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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

Sustainable Sundays: Thrifting & Slow Fashion Online

It's been a few months now since pledging to spend a lot less on fast fashion, and in that time I've purchased some of my absolute favourite items in my wardrobe currently and also - at risk of tooting my own horn - gotten pretty good at sourcing stuff I like. Charity shops and vintage stores in the UK will *always* be where I point anyone to if they want to buy more slow fashion pieces and help recycle old items (as well as you know, help charities by spending your money in their stores - check out this post all about it), but sometimes it's not feasible to visit an actual store or if like me, you really enjoy online shopping and not so much in-store because ugh, people.

Therefore I thought I'd put together this post, detailing what apps, stores, and tips I use when shopping online that help me keep to my ethic of only purchasing slow or sustainable fashion, and hopefully you can pick up some ideas or feel inspired to make the same pledge!

Have a list of things you're looking for
Just like any old online shopping, it can overwhelming and daunting having so much choice out there so having a curated list of items you're looking for is the best way to go about finding a gem. If I'm looking out for a particular item and I know it might be difficult to pinpoint in a charity shop, I always turn to certain websites that I know will have a selection at my fingertips. Just as I said in my last fashion-related Sustainable Sundays post, having this list not only makes it easier for you to find what you're looking for, but it also stops you from potentially getting side-tracked and purchasing things you don't need.

Have a rough limit to your spending per item
Another point I made in my last post covering thrifting/second-hand shopping but of course transfers over to online shopping in knowing your budget. Of course shopping second hand/thrifting clothing can be much cheaper than shopping items brand new, but it can also occasionally be drastically overpriced. Keeping in mind a limit to what you want to spend on each item can be a good habit to get into to avoid over spending. Typically speaking, I think anything over £30 is a lot for new clothes so it is certainly my limit for second hand. There have only been a couple of times when I've went over this price and that has been to buy coats or originally very expensive footwear. If you see something you really have fallen in love with but it's out of your price range, try justifying it to yourself but always look elsewhere. As lots of items such as Levis and Harley Davidson tees have become hugely popular, these are often sold for extortionate prices and were probably picked up charity shops a bargain price to begin with.

Don't overlook certain sites
When people think shopping second-hand fashion, they instantly think of eBay and Depop. I like using both of these sites/apps but they're not the only options out there. I typically search eBay first then a plethora of other sites/apps if I can't find what I'm looking for. If I'm looking for straight up just second-hand pieces, I will typically check Depop, Vinted (an app similar to Depop and one I used to prefer & use regularly! You can swap items on this one too rather than buy), and Oxfam's online shop. If I'm looking for vintage items though or want a selection of more curated, possibly more suited to my taste or what I'm looking for items, my next stops are Etsy, Asos Marketplace, Rebelle (for second-hand designer items), Rokit, and Beyond Retro.

Here's some more shops I'd recommend checking out:
- Loot: great for second-hand items that are reworked to fit current trends, styles, and cuts
- Brag Vintage: a reasonably priced store that always has a good range of items in (particularly coats!)
- True Vintage: a go-to for sportswear or more casual items
- The Stellar Boutique: vintage gems with a more bohemian feel
- It's Vintage Darling: if vintage handbags are your thing or you need a vintage wedding dress, this is the store for you
- Waiste Vintage: the only store you need for those 70s vibes

Know your measurements
One of the biggest downsides to buying secondhand online is obviously not having the opportunity to try things on. Therefore, it's worth knowing what your exact measurements are so you have every possible chance of only making good purchases. Of course, depending on what kind of items you're buying, you can be a little lenient with sizing (e.g. if you're after an oversized shirt), but knowing your measurements just makes shopping so much easier. Most secondhand sellers and sites will list the exact measurements of items because vintage clothing in particular is often very different to contemporary clothing - for example, a ladies vintage size 10 is often much smaller fitting than a modern-day size 10 - so always check these and if a seller has stated that a sizing is off, believe them! Items such as vintage Levis are usually not accurate and the waist size can be much smaller than what is listed on the tag. As I mentioned in my last sustainable/slow fashion shopping post, you always have the option of having items altered, but you play a bigger risk with buying items you've not physically seen "in the flesh".

Don't be afraid to haggle
Although some folk can be extremely cheeky on Depop/eBay etc. and want to purchase items for essentially negative money, don't shy away from offering lower prices to sellers for items you're interested in. As vintage and second hand clothing has gained so much popularity over the past few years, it does unfortunately mean that many sellers and stores have inflated their prices to make ridiculous profit so don't shy away from asking them to reduce their asking prices where possible. You know your spending limit but you also may know which items are worth what so don't be afraid to make a seller aware of that and politely offer a lower amount. Many times I've offered lower prices on eBay/Depop and been pleasantly surprised to see the seller accept because they simply want to get rid of the item in question because let's face it - you won't get if you won't ask!

Buy with certainty and confidence in your purchase
The last point might be common sense to some, but make sure you really want the item you're buying because secondhand shopping online can become a slippery slope of wasted money if you take the same consumerist mentality as you might with hauling clothing on fast fashion sites but you can't return vintage/secondhand items so easily the majority of the time. If you're certain you want an item, double check with the seller the condition of the item too. Of course items might not be in perfect condition, but asking sellers to be completely transparent about the condition of items isn't rude or unjust. I've made a couple of regrettable purchases in the past from reputable secondhand stores via Asos Marketplace or Depop purely because they've not mentioned all of the defects or shown them clearly in the photography. They will have mentioned in a wishy-washy way that the item isn't perfect due to age and use, but won't have stated that big stripe of paint on the back of it - you see where I'm going with this? By asking you might get a more straight-forward clear answer and if you're really unhappy with an item and feel the seller hasn't told you enough about the condition before your purchase, you will have conversation evidence which can help you claim a refund as the condition wasn't declared/wasn't truly stated. Cover yourself and your purchases always!

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