the size; but often only one out of the three.

    On the upside, I see Oxfam sell online now, which helps.

    • Catherine
      Author
      31 August 2023 / 5:14 pm

      Lynn thank you! I’m all over boho style right now and will be sad to say goodbye to these clothes for autumn/winter…!

      Weirdly, I’ve only ever had one or two items not fit me when buying secondhand or vintage – I think it’s a strange superpower I have. In my days of ordering loads of clothes from high street brands I always found myself having to send back 90% of the stuff because it never fit properly. But preloved: perfect fit! Every time!

      As I said, SUPER POWER. There’s no other explanation ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Erika
    31 August 2023 / 10:45 am

    I love all of your outfit – and your new darker hair which looks a great colour for you. Kimonos are the best, more than a top but less than a coat and not constricting.

    I agree, charity shopping has all the advantages you mention in your post, it just takes more work, but there’s fun in that and a sense of achievement when you find something. Having said that, many of the charity shops in my area are quite pricy for certain things…they know their worth and they know their market I suppose!

    I’ve definitely started to be more aware of the difference between want and need when it comes to clothes shopping, and trying to question potential purchases more. Sounds very worthy, and I’m not very good at it yet but it’s a start!

    • Catherine
      Author
      31 August 2023 / 4:27 pm

      Yes to all those reasons why kimonos are so great, Erika! They just seem to go with everything…!

      I think area does play a big part in the prices at charity shops: I know that affluent areas have a great selection BUT the prices are also much higher. I’m in a market town in Devon so although choice might be limited in comparison to, say, towns in Surrey or the South East, it does mean that things are more affordable.

      And YES to knowing the difference between want and need! It took a financial crisis for me to realise the difference: having disposable income often makes you a less ethical shopper (not always, but often). Even when I start to have more income coming in I know my attitude towards shopping has permanently changed for the better ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. 31 August 2023 / 7:06 am

    I had nothing with pre loved for about 8 years ago. Then I tried it when I was in Lewes and saw this fabulous DvF dress, which I’m wearing on IG today, and feel in love with it. Since I buy on Vinted. And found some fabulous pieces. I’m going to England on Sunday for a few days and planning a pre loved shopping day in Brighton. The most fun thing about it is that you can find fabulous items that you don’t see in high streets.

    • Catherine
      Author
      31 August 2023 / 4:33 pm

      Nancy I’m not surprised you were “converted” by a DVF dress – I have a vintage 80s DVF jumpsuit and I LOVE it! Good luck with your shopping excursion, I bet you’ll find some amaaaaazing things in Brighton! x

  11. Sanja
    30 August 2023 / 7:33 pm

    Love your final touchโ€ฆ the giraffe pin.

    I have been 90% second hand for about 10 years now. I make a list of what I would like and then scour my haunts regularly until I find it. I alter and tailor some items and upcycle others to suit.

    My best hint is to act as if you were buying new. Do I need it. Do I need to buy something else to go with it. Does it suit me. Is the fabric good quality, or will it ride up or make me sweaty. Would I be willing to give away another item I already have to own this.

    I try and redonate one item for each item I buy because I already have a huge number of clothes and they are all in suitcases as I have nowhere to put them. Rediscovering them as I unearth them each season make me rethink their importance to me.

    • Catherine
      Author
      31 August 2023 / 4:40 pm

      I’m so pleased I picked it up when I went to London Zoo for my giraffe keeper experience, Sanja!

      How wonderful to hear you shop for secondhand so much, I admire you for that! The “one in, one out” is a good one and one I really should implement myself. But to be honest, I really should be on “one in, twenty out” right now…!!

  12. Katherine
    30 August 2023 / 7:19 pm

    When donating to a second hand shop it’s a good idea to make sure they have a good mission, such as women and children, or animal shelters. Some of the larger, more famous second hand shops in America have been reported to give larger than appropriate salaries for the upper echelon. Plus they have really upped their prices. I really prefer consignment shops, as they tend to have higher quality items. My favorite one closed due to COVID, as they weren’t being allowed to operate for a long time. So sad.

    I love your hair. Mine is red, as well, thanks to Loreal!! My grandma gave me her red-headed skin tone, but not her lovely red hair!

    • Catherine
      Author
      31 August 2023 / 4:50 pm

      I think our system over here is probably quite different to the US, Katherine – the names of charity shops are literally the name of the charity, e.g. Devon Air Ambulance, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, etc., so before you’ve even walked in the door you know exactly where the money you’re spending will go. In fact, the shop in which I bought the kimono was the Ferne Animal Sanctuary shop, which is where we adopted our greyhound Suki. I’m always happy to spend money in there!

      We don’t have places like Goodwill but it would be great if we did… I love the idea of huge warehouses of secondhand goods. There are some in the country but I don’t think they’re as common as in the US. I have heard that prices are sometimes stupidly high for what you’re getting, it kind of negates the whole point of secondhand shopping, doesn’t it?!

      And thank you re. the hair, I’m still in a bit of shock over the change but I’m definitely getting used to it…!

  13. Rona
    30 August 2023 / 7:10 pm

    LOVE to partake in all three–thrift, preloved, and vintage(and the bragging!)–and that is the CUTEST outfit, you look fabulous! And I love the darker hair, it makes your skin just GLOW.
    xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      31 August 2023 / 4:53 pm

      Aww Rona thank you so much!! The bragging is definitely allowed where shopping preloved is concerned – the more we can do to promote buying secondhand (and end the stigma) the better! x

  14. 30 August 2023 / 6:54 pm

    So glad you acknowledged The Smell, as I’ve always felt guilty about feeling squeamish about it – I mean, charity, right? We call it “thrifting” over here, and at a time in my life when I got fired and my new job paid 2/3 of my old salary, AND I’d just taken out a big home-improvement loan, thrift shops were my go-to for a few years. I still have many much-loved pieces that were thrifted. The only part I didn’t like was knowing there was only ONE of each item, and there’d be no “take 2 sizes into the dressing room and see which one fits best”. Anyway, so glad they’ve been such a godsend for you.

    • Catherine
      Author
      31 August 2023 / 5:02 pm

      Ahhhh The Smell, MK, The Smell!! It’s so unique and I can never understand how secondhand clothes smell exactly the same, no matter WHAT shop they come from. But thank goodness it always comes out in the wash! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I know what you mean about things not coming in different sizes, but I try to completely blank out the sections that aren’t my size and only browse the sections that are. It’s so sad to see something that’s wonderful only to realise it’s too small – at least too big can be altered! x

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