Secondhand shopping isn’t just a fun way to kill a lazy afternoon. It’s also serious business—a great way to polish off your wardrobe with unique vintage items while saving plenty of money at the same time. To succeed, you just need to know what you’re doing. For starters, steer clear of basics like tanks, blouses, and pencil skirts while secondhand shopping. These items are all readily available—and typically pretty cheap—at mainstream shops like H&M or Gap. Instead, keep your eyes peeled for any statement items that will truly set you apart and pair with your everyday basics.
Now, if you’re feeling icky about buying something someone else has worn, don’t worry. Just avoid buying the obvious (all whites, and fabrics that hold stains), and be sure to take your items to the dry cleaners immediately. (Trust us!) With those rules in mind, here are the eight items you should always look for, whether you’re shopping at a flea market or cruising eBay. And for more on secondhand shopping, here are 8 Tips for Shopping a Thrift Store Like a Fashion Stylist.
Authentic, 80s-era Denim Jackets
Denim is one of those fabrics that feels even better when worn in, and that faded (and even torn) look only adds to any Rebel Without a Cause appeal. (Not to mention, genuine tears look better than manufactured ones.) Now, what’s cooler than the oversized boxy silhouette of the 1980’s? (Answer, of course: not a lot.) So if you can spot the real #TBT thing at a vintage shop, snatch it up. And speaking of great looks, here are The 15 Best Looks to Wear to a Fall Wedding This Year.
You can never have too many bags, especially designer ones. (After all, they’re investments!) Typically, you can find many gems in top condition from top designers at the right consignment shops or flea markets.
Now, before you go and purchase your first Louis Vuitton or Dior, make sure it’s the real deal. Give it a good inspection, paying special attention to the quality of the zipper and lining, and make sure that the stitching doesn’t betray a terrible paint job. If it passes muster—and if it feels and smells and looks good and luxurious (and therefore makes you feel fabulous)—by all means, go ahead! And for more ways to feel luxurious, here are the 15 Most Luxurious Spas in America.
When it comes to secondhand jeans, you can’t do any better than a pair of vintage Levi’s. Yes, these are those high-waisted mom jeans of the 1980s—the perfectly stylish, laid-back jean that you can dress up or dress down.
However, just be patient while finding the best size for you. It might take some time a lot of trying on, but once you find your best pair, you’ll want to wear them daily. Also: you can make room in your closet for some new secondhand jeans by throwing out any of the 40 Things No Woman Over 40 Should Own.
Vintage Rock T-Shirts
If you’re going for badass chic, it’s either wear the real deal from 1982 or don’t wear it at all. And speaking t-shirts, you should make sure your partner has The White T-Shirt Every Guy Needs to Own.
Photo courtesy of @thisoldshirt on Instagram.
There might not be anything more valuable to buy secondhand than vintage jewelry. By jewelry, we mean actual expensive high-end jewelry, which means anything with a stone or a gem. And since jewelry in general is pretty easy to maintain, old jewelry can look as good as new four decades later.
Wool Winter Coats
One way to set yourself apart with a unique look is to wear a coat from an earlier decade, and the best kind of winter coat to buy used is the wool variety. It’s one of those fabrics that super durable and is guaranteed to keep you warm.
If you see one you like, give the inside lining a good look to make sure it’s clean and intact. If it’s too long, don’t worry: just get it hemmed.
Speaking of winter coats, your partner will love one of these 6 Luxe Topcoats That’ll Make Him Forget It’s Winter.
Leather Moto Jackets
A biker jacket that’s genuinely from the same decade as Sandy’s from Grease? Count us in. They may be harder to find, but when you do, they’re totally worth the purchase. A little wear makes it look that much grittier and trendier, but too much can make it just look, well, old. Now, if you really want to go all out with the biker theme, here are 10 New Motorcycles That Prove Heaven Exists on Two Wheels.
Photo courtesy of Bohemian Chrome on Instagram.
Although shoes of all kinds are a popular secondhand purchase, flats specifically are the best shoe buy. For one simple reason: there’s no heel to wear down or break.
Besides, buying flats secondhand makes spotting damage much easier. Just take a look at the overall condition, especially the heel, before you buy.
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