Did you know that August 25 is second-hand day? Not the kind where you learned it second-hand, but the kind where you get great bargains on items you want! In my book, that is a day to celebrate!
I LOVE, LOVE buying items second-hand. Maybe this is because I was the youngest of two girls, so I always had hand-me-downs. Or maybe it is because I always want a bargain! Either way, I am reveling in the day!
If you have not shopped second-hand items, then please read on before you turn your nose up at the thought. Many of the purchases I make on eBay, the Real Real, Fashionphile, Thred Up, Tradesy, Mercari, etc. are new with tags! The only thing missing is the huge mark-up! So used may not be the appropriate word for these items. Second-hand and pre-owned may be more appropriate terms unless you know it was worn or used. Even at that, with so many bloggers and influencers out there who wear an item for a 30-minute photoshoot, who could even call that used? A ‘new’ item in a big store sees more time on people in dressing rooms than that!
I am not talking about used, worn-out items; I am talking about gently used items that still have a lot of life in them. Like a nice purse with hardware scratches or a pair of shoes never worn. Maybe a coat that still has the tags on it or a sweater that hasn’t seen much wear. Of course, if you are into vintage items or high-end items, you may want to purchase them a bit more worn and send them to a repair shop after acquiring to restore them to a like-new condition.
Once a thing of shame (and songs…think Second Hand Rose), now it is what the cool kids do. Okay, maybe not, but I don’t see it as a bad thing. I get top designers that I adore at very affordable prices. And to be honest, I often prefer vintage items over today’s designs.
Let’s get real…why is an old, used piece of furniture called an antique, an old, used piece of jewelry called an estate piece, and an old, used car called pre-owned, while an old, used piece of clothing is called used? I know, it is the whole “a rose by any other name” thing, but we need a more positive-sounding word for these pieces. Here are some ideas: Seasoned, experienced, recycled, and handled. What word would you offer to appropriately title second-hand pieces?
If I had kiddos, I would definitely purchase second-hand clothes for them. One reason is that they outgrow them so quickly, and the other main reason is that they are generally hard on clothes. If we think of cost-per-wear, then we all can agree the best way to manage our clothing budget for young people is to buy second-hand. That leaves more money to put away for savings and/or the college fund!
As for me and my love of luxury, well the best way to afford the items I want is to purchase them gently used or new with tags. And it is not just the weird stuff no one else wants. I get some really good finds, such as a much sought-after Louis Vuitton Metis Pouchette in pristine condition (still had the stickers on to protect the metal). Oh yeah, I paid less than the retail store price.
Of course, there are so many other positive considerations for buying second-hand. It gives items a second (or third or fourth) life thus keeping items out of the landfill. It saves on the earth’s valuable resources which would be used to produce a new item. And, it reduces possible labor exploitation of workers in the countries that manufacture many of the consumer goods on the market.
But the most immediate impact is for you and your savings. Every dollar you save by purchasing second-hand items is just money in your pocket. It’s a win-win to get what you want and to save money!
Check locally for Salvation Army and Goodwill Stores, as well as local stores that benefit the community. I find it fun (kind of like a treasure hunt) to search locally and online for great finds! A few years ago, I forgot to tell my nephew he would need a jacket and tie to go to tea in London. We had the best adventure going to the nearest Oxfam store. With no time and no needle and thread, the closest fitting jacket had to do. The tie was lovely and became a souvenir of the trip.
There are also so many online retailers to shop for quality used apparel, several of which I list above. I like to look for retailers that allow returns, just in case something doesn’t fit or work for me. I also prefer to shop retailers that include the measurements of the garments, since sizing varies so much between brands. If it is a brand with which I am familiar with the sizing, then I don’t have a problem purchasing on eBay or a retailer that doesn’t allow returns.
Don’t forget that selling your used items is a good way to make some money, clean out your closets, and reduce the environmental impact of new clothes. Just read how it works for the particular retailer. Usually, it is simple and easy. I have sold through ThredUp and found it to be a positive experience.
How do you feel about second-hand purchases? Do you think the old stigma has gone away? What should we call these used/previously owned finds?
Thanks for reading!
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This post is not sponsored by any of the retailers mentioned.