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Reasons to Thrift & Shop Second-hand Fashion

Hey gang, today I thought I'd share something with you that I've mentioned more than a few times over on NB before but never really done a "guide" so to speak. There's no real "perfected" way to shop - obviously, shopping is very much an individual activity and although we all tend to go about it in a similar manner (going in stores or browsing online) we all have our preferences as to how we conduct it and what we're searching for. Now I know what you're thinking - why on earth are you suggesting "a guide" for something so mundane, Amyleigh? And well, it's quite simple really. Since saying goodbye to fast fashion for 99% of my wardrobe, I've realised that second-hand shopping and thrifting can be be daunting for many people. There's a lot of things that can put people off shopping second-hand (some excuses I've heard questions the quality as the items are not new, the cleanliness of items, and also just the discomfort of wearing something someone else once owned) but honestly? I think shopping second-hand is so incredibly worth it and I feel that everyone would benefit from buying second-hand, even if it's only occasional items.

I absolutely love shopping but it's something I've become really conscious of over the past year as I've realised that it can be an indulgence that isn't beneficial. Particularly buying into fast fashion, I've researched more and more about the harm and damage it can cause to the environment, those who are already working for not a lot of money and in poor conditions to create fast fashion items, and also just simply the impact it has on my bank balance! This isn't a post to make anyone feel guilty about shopping in the fast fashion world, but I can hopefully prove to any sceptics that second-hand can be just as good - if not way better and why.

- There's always more chance of finding a unique piece. We've all been there. We've bought something we really love from Primark, Zara, some of us even something from Gucci, then within a matter of days you've bumped into everyone and their nan wearing the same item and you can't help but feel a bit awkward about it. Buying things second-hand, especially rutting around in charity shops/thrift stores, gives you an almost guaranteed opportunity of finding a unique item. You can always find something that is "in style" or "on trend" because fashion has a good routine of coming back around so just keep your eyes peeled and do some digging and you'll be finding one-of-a-kind pieces or at least pieces everyone else isn't wearing in no time!

- Often tailored goods fit so much better & are truer to true size. How many times have you bought a particular inch waist and leg in a pair of trousers from a high street store and they haven't fit despite the measurements being your exact body measurements or somewhat worse, you buy the same style trouser again in a different colour for example and the size is completely different? This seems to be a big fault with a lot of fast fashion stores and brands and it can be incredibly frustrating buying say a size 25" waist from ASOS and then a 29" from H&M (I'm not even exaggerating this is usually what happens for me). One thing I've found with every vintage piece I've bought is that each piece of tailoring fits like a glove. Particularly when it comes to trousers, whatever waist and leg length they're advertised/sold as is exactly right and fits perfectly true to size. This makes your silhouette look fab and means you're more likely to fall in love with an item because what's better than when it fits your right in all the right places?

- If designer stuff is your bag, charity shops should be your best friend. You guys. If you're someone who is always trying to track down a bargain, particularly when it involves designer clothing or accessories, if you're not scouting out your local charity shops or second-hand selling apps then you're doing this kind of shopping all wrong. It's quite commonplace to find designer bags, coats, and jackets etc. in charity shops and as it's a charity shop, you can betcha that the price is minute compared to that item's original RRP. A great thing about getting designer items second-hand is not only is the price a fraction of what it once was, but 9/10 the original owner of the item has taken good care of it because it was so expensive on it's first purchase.

- Second-hand shopping stops you from buying just for the sake of it. A black hole I used to find myself fall into almost every time I used to buy fast fashion was the sheer amount of items I would pick up. Buying online meant I could spend hours browsing, filling a virtual basket that somehow distorts the reality of how much you're needlessly spending/buying and browsing physically in store was no better. When looking in charity/vintage shops it's much easier to stay out of the neverending black hole. I find as the contents of charity shops are more hit and miss upon each visit, you don't naturally pick up as many items that catch your eye and therefore you save a lot of your money which is never a bad thing.

- There's more opportunity for personal style. Kind of linked to my first point, second-hand shopping gives you the opportunity to play around more with your personal style. Not only can you find some more unique pieces, but charity shop prices often mean you have more of a chance to buy items you're unsure of but kind of like and the repercussions of buying such items isn't drastic. I know most high street stores allow you to return items free of charge, but buying second-hand usually means you've paid either towards a charity or an individual person and they receive the benefit of that, and if you then don't like an item, you can pass it on. Charity shops have such an eclectic range of clothing that it's great to stumble across and item that is really out of your comfort zone yet you're still incredibly drawn to because for the sake of usually £5 or less, you can try out that item and see if you can make it work.

- It is cheaper & more ethical on your wallet. I've kind of already mentioned this in my previous point, but charity shops, second-hand apps, and vintage stores can be *so* much kinder on your wallet. Usually charity shops are incredibly reasonably priced and apps can often give you the opportunity to haggle with sellers. It's also a cheaper burden on your conscience if you're conscious of fast fashion, ethics behind consumerism shopping, and the pollution clothing causes for the planet.

- You never know what to expect so it's EXCITING. One of the best thing about shopping second-hand is that even if you're looking for something in particular, you can still be totally surprised by what you find. Charity shop stock always changes and doesn't necessarily follow the trends so you can find a wide range of items. I've already mentioned finding unique pieces, but the experience is more fun too. You have to actively search for things in a mountain of stuff you're not interested in or that's not to your taste and I don't think you get that same excited, accomplished feeling you do when you shop in your typical high street stores.

- You can still pinpoint particular things you're searching for. So although you never know what you might find, and it might be more difficult to find what you want because the stock is always changing and doesn't have a particular trend or style, you *can* still find what you want. I find shopping second-hand helps me really narrow down my search as I pinpoint what I'm lacking in my wardrobe and can focus on finding that. This is great especially for apps as you can search just as you would on lots of high street store sites!

- It's helping the planet and other people by recycling or donating. If you're a big fan of Blue Planet, you may have seen David Attenborough highlighting the major problems plastic is causing the oceans and earth in general, but clothing is the second biggest cause of pollution. Buying second hand means you're not consuming new pieces, you're giving clothing new life and keeping it out of landfill. This is incredibly good for the environment and keeps clothing in circulation for longer. Not only are you helping keep items out of landfill by buying second-hand, you're helping out people! Charity shops are just that - they're there first and foremost to help charities. A wide variety of types of charities exist and the donations they receive from charity shop earnings really helps them all out. If you're buying on apps such as Depop too, you're just helping others get by and if that means others are benefiting from your spending, and those benefiting are not big corporations, then that's always a good thing!

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