I'm a pro second hand shopper – the exact spot to find the best bargains & why I don't skip men's jackets | The Sun
WITH the price of nearly everything on the rise, we’re all trying to find ways to cut costs.
So it’s no surprise many of us are heading to charity shops and preloved sites, known for their low-prices and high variety, for our fashion fix.
According to new research, the resale market is growing 11 times faster than traditional retail – and could be worth $84 billion by 2030.
But it can be hard work, trawling through countless rails, or scrolling through the thousands of first-time sellers on sites like Vinted and Depop.
Luckily pro second hand shopper Jennifer Graham, known as Charity Shop Girl, has revealed her secrets to finding the best bargains when buying preloved items.
And with more than 90 per cent of her wardrobe vintage or thrifted, she knows where to go, when to shop and what to keep an eye out for.
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“I started shopping secondhand when I was 17, simply because I didn’t want to wear what everyone else was wearing.
“I wanted to find unique pieces, [and] I found high-street shops were full of the same things, just in different colours.
“When I entered secondhand shops, I had this buzz and excitement because I never knew what I’d find.”
Now, speaking exclusively to Fabulous, Jennifer shares the sections she never skips – and why being open-minded about sizing is key.
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Check everywhere and everything
For the 37-year-old from Cheshire, the main question she gets is, ‘WHERE do I look?’
And for that, she’s got a pretty simple answer: “Rummage the whole shop! High and low and also in baskets for sunglasses and accessories.
“People often skip these areas but I’ve found some designer sunglasses and purses in these baskets, and even odd bits of unopened skincare [by] brands that are super expensive.
“And don’t skip the bric-a-brac – the bric-a-brac section is perfect for gifts and also homeware.”
Don’t get too caught up with sizing, some vintage pieces come up smaller and often things that may even seem a few sizes too big can look great belted or over even altered.
And the same goes when shopping online.
“I also highly recommend Vinted, Depop, eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and charity shopping online via sites like BuyCharity.
“Many charity shops have online shops too.”
Using this technique, she’s found some great pieces, but there is one she favours the most: “A men’s full three-piece pinstripe suit for £20.
“It’s so beautiful because I can create 5 outfits just from the one suit and it fits me perfectly."
Where is key – when, not so much
“Visit small towns as they usually have the BEST charity shops," Jen, known online as @charityshopgirlcsg, added.
“The best charity shops for me are the ones a little out of the area, you’ll find they have such good treasures to discover.”
Charity shops can be overwhelming to new second-hand shoppers so if you have a mood board, you can start by searching for those things until you build your confidence.
But is there a perfect time to hit the shops?
“I don’t feel that there is as they’re constantly working through donations and putting stock out.
“Visit them often, local ones to you 2/3 times a week.
“And if you can build relationships with your local charity shop volunteers and managers, it’s also a great way for them to let you know the things you may like when they come in.”
Don't get stuck on finding the right size
The pro-thrifter also recommends being open-minded when it comes to sizing – and suggests finding a tailor you can trust.
She added: “Don’t get too caught up with sizing, some vintage pieces come up smaller and often things that may even seem a few sizes too big can look great belted or over even altered, especially if it’s something you really love.”
That’s why she always recommends checking out the men’s section too.
“It’s great for blazers, shirts and ties to be used as belts over dresses.
“I love a men's blazer and also men’s shirts. They can really switch up a plain outfit with a sexy edge and masculine feel which is very Julia Roberts in the 90s.”
Make a mood board
Her fourth key tip, to make a mood board, is ideal for those who struggle with impulse buys, or have loads in their wardrobe but struggle to put outfits together.
She continued: “I’m constantly working on mood boards, reading fashion magazines and on Pinterest.
“Charity shops can be overwhelming to new second-hand shoppers so if you have an idea from a mood board of things you like then you can start by searching for those until you build your confidence.
“I also always have events in my mind that are coming up as this helps when going into a charity shop as you’ll have an idea of what you need.”
But in the same breath, she also recommended being open-minded, and using bargain pre-loved pieces as a way to experiment with styles, colours and prints you’d usually avoid.
“Be adventurous! Charity shops are a great way to create your own style.
“Trying new looks and styles can be expensive if it goes wrong but you can be so much more adventurous when shopping second hand as you may find more one-off unique pieces that you can play about with.
“For example, a really out-there blazer might be the best item you buy. You can wear it over dresses, with trousers and even denim shorts in the summer!
“Statement blazers are great for freshening up an outfit.”
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