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The students’ guide to thrift shopping

Keep these tips in mind when buying pre-loved clothes. Source: Shutterstock

Do you go to second-hand clothes stores? 

If you haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon, you might want to take a cue from Macklemore and go thrift shopping. Sustainability is all the rage at the moment but more than a trend, living sustainably is a lifestyle that helps you reduce your environmental impact on the planet.

Fast fashion has long been criticised for its negative environmental impact and one way of combining your love of fashion and expressing yourself through clothes is by purchasing pre-loved items. You’ll not only bag cool finds at a bargain price, but also save the Earth in the process.

So, if you’ve never gone thrift shopping for clothes before, here are some tips to get you started:

Have patience

On some days or seasons, you might find some hidden treasures while other times, you might not find anything worth buying. But whatever happens, don’t be disheartened. 

Thrift shopping takes a lot of patience; you must sift through piles of clothes and inspect them for stains or holes, so come back in a few weeks and you might find some good stuff!

Decide on items worth buying and those that are not

Denim can be worth buying second-hand. Source: Shutterstock

For some, wearing someone else’s old shoes is a no-go, while others are perfectly OK wearing someone’s pre-loved items. While this is down to personal preference, you may want to skip buying shoes such as sneakers or runners as they can harbour a lot of bacteria. 

Speaking to Reader’s Digest, Suzanne Wexler, a culture and lifestyle expert, says “In terms of thrift footwear, stick with hardly-used or new-in-box statement shoes or heels. These can cost [US]$400 to [US]$800 brand new and are often more comfortable than less pricey heels, which tend to sacrifice fit for style.”

Items such as blazers and tuxedos are great things to look out for in thrift stores as you can save loads when buying them second-hand, while jeans tend to be long lasting and worth the splurge.

Conversely, it goes without saying that intimate garments or swimsuits should not be bought second-hand for hygienic reasons.

Find a tailor for alterations

Find a good tailor to help alter your clothes. Source: Shutterstock

Found a unique piece you love that doesn’t 100 percent fit you right?

While you can find some hidden treasures in thrift stores, you may need the expertise of a skilled tailor to help you make some alterations for a better fit. Alternatively, learn to make some alterations yourself and save some cash!

That being said, it’s important to understand what you can and cannot fix. You may want to pass on clothing with moth holes, but items such as shirts with a missing button or a skirt with a broken zipper can be easily fixed. 

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