Getting second hand goodies like a pro

Up until fairly recently, I was dubious of eBay. I found that it was a great place to sell my unwanted clothes (I usually donate old clothes to the charity shop, but old student habits die hard and if the item was branded or still had tags on, I would always turn to eBay for some extra cash) but after watching plenty of friends get poor quality items off  eBay, I didn’t think the buying side of the site was right for me.

Until recently.

Egged on by a purchase my boyfriend made about a year ago of two pretty excellent/horrendous (pictured rather grainily below – you can take your pick as to which adjective is most appropriate) knitted jumpers, I started venturing in to the world of buying second hand clothes from eBay for myself. Recently, this has mainly been for work clothes – I found this quite a challenge as I basically needed to buy an entire new wardrobe of slightly smarter, more formal clothes. I had absolutely no desire (or funds) to buy these all brand new, and wanted to actually like what I now spend the majority of my time wearing rather than feel like an awkward girl pretending to be a grown up. After a little bit of trial and error, eBay has become my go-to for second hand, work appropriate clothing that I actually like.

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Excellent/horrendous jumpers

Weirdly enough, eBay has been particularly great for coats. They’re such an expense, and whilst I like the coat I’ve owned for a few years enough, It wasn’t quite smart enough to wear to and from the office every day. EBay came up trumps, providing me with two second hand coats in good (but definitely pre-loved) condition, both with a fairly sweet price tag too.

If you’re thinking about making the switch to buying predominantly more second hand clothing, I fully recommend trying your hand at eBay – for the sheer choice, low prices, security and the fact that you can seek out better brands than you’ll often find in a charity shop. Here are a few of my top tips for scouring the site…

  • Low prices are fantastic, but make sure you factor in the price of shipping, which can often be two or three times the value of a cheap item. If you’re buying a coat, formal dress or otherwise delicate/difficult to clean item then I’d recommend also having a good think about price of dry cleaning – I love my fluffy teddy bear coat I bought, but boy did it stink of cigarettes when it initially arrived.
  • Know what you want, be specific and search by brand. If you don’t really know what you’re looking for, eBay is not the place for you – there’s simply too much on offer, and you’ll end up with something weird or something that you just don’t need. When searching for work clothes, I funnelled my search right down (by size, colour, item type, brand and price) before I even started looking.
  • Follow other sellers. This isn’t something I’d learnt to do until recently, but if you find someone who regularly sells clothes in roughly your size and style then that is an absolute godsend. Making them your first point of call when looking for new items saves so much time.
  • If you receive an item that doesn’t fit, or you don’t like… don’t worry about it. Life is too short, and eBay is always going to be an imperfect way to buy clothes. Relist it, donate it, alter it. You’ve already done a great thing by continuing the life cycle of that item of clothing, so keep the chain going!

Do you have any tips? Know of any great slow fashion sellers on eBay? Give me a shout!

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